I wasn’t too engaged with Anthony Baxter’s keynote Two Snake Enter, One Snake Leave? on Python 3.0 (the first ever backwards incompatible release). Partly because it’s because I’ve been hearing about the thing for yonks and it generally turns into wailing and gnashing of teeth, hence my hindbrain goes into force override. Also, I was preparing my lightning talk slides. I kept working on them through Bringing kittens back to life – continuing story of open source graphics drivers, so I can’t say much about that either. (I hear that Seeking is hard: Ogg design internals over in another theatre was good.)
After kittens, it was time for law: Stop in the Name of Law, Kimberlee Weatherall’s wrap-up of the year in intellectual property. Some interesting conclusions from her talk:
- Weatherall says that you can tell her DRM is dead when digital movies and TV are DRM-free. Music has always had a more expensive DRM-free option: CDs. So the appearance of more DRM-free sales is not a revolution.
- The push to kill software patents entirely is dead. They’re worth an awful lot of money to an awful lot of people, and aside from that research keeps digging up what are effectively software patents even before they were meant to be around in the US and even in the EU, where they still aren’t. Draw a line, and software patents will spring up where the grass is greener.
- The big worrying new development we should watch for: the push to make ISPs responsible for copyright infringements. Particularly (watch out Australia) as riders on requirements to make them responsible for not letting kids see porn. THIS WILL PROTECT YOUR KIDS FROM PORN and also content owners from infringement BUT THINK OF THE PORN. (Dear, dear, dear readers: I am perfectly well aware that there are also legal, technical and ethical arguments against filtering porn too. Do not deluge me with them. Thank you.)
- If you’re worried about the worldwide IP situation and you’re scared and you’re one little person and you don’t know what to do, code. (Or create free content.) This content is becoming very useful to very many people, some of whom have a lot of money, and they are worrying about IP for you.
I wasn’t a great fan of Create your own Open Source Dance Mat, because the content was short for the slot and letting a few people dance didn’t really make up for the missing second half of the slot. Plus, the chaoticness of the dancing made several people in the audience decide that it would be a fine thing to have very loud conversations. I have no idea what they were about, as I have difficulty tuning in when a lot of conversations happen at once. But I suspect they weren’t on-topic.
The final talk we went to was Jeff and Pia’s The Australian Open Source Industry & Community Census 2007 where they presented some raw results of the community part of their census. They didn’t mention that they were working with psychometricians on it until nearly the end, so sent them an email with some semi-informed statistical rambling during the talk and spent about 48 hours worried that I’d been too snarky. But Jeff was enthusiastic in reply. Ah, performance anxiety.
There were lightning talks before the closing session. I compressed my Getting a talk into linux.conf.au post into a three minute lightning talk (Talks you should submit to linux.conf.au, PDF, 85KB) which was not unappreciated except when compared with Paul Fenwick’s 32 or 38 slides, which result in the MySpace for unsocial fascist bastards Greasemonkey script.
After close (summary: linux.conf.au 2009 will be in Hobart, best logo ever, march south next year) was the Google party. I quite liked the vibe. Last year was a bit more intense, going well into the evening with oppressive humidity and a fair bit more alcohol. This year was more like a barbecue in someone’s backyard. Someone’s really big backyard. (It probably helps that Melbourne sunset is about half an hour later than Sydney’s.) After the booze dried up (not that I was partaking but I could have done with another Coke) we headed to Polly’s, which is another very Melbourne find. (Fancy red armchairs and cocktails…)
I didn’t spend much time at Open Day. Unfortunately the venue was very uncomfortable: the floor was at the top of Union House and was unairconditioned. Our stand was also on the darker and hotter side. I womanned the LinuxChix stall with Akkana, Robyn and Kylie for about an hour. But I’d also printed the poster and had business cards done at my expense, so I feel I added in money what I couldn’t add in time.