Linux.conf.au — Wrapup

LCA officially finished yesterday with the Open Day being a massive success. Here’s my attempt to wrap up everything that I’ve done since Tuesday:

Wednesday

Keynote was Bruce Schneier, he gave a speech which was not terribly revelatory, but was entertaining nonetheless. This was probably to be expected — keynoters are notorious for regurgitating talks, but the talk was well-presented, and thinking about the psychology of security was a particularly interesting process.

Other highlights of the day included The Kernel Report, and a talk on the OLPC by Jim Gettys.

Thursday

There was one standout talk from Thursday, and that was Andrew Tridgell‘s talk on Clustered Samba (not just a hack any more). The level of thought that’s gone into the system is incredible, one particular standout from that talk was the concept of a “Tickle ACK”, which in my opinion, was the most beautiful piece of TCP Hackery I’ve ever seen. The audience’s reaction is well-justified — make sure you watch the talk.

Leslie Hawthorn’s talk on the Summer of Code and other Google Open Source stuff was worth going to; whilst the topics covered were for the most part repeats of stuff that’s already been revealed, one small soundbite was dropped, and that is that Summer of Code is almost certainly going to happen in the Southern Hemisphere. This is great news for Australian coders, since the Northern Summer of Code really doesn’t work for committed students (a clash with exams and 7 weeks of second semester is particularly discouraging). I’m seriously considering doing it this year. Thanks Leslie!

The Google Student Party was also really cool — an evening in a dingy pub in the middle of Melbourne, chatting with students and hobbyists, and planning projects for the rest of the year — I already have one, and thanks to Leslie, a contact to pitch it to. I’m looking forward to that!

Friday

The day started out with Anthony Baxter‘s talk on Python’s latest developments, with a really stupid title. Fortunately, the talk itself wasn’t stupid: it was definitely the standout keynote talk for the conference, and probably the best talk on Python, which is cool. He talked about all of the things that are going to break in version 3.0, future developments on the 2.x line, and also mentioned NCSS (in particular, he namedropped me, which is nice — I’ll be posting a post about NCSS in the near future for those of you LCAers who are interested in it)

Another cool thing done for the last day was a “Geek Junk Giveaway”, where people would give out their old computer junk to people who wanted it: I hope this becomes an LCA tradition.

The lightning talks (can’t find the video yet, sorry!), which went for the last hour of the conference were many, varied, and generally excellent. Standout talks included Jeff Waugh on Getting Laid (or rather, “Couple-oriented Software”, or the lack of software services that don’t recognise couples), and Paul Fenwick on Fixing the Web (using greasemonkey to remove content from Myspace).

Finally, the best part of Friday was finding out that LCA2009 will be in Hobart! And I’ve already started inviting people to pop by for it.

Saturday

Open Day == Schwag (Red Hats, DVDs, and a Google T-Shirt), Schmooze (I spent 20 minutes exploring the Clustered Samba codebase with Tridge — and a generalised version of the Tickle Ack (the Socket Killer — it’s cool!), dicussing developments in Kate with Aaron Seigo, and playing Infra-red Pong with Rusty Russell), and Schpeech (that was dreadful, but the lightning talks were good)

So, that’s it for LCA proceedings, onto my general thoughts: LCA was fantastic. To Donna, Peter, and the rest of the mel8ourne crew, you did a fantastic job, it’s going to be interesting to see if Hobart can top it.

To the People of LCA, thanks for making it worthwhile — people who work on cool stuff actually giving me the time of day (thanks Tridge and Aaron and Anthony for all of that), the community really makes LCA special. I will be going back every year that I can, as it’s really a special event.

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