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Posts Tagged ‘NLUUG’

Upcoming Conferences

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

With the FSFE’s Amsterdam Legal Workshop 2010 behind us and Akademy-BR evidently a great (if rainy) success, it’s time to look forward again. Spring, new life, birds a-cheepin’, etc.

Let’s look at the beginning of may: Linux Audio Conference in Utrecht, for sound junkies of all shapes. Phonon? Nope. But Reinhold Kainhofer — once of KPilot and KDE PIM — is speaking on music notation standards. I should drop by — I still owe him 20 EUR for domain registrations. Lots of other things that make me think “gosh, people do that on computers too?”

Right after the LAC you could move to Ede (about 24 minutes by train) for the NLUUG Spring Conference on System Administration with the LHC on tap. Yes, it needs system administration as well if it’s ever going to blow up the world.

There’s a gap then — fill me in, folks — and end of May will see the Ubuntu 10.04 release party on the 29th. That should keep everyone busy and I’ve got some Ubuntu Thinking Putty to inflict on various people there.

LinuxWorld wrap-up

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Two days of LinuxWorld have left me tired by happy. I ended up giving two talks, because Karsten and I made it a double on wednesday and then on Thursday I had another one on best practices in license selection for Free Software projects (one-line summary: pick one that is consisten with your business strategy). The Open Source pavilion at LW isn’t all that large, so 14-20 people as an audience fills it.

Besides giving some talks on licensing topics (FSFE hat), I sometimes stood around the NLUUG booth and handed out posters for the next NLUUG conference — spring 2010, topic “System administration.” Very traditional for an Open Systems and Open Standards organization. And aside from that, wandering around a trade fair with four themes — Linux, Storage, Security and Business Tools — is an education in itself. I try to make clear at the start of every conversation that I’m not a sales opportunity, as that seems to avoid wasting time for both of us if I run into a hard-sell booth (still, the one stand that asked “How many workplaces does your company have?” and then “Well, you have less than five hundred desks, you’re not interesting, goodbye!” — I never even found out what they were selling at all.) You can still get conference goodies though, so I got home with a nice collection of peppermints and flashlights for the kids.

Open Access

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

On the open-* front, it turns out that next week is officially Open Access Week, pushing for open access to the results of scholarly work. I would venture that publicly paid research belongs to the public, and part of the social contract in supporting institutes of learning is that the results become evailable to the public quickly. That means I’m against patents on the results of publicly funded research as well. The results should be patent — make public, published, obvious — but I can’t support further restrictions on that, as the contract around patents is a trade off between the public good and risk in investment. And for public money, that risk is non-existent.

But I digress. Open Access week. I actually found out only because one of the institutes at the faculty of science where I used to work won a prize around Open Access; of course the event around the prize is closed.

I’m in Grenoble this week for the ELCE conference, where I’m mixed in with hordes of kernel hackers and embedded device manufacturers. I feel slightly out of place as a userland-and-legal guy. I had a nice chat about patents with a gentleman from a consortium working on ultra-low-power communications; in particular when casting a specification as a standard I feel that patents which may restrict the use of the technology or prevent certan kinds of implementation (e.g. Free Software implementations) have no place whatsoever in standards. It seems like we agree on that topic; I will continue to ask people carrying ‘open standards’ on their banners to explain what they mean.

For the Open Web, two weeks remain for registration.

Conference Schedules

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Spurred by Henrik’s comment on FSCONS (and I intend to go to FSCONS to talk about licensing, but need to get that together), I thought I’d post an update on some conferences.

I’ll be at ELCE later this week to talk about licensing compatibility (and possibly machine architecture). I’m looking forward to it, because the embedded and mobile industry is one that mostly “gets it” when it comes to Free Software (it’s also the source of most violations). I’m honoured to be on a conference programme with so many real hackers, and looking forward to hearing about non-x86 architectures in particular.

Later this month, the NLUUG conference on the Open Web will be held in Ede, the Netherlands. Support for openness — in all the meanings of open standards, open access, open content — is still of growing importance. You can find me at that conference with my green and purple hats on (FSFE and NLUUG). Arnoud Engelfriet will be providing the legal and licensing angle at that conference (speaking of whom, I was very surprised to see him on TV a week or two ago explaining about copyright and how it was possible to download things without violating copyrights).

