2008 day 4 (Thursday)

The week is getting eaten up with trivial and non-trivial laptop tasks. (I’ll finish uploading the Chix slides later, rather than skip talks to do it. By the way, for people doing slides from Flickr photos, the best search to use is Advanced and tick all the Creative Commons boxes. Yes including the commercial use one, please. The conference and most of the miniconfs are asking for BY-SA. That means you can’t include NC — no commercial use — photos in your slides!)

Yesterday’s keynote was Stormy Peters on Would you do it again for free?, addressing whether or not Free Software programmers who have ever had a job developing it would continue doing so after they leave the job. Her conclusion is ‘yes’ for various reasons, but that they’d probably switch projects. The major howler was that she speculated without checking that Eazel employees are probably mostly still in Free Software (in actual fact, a whole team almost immediately disappeared into Apple-land, never to reemerge). It’s a shame she didn’t follow that up before throwing it as a passing commend into the talk: it would have been interesting information informing her conclusions. (For anyone interested in following up, she has some sources at her blog: Do external rewards kill intrinsic motivations? and Two new points on “Would you do it again for free?”)

There was a warning during the keynote not to go to Rusty Russell’s lguest tutorial without preparation, which I hadn’t done: there was a BOF session the day before that I heard about from Rusty after the fact. I wish I’d found his blog post in time to go, but I didn’t see it until after the tute.

lca has a long-standing problem with it being basically impossible to run any tutorials without starting from complete beginnings. Most of the audience will not have installed, studied or thought in advance, no matter how vigorously requested to do so. I’m beginning to wonder whether offering paid tutorials, as some other conferences do, would change the landscape a little.

I enjoyed Parrot: a VM for Dynamic Languages a lot. I believe Parrot has been around almost as long as Perl 6 has been talked about, or something like that, but fortunately I haven’t been on board for that ride, so I can enjoy the fun without thinking about the pain. I’m even tempted to look at the code.

I more or less worked through several other talks: By Sound and By Touch: Using Linux with Speech and Braille Output Interfaces, Application performance profiling with Xorg and Breaking the Silence: Making Applications Talk with Telepathy. Andrew tells me Clustered Samba – not just a hack any more was amazing, audacious, awesome. Perhaps aspirational. Some words like that. I’m sorry I missed it. Tridge’s talk last year was a step down, and silly me, I just assumed it was a predictor, not a total aberration.

As predicted, I didn’t ‘do’ the Professional Delegates Networking Session. I instead went out to dinner with Twisted and Twisted-ish folk: Jonathon, Stephen, Elspeth, Andrew and Tim. And it was quiet and not a performance and exactly what I needed. Especially since the Google party is tonight.