So today was the first day of my first Linux (or any) conference, linux.conf.au. Apparently blogging about these things is a thing (well at least according to Delan and Kye) so here we go.
Registrations were yesterday as well as the newcomer seminar about the conference by Rusty Russell (I hope this is his actual name.) who is a pretty cool guy and even bought all the newcomers a beer. We also got a whole bunch of merch which sadly didn’t include deodorant (see: Sysadmin miniconf) but was pretty decent for the $99 student ticket. We were also warned that the miniconfs over the first two days were independently run and could be a bit ‘rough’, as you’ll soon discover.
The first miniconf I attended was the Sysadmin miniconf where everyone was packed into the Woolnough lecture theater at UWA which is one of those ones where they try to cram as many seats into a room as possible. This combined with the hot Perth weather and a whole bunch of Linux enthusiasts did not make for a pleasant atmosphere to the point of where it was almost uncomfortable. To be honest, Sysadmin-ing bores me to tears and most of the talks either flew straight over my head or the speaker fumbled through slides, sometimes both. I feel like today’s miniconfs were slim pickings and I’m much more excited for tomorrow’s Open Programming conf. One gem in the rough for me was ‘Quality of Service’, a common misconception (10 mins) – Julien Goodwin [ Video ] one of the talks which I felt would be accessible to all of the audience and the speaker actually new his stuff, as someone who was tried to mess with QoS before studying CS, this ten minute talk made me understand it in a way that I previously hadn’t.
After getting sick of the Sysadmin conf I went to see the Open Government lightning talks and I wish I had gone their sooner. It was much less congested which really made it feel like more of a dialogue than the other talks. It was headed by Pia Waugh who seemed really passionate and knowledgeable about the subject (which you would hope she would be as the person in charge of data.gov.au, something I found out about today which I had never heard of and is amazing).
Lastly I went to a Crypto BoF (Birds of Feather, a concept which is new to me which I gather so far is a sort of informal discussion group). I’ve been a bit of a crypto enthusiast (Oh hey ASIO, I didn’t see you there) since doing some study on it at Curtin. One of the interesting topics which came up was the traditional security being at odds with usability and increasing usability may be a good thing regardless, because if enough people use PGP it may stop the people who use PGP from going on a list.
So that was linux.conf.au so far, it’s going to be an interesting week and I’m pumped for the proper talks to begin Wednesday-Friday. Hopefully I’ll be up in time for tomorrow’s keynote.
My linux.conf.au adventure is continued here.