Archive for January, 2010

LCA day 5 and the GoboLinux talk

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

The last day brought the reason I was really there, my GoboLinux presentation in the very last speaking slot. Before then I made it into Sarah Sharp’s USB 3 talk, the photo management BOF, which was less useful than anticipated, and Rusty’s Wiimote presentation. The latter was both amazing and adorable, and well worth watching when the videos come out. The video of the first time it actually worked left me open-mouthed from both directions. That was the last talk I got to since I spent the next couple of hours preparing and practicing.

My slot was right before the closing ceremony and not too badly populated given that it was against at least two others I wanted to see. I don’t think it went too badly, though I did fixate on minor topics at a couple of points, and there were some good questions at the end. Since we were before the ceremony the cutoff was rigorously enforced and we actually ran out of time for them all, but I did have a chat with a couple of interested people at the stage while I was packing up.

Interestingly, and unexpectedly, an article turned up on TechWorld the next day about my talk and about GoboLinux. Some of the quoting is interesting, but the gist of it is there. The slides are also available (I think they’ll be on the conference site too at some point; at least they were collected on a USB stick afterwards), as is a more formally written-up version of the presentation. It doesn’t have all the content the talk did, since I added a few parts, including the whole Rootless section, in the aftermath of Monday’s Distro Summit discussion. Video should be available in a couple of weeks.

The closing ceremony was good enough, but ran long (and started late, so we didn’t really need to have rushed the questions so much…). Mostly that was to fit in thanks to the organisers and helpers, who really did do a fantastic job, so no complaints. Next year’s conference is in Brisbane. I’m not sure whether I’ll go or not yet, but it was definitely valuable this time so I will consider it. No speaking maybe ever again though. The Penguin Dinner that night was all right but also lagged a bit. The entertaining part of it was the Life Flight Trust donations race, which had a fivefold increase in the donation volume in just a couple of hours. I left early to get some actual sleep, so I’m not sure how high it got by the end, but it was approaching $20,000 last I saw.

I was hoping to find out the total at the open day today, but it didn’t appear to be up anywhere. I did get a lot of brochures and blurbs instead, and there was free stuff everywhere too. I didn’t end up with much of that; it was probably more appreciated by my later companion, who got all klepto (but not as klepto as she wanted to be, which seemed like a wasted opportunity). Most appreciated was the koala pen from the LCA2011 booth, so good marketing on their part. It was cute.

That’s a wrap. Later I’ll write up something on the various community engagement presentations I attended, which I think we can get some value out of. There were some others I didn’t make it into that I’ll watch when the videos become available. Right now I’m appreciating the opportunity to do something non-conference-related for a while.

LCA days 2-4

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Tuesday I didn’t have a talk, so I got to enjoy the conference itself instead of repeated practice. First up was Gabriella Coleman‘s keynote, which was just fantastic. She’s basically a geek anthropologist and it was one of the most interesting talks I’ve been to.

I spent the whole day at the Open in the Public Sector miniconf, where I have plenty of interest but no experience. There were a few great talks there. Pia Waugh’s especially was brilliant and had a good point about the need for transparency in how public enagement is run. She’s the ICT advisor to an Australian Senator and it seems like both she and her boss get it. I liked her advice to other politicians: “get yourself an open-source geek”. The panel discussion with Clare Curran and Pia again was interesting, though Clare went on a bit sometimes. Trevor Mallard was there but not speaking, but he was pretty impressive in informal chat in the breaks. After that was the Speakers Dinner at Te Papa, which was nice enough. I did get to sit at a table with Ted Ts’o and Keith Packard. I left a little early and was still pretty shattered afterwards and the next day.

Wednesday was the first day of the conference proper. The highlight for me was Matthew Garrett’s talk on social conduct in the community, and Sage Weil from Dreamhost talking about their Ceph distributed filesystem (and mentioning that if you want to try it, and don’t have a huge cluster, you can sign up to Dreamhost with code “ceph”). Nothing on that night, so I was able to get some sleep.

Thursday brought two talks from Leslie Hawthorn on community management, mentoring, and bringing in new contributors. The mentoring talk was the most valuable and had a lot of content I think we need to take note of. I have good notes on both of those that I’ll bring to the mailing list later. The Professional Delegates’ Networking Session was that night, which I was technically eligible for, but I went home to work on my slides and talk instead. Also to catch up on sleep.

