Posts Tagged ‘conference’

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.

Roundup of NLUUG Fall Conference

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Time to put down my NLUUG hat (that’s the purple one, matching the NLUUG color scheme) for this conference round and look back for a moment. It’s good to hear kind words from Sebas about the conference. They pretty much match my impressions of the whole: a conference with strong technical talks (I chaired three, on Legal aspects, Ampache and Midgard2) and a satisfied audience. The coffee was darn good — but you had to order a cappucino (after 11am) to get the full sense of artistry; Schuberg-Philis takes good care of its people. They had a nice talk on data storage tiers at the previous (spring) conference — the same conference where Ben Marin talked about libferris, so I’m happy to see him show up on planet KDE as well, now.

Kudos especially to Jos Poortvliet for filling in on short notice. I fully expect some form of revenge for that, even if the dinner and lengthy discussion about Free Software usability made up for some of it (quoth I “surely someone who drives a car has some mental model of what’s going on?” saith the usability expert “ha ha ha.”).

Thanks too to the programme committee, headed by Armijn, and to Interactie, represented by Andrea, for their dedication to the conference. As they say in Inspector Gadget: “next time” (the topic is “Systems Administration”, nice and traditional, and the call for abstracts is up if you’d like to submit a paper.)

A Travelogue

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

What’s to say about Amsterdam – it’s too far away from my house to be convenient, and then dead boring with its shopping concourse. Even the whisky store is of little interest because it has prices comparable to the local place at home; there is no benefit to “tax-free”.

Paris Charles de Gaulle, though, is arguably worse. Most of the shops are closed at 19:00, and lights go out in parts of the terminal buildings, so it seems empty and deserted. Signposting for the shuttle bus that goes around the six terminal halls is erratic, so I ended up walking. It’s only 15 minutes from one end to the other, but again you need to search every now and then for the next sign to 2A. For those who have gone to FOSDEM by car with me, think “like Brussels, only less grotty.”

The flight with TAM from Paris to Sao Paulo was surprisingly pleasant. Not too cramped, mostly, and that’s important on a 12 hour flight. Watched some movies I otherwise would not have. Wolverine was terribly unfinished, I thought. If you know the comics perhaps it makes a little more sense, or the time jumps are dealt with better. The SFX could be described as “cheesy” at best. Ah well, at least I’ve seen an American comic-based action movie this decade.

Much better — at least until 5 minutes from the end — was Adventureland, one of those comic growing-up movies. Set in 1987, this was terribly recognizable for me. Not the drunk driving and copious use of marijuana, but the rest of the cultural setting. Billy Idol, the Cure and faux-philosophical conversations? Check. The overly feel-good ending felt tacked-on, though. That tied up one loose end that need not have been.

Anyway, Sao Paulo airport is boring like most others. I should go for a coffee. At R$ 2.90 it’s 35% of the price of an espresso in Amsterdam. Probably better coffee, too.

In about an hour I carry on to Foz do Iguacu for Latinoware. I still need to rassle up my slides, but there’s enough time for that — and it looks like a beautiful day now the sun is coming up. [[ Posted much later in the day because I fell asleep once I got to the hotel, and later the ‘net was down. ]]

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.

issa gone expode!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

In Switserland today. It’s great to be in the mountains again, it puts a spring in my step — although the travel also puts a crimp in my email responsiveness. I’m in Winterthur for OpenExpo, where I’ll be showing off all three of my hats. Stop by for a promotional talk about the Open Web conference from the NLUUG, or about KDE, or we can sit down and discuss licensing issues in community-led and business-led Free Software projects. Your choice. It’s gorgeous weather — or it was today during the day, lovely to see the hills and countryside — some come on in before you get a tan.

Whither FrOSCon?

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

While I was having a weekend meeting — over a week ago now in Frankfurt — there was FrOSCon going on just one or two ICE stops down the line. The overall programme seems (seemed?) pretty interesting, and Michael had a good time (you mean Rainer will let people try to drive his car!?), but there seems to have been very little report out of the conference.

From a research point of view (i.e. the hat I put down when I left the university) I’m somewhat curious about the PHP Quality Assurance Tools and The State of Test in Open Source talks. Writing enough tests is always tough, unless the culture of a project really encourages it; that’s basically where discipline and a desire to write the very best code have to win out over “let’s get it out there quick.” (Note that this is a use of “Open Source” that I’m not going to complain about: it’s about a development model which offers source for viewing — which enables the creation of tests, but does not necessarily enable any of the other Freedoms.) Of course, within a quality measurement framework (yes, I’m talking about the EBN which is in dire need of some hobby-time love from me) processing large amounts of data is important, so I suppose large scale analysis tools would be interesting as well.