If you don’t want the Open Web, you might want to go to Linux Kongress, 600km to the east. You can attend a talk about Ede, though. From my point of view, though, the most interesting talk is probably about Open Source ERP (I wonder about that, actually, since the OEPL looks like it is a restrictive license that will probably fail the Free Software criteria and might fail the Open Source Initiative criteria — but this is not the spot for lengthy license examination). My interest there is sparked (if I can call it that) by the relative lack of Free Software in that space. It is apparently neither an itch that people want to scratch, nor a market where business has found a way to work with Free Software in its business model. At least, that’s the impression I got from OpenExpo two weeks ago, and I’d be happy to be shown otherwise.

Upcoming Conference – The Open Web

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Since the NLUUG (Open Systems, Open Standards) does two conferences a year, we have to follow up the one almost immediately with the announcement of the next. So, coming fall: the Open Web. Legal, technical and .. whatever is leftical issues around standards and interoperability on the web. HTML5 and video formats? Send in a paper! SaaS and licensing? Send in a paper! Improved javascript enging? Send in a paper! And when I say “send a paper” I mean send in an abstract of 200-400 words *or* a whole paper. Preferably the latter, but I understand that in these complex modern final days an abstract is more likely.

Conference Wrap-up

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

It seems an age and a half ago, but the NLUUG spring conference on File Systems and Storage was just over two weeks ago, on may 7th. As the (now ex-) head of the programme committee I’d like to take a moment to look back and sum up the conference and what I got out of working on an event like this.

The NLUUG  was the Dutch national UNIX users association — like many national UUGs in Europe, founded about 25 years ago — and has now re-branded itself for Open Systems and Open Standards. Those are more important in the long term than the proprietary UNIXes and provide us with a broader range of topics to think about. The NLUUG has been organizing two conferences a year for over ten years; this is the stated core business of the association. Some topics come back regularly, like security, whenever the state of the art has changed. Most of our conferences try to combine practical, sysadmin-oriented talks with cutting-edge research or development talks.

This year, File Systems and Storage, is a fairly low-level UNIXy topic. Now, I’m a BSD guy, so I think UFS should be good enough for everyone, but that is taking a narrow view of the whole. For one thing, it neglects the storage side of things — mostly I remember wrestling with vinum about eight years ago and being relieved when GEOM showed up.

Still, Linux has grown three new file systems in the last two kernel releases (possibly more). Those address different ideas about disk organization and new notions about metadata on files. Solaris got ZFS, which (re)combines the storage pool with filesystem management. [[ I should note that when I'm not a BSD dude, I do OpenSolaris things. Taking stock yesterday, I realized I have Free Software operating systems on most of my machines and two popular proprietary operating systems (I should cut that in half) but nary a Linux kernel in sight. ]]

And then there’s clustered file systems and file systems for virtualized environments (where de-duplication becomes important). The breadth of relevant problem areas and the range of technical solutions is huge. And now I’ve still neglected storage, with provisioning, mirroring, deduplication, backup and whatnot.

Suffice to say that the range of topics is pretty broad.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a comprehensive range of file system talks; only four if I remember correctly. Several Samba-related talks, libferris (Plan 9 on steroids: everything is a filesystem), storage architectures and some search and semantics (after all, what’s the point of storage if you can’t find stuff?) rounded out the programme.

The conference itself picked up 285 attendees, which is a little below our target number of 300 for an “ideal conference” — but given the economic situation this is not all that surprising. Attendance also varies considerably depending on the topic. Security and virtualization are perennial favorites.

The day opened with Ted Ts’o, CTO of the Linux Foundation and maintainer of the ext4 file system for Linux. Later in the day he did an ext4 talk, but the opening was, surprisingly and most interestingly, an economic one. The message came down to this: SSD’s are not going to solve all our problems. In a whirlwind exploration of the economics of storage and the hard drive business, Ted showed that with current — or even next-generaton — processes it’s impossible to replace hard drives. The SSD remains a cool bit of kit, though. It was a great opening keynote; speakers later in the day referred to it in their own talks, which I think shows how much of an impact it had on everyone.

Since I was session chair all day (without my signature horse whip; I reserve that one for Akademy) I didn’t even peek in on most of the talks (we have three tracks), but the comments I heard from attendees were overwhelmingly positive.

All in all a good conference, and I’d like to thank our organizing bureau and the other PC members Ralf van Dooren, Melanie Rieback and Jos Vos for a constructive and interesting season of cooperation. Now I’m looking forward to upcoming conferences again — like Akademy, as part of the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, and the NLUUG Fall Conference, which has “the Open Web” as topic.