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Mon, 06 Feb 2006:

I just went to Gnunify to see and listen - but I ended up talking about Webservices. More importantly I ended up talking about Why you should hire a FOSS programmer in a BoF at the end of the first day. Unlike spo0nman who was talking about his life story and GQview slideshow implementations, I was not looking at my personal experience with FOSS. These kids aren't going to go through yet another 1999 in their life - my life is practically useless for them as an example.

Almost all the technical reasons are moot when you really come down to comparing a really good coder from either side. There are some that say FOSS geeks are more hardcore than non-FOSS ones, but I know of enough non-FOSS coders who can beat me at hacking without even trying. But the real difference comes out in the social aspects of FOSS. It is really hard to get involved in FOSS and it is even harder to actually survive as a productive member in FOSS.

To start with, in college it is a competitive system where you have to perform better than the next guy. While in the real world of programming, you have to co-operate with that guy to get the job done. You have to argue with people about bugs, you have to arrive at consensus about a feature. You have to do a lot of interaction which isn't taught in college - some kids do indeed learn of these, but those are unlikely to be of the coding sub-species and are more of the organizing sub-species.

Anyway, if you are a FOSS programmer - you've been through all the flame wars about bugs, the hour long discussions on irc and good communication skills. It isn't easy to communicate complicated concepts over email or irc. All very important things to possess if you want to be successful engineer in the current software industry.

Anyway, Dilbert could be psychic. I was going to talk about Webservices with KingDiamond and lunatech. And while we were preparing our slides - GNULinuxer points out the day's dilbert. Really awesome to put up in your slides about how webservices help people get more out of life.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun at Gnunify. I hope they call me next year - I was sort of a pile-on this year. Amazing number of volunteers with young legs under them (unlike FOSS.in). I just hope they start doing something with the conference and convert it into a student involved event rather than just using them for volunteers.

Just awesome ... except for the part where they called us sir and held lifts for us. We prefer it to be a little bit more egalitarian.

The best laid plans of mice and men are held up in the legal department.

posted at: 22:44 | path: /conferences | permalink | Tags: ,

The conference had practically ended by saturday morning. Mark Shuttleworth was giving the keynote and we all sort of headed back after the keynote. I met up with Andrew Tridgell and just listened to what he was saying. I think we need more people like him who will talk quietly but will not be found wanting when the call goes out to all good men to stand up to things like Bitkeeper. He was saying some interesting about mercurial - which is an up and coming distributed version control system.


During lunchtime was when all the hair promised during the last night's auction was sort of collected. First up was Dave Miller, whose beard was on the chopping block. It was a Win-Win because we got to look at a half-decent looking Dave and Dave got a shave for free.

Rusty showed up with his own razor and sort of lived up to - If you gotta get something done right, do it yourself. The world has never seen Rusty without his mush since he was sixteen - except for that vacation where he destroyed all evidence by dropping the camera into sixteen feet of water. Maddog was keen to capitalize on the photo opportunity.

Rusty does the job and walks around with a new mush. I remember hearing Jeff yell out now you look even more like a pornstar as soon as Rusty put on the falsie.

Jeff Waugh was up next. I don't think I need words to explain the story below. Reminds me too much of cartoon story boards. Well, provided you know the characters in the story here - Jeff & Pia Waugh supported by Maddog.

Biggest thing post lunch was the fact that I dropped my HDD and had to go through some mental anguish. Then attended the panel discussion which essentially had a small flame war about Mac OS X vs FOSS. The future of the desktop seems to have been hijacked mid-way by OS X and well seeded in the geek community by Apple. Tridgell replied with "maybe you shouldn't pick your software by merely quality alone".

Then the next year plans were announced and a few jokes by the organizers - like the Jeff and Pia Smith reference (Pia Smith is now Pia Waugh) and the Scary bald man Jeff.

I then headed out to dinner with the gang. Noticed that Rhys's jacket had the remanents of whatever was Oracle's Power Browser project.

Then came the time to say good bye. Even those who were staying in New Zealand were headed out onto the road. Unicol was feeling rather empty - and the drained feeling that a conference brings when all the adrenaline dies down.

I still had a day left to see around Dunedin, but you'll have to wait for the post - I have so much to write about.

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in New Zealand.

posted at: 17:44 | path: /conferences | permalink | Tags: , ,