Turning to legal issues (my work hat), I’m pleased to see a Free Software conference with an explicit legal track. One of the more interesting talks (from a licensing perspective) wasn’t filed under legal, though: Freie Software und SaaS, which seems to have talked about the AGPL. That’s interesting because the AGPL tries to close the “distribution” loophole in the GPL — for those authors who feel that that is a loophole that they do not want their code to pass through. Patents and e-mail regulation show up in the legal track as well — remember that business communication needs to be stored and tracked. The most intriguing talk of them all is the Opensource in der Praxis talk, where Open Source as a term is used badly, but let’s let that go.

I’ve got to admire a talk with slides made in TeX. Absolutely.

Unfortunately, my German isn’t good enough to construct a coherent talk based on just the slides, and the talk seems to have touched on a couple of potential issues when it comes to the applicability of Free Software licenses in Germany; that’s a topic I like to think is well-understood, so I’m curious if anyone who attended the talk can give me a summary — or put me in touch with the author (yay lazyweb!).

Mini booth-box

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I regularly visit fairs or attend development sprints, and in the course of a few years I’ve gathered together something I call a “mini booth-box”. It’s a plastic crate full of odds and ends that are invariably useful at an event; I can either take the whole box or cherry-pick from it for specific events. Like at FOSDEM this year, where I packed 2 19″ flatscreens, a Sun Ray, two keyboards and mice and a laptop into my backpack. Forgetting, of course, the required switch and stuff. Well, the best-laid plans …

Anyway, here’s a list of what’s in that crate, in the hope that it might be helpful for someone else.

Networking: A 24-port hub and its power lead; a 5-port switch and its wall wart; a WRT54GL and its wall wart; a crossover cable; 25m, 10m, 2x5m and a 2m straight UTP cables. Video: DVD-D dual link cable; VGA D-sub cable. DVI-I to D-sub adapter. Input: PS/2 mini-size keyboard; USB keyboard; USB mouse. Misc: 1GB USB stick; bluetooth dongle; 1m eSATA cable; 1.5m USB A-B cable; 1.5m USB A-mini cable; Nokia phone carger (mini-connector). 4-socket power strip. UK-Euro plug adapter.

I know some of that is redundant, overly specialized or just crap, but it serves its purpose of giving me a one-stop shop in house for picking up equipment when going to a fair. I just hope I didn’t forget anything. The Sun Ray thin client doesn’t travel in the box, but it does good service at stands if I want to use my laptop while at the same time leaving the laptop at the booth for display / demonstration purposes.

The Open Web is go!

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

The NLUUG fall conference on Het Open Web (English, the Open Web, and I’ll guess that a little over half of the conference will be in English) is now complete. We have the programme sorted out. Topics (or tracks, if you will) include multimedia and the social web (or desktop). KDE people will find some of the speakers vaguely familiar .. I was not on the programme committee, you can’t blame me for it.

Registration has opened. As in previous years, students pay only EUR 26, NLUUG members who are not longer students EUR 135. A bargain conference with great content, and I invite you all to attend.

Upcoming Conferences (n+1)

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Gosh, I go on about upcoming interesting Free Software conferences all the time, don’t I. But there’s just so many of them. I got four to pimp out today, and all of them have the word “Open” in their name — which reminds me I really need to deal with that word at some point in the near future. If you’re in western Europe or the middle of the United States (you may apply geography lessons to me, but it will cost you a plane ticket), harken:

  • OSDevCon is in Hamburg, september 23-25 2009. It’s an OpenSolaris developers, contributors and application porters conference. The CfP closes july 26th. I suppose I should try to get something about KDE in there, although since I’m also on the programme committee there’s definite conflict-of-interest. And if you don’t particularly care about OSOL (it really does have a cool package manager), you might want to try the co-located Linux Kongress.
  • Utah Open Source Conference is in Utah (which contains interesting cartoonists) from october 8-10. I can see — given the current list of abstracts — a real need there for Desktop or Free Software talks.
  • The NLUUG fall conference on the Open Web, october 29th 2009. Officially the CFP closes today, but I think I can give you an informal reassurance that abstracts will continue to be accepted for another week or so. Frank Karlitschek, this means you.
  • Open Rhein Ruhr is a regional conference (closer to where I live than Amsterdam is!) november 7th and 8th. All things Free Software considered, and the CFP is open until august 23rd. No reason not to submit your “stuff that will be cool in KDE 4.4” talk now, though.

That’s it for now, and until next week, when I try to explain why the 2009 Maemo summit isn’t on my list yet.