Friday to come later on.

First talk over at linux.conf.au

Monday, January 18th, 2010

I made my first presentation at linux.conf.au today, in the Distro Summit miniconf. I talked about the Aliens system, and it wasn’t a disaster, which is a plus. It went reasonably well, though I missed out on a couple of points I was planning to hit since I went off-script a bit. All the important content made it in, and there were plenty of good questions afterwards (& during). The speaker immediately after me had travel problems and didn’t make it, so there was an extended discussion jumping off from my talk that I think covered a lot of useful territory. It was a good miniconf to be at.

I appreciated the copious power points around to keep the battery charged, and the wireless network I managed to get working today (except in the Civic Suite where the miniconf was, annoyingly [edit: and they’ve fixed it! Amazing.]). Kudos to the organisers. The tech people from the conference were also fantastic helping me get the projection up and running, even though it was completely my fault it wasn’t working. He was, in fact, a genius full of information, like he said, so people got to see my fairly information-free slides. Thankfully I’d turned up early to make sure it was going to work.

Those slides are available now, as is a written-up version of it that has more content than I was able to fit into the talk. I had to go through it with a hatchet last night and today to make it fit in the twenty-minute slot and some good parts had to go. Honesty dictated that I couldn’t leave out any of the limitations and drawbacks so it was mostly the rest that got the chop. The main talk is on Friday, and there were a few points that came out of the discussion today that I’ll work into it as well. It turns out everything is being webcast live, which I didn’t find out until after I spoke today, but you can watch Friday’s if you like (Renouf 1 feed, 1545L/0245Z). There’ll be recordings up too, apparently later in the week, which’d be an impressive feat, but at some point over the next few weeks or months anyway.

Now I have to try to plan out what I’m going to go to tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy.

Presentations at linux.conf.au

Friday, January 8th, 2010

The conference is the week after next, and I will be presenting twice: once on the Monday and once on the Friday. On Monday in the Distro Summit miniconf I am speaking on the somewhat opaque topic of “Integrating domain-specific package managers into distribution package management systems”. That’s /System/Aliens, or trying to tie systems like CPAN, RubyGems, LuaRocks, and an ever-increasing number of others into the distribution package manager in order to avoid user conflicts and get automatic access to the full repository of their software. I seem to be just about the only speaker there who isn’t from Debian, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go down. My talk is at 13.30 in Civic Suite 3 inside the Town Hall.

In the main conference on Friday, in the very last presentation slot, I will be speaking on “An updated directory hierarchy for Unix”. That’s a broader GoboLinux paper where I will talk about the hierarchy we’ve chosen and discuss a little of the history behind the standard structure, particularly why we feel it’s ok to break with it. I’ll be talking about the advantages the new structure brings for the administrator, including some of the lesser-known traits that fall naturally out of it, and a couple of other (not so hierarchy-related, but interesting) features that we have. That part will probably include a brief discussion of Aliens too, looking at it from more of a user perspective than the implementor’s view in the miniconf.  I’ll also try to dispel a few of the more common misconceptions we run into, but that may be a bit much to hope for. That presentation is at 15.45 Friday in Renouf Foyer 1 in the MFC.

At least the second talk should be recorded and the video available afterwards (for the miniconfs it’s “best effort”, and there’s bound to be a few kinks on the very first day). There will also be more comprehensive written papers available here afterwards, particularly for the Aliens system. I’ve tried to document it as fully as possible in the written version, while the twenty-minute talk has a lot of the less-important details left out. That one’s going to be cutting it a bit fine as it is, and I may need to trim more still to make sure there’s time for questions. If there’s anything important cut I’ll work it into the other paper to make sure we get it out somewhere. It’s been suggested there might be room for a lightning talk during the open day on Saturday too, but I’m not sure whether I’ll be talked out by that point, so we’ll see how it goes.

Registrations for the conference have been extended so there’s still an opportunity for anybody to come along and watch me if they want. There are a lot of other presentations as well that look more interesting still, so it should be an enlightening week.

https:// stconf.linux.org.au/programme/schedule/view_talk/50181?day=fridayin Re