2009: miniconferences 2009 was held in Hobart from January 19 to 24.

After two years (co-)running the LinuxChix miniconf I was glad to not be tied to the room the whole day on Monday. My talk was first up though, so into the room I went. The talk was a failure as far as my primary aim with it went: the idea was to inspire newcomers with stories of existing contributors (all women, given the context) stories of getting involved. The reason this failed is that only the hardcore faithful attending: it wasn’t a talk intended to preach to the choir in that way. I came up with the idea after hearing about the FOSSCoach event at OSCON 2008: I even thought about proposing a whole FOSSCoach miniconference before I remembered that I wanted to have less major timesinks.

There is no video recording of my talk either unfortunately, I will make audio available fairly shortly assuming that the audio that comes off Andrew’s mobile phone is at all passable.

I went to the panel on geek parenting after morning tea: this was very popular and perhaps deserves a better forum in future. I’m hoping to get some audience write-ups of this. I then went to half of Matthew Garrett‘s talk How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love ACPI, partly because I’d recommended him as a good speaker to Sara and then ran into Matthew very shortly before his talk, and he casually mentioned something about how he was about to write the slides. So I had to check that I had not led Sara astray: luckily not, if only because the structure of the talk was along the lines of ask Matthew a question about something that makes him angry and wait and learn..

The afternoon of the LinuxChix miniconf was sunny and informal: there was a wrap-up session about evangelising IT to girls and then Robyn had a short piece advertising the existence of ChixBits and hoping to get some contributors.

Tuesday’s programme was generally more exciting for me. I went to much of Brianna Laugher‘s Free as in Freedom miniconf. Matthew Landauer repeated his OSDC talk on Open Australia (our version of They Work For You). It’s a cool project and approachable from my point of view: screenscraping and such. If I was taking on new projects I’d probably send patches.

Over at sysadmin for once in my life, I went to Gus Lees’ talk on Google and ipv6. Essentially from Google’s point of view ipv6 will arrive sooner or later and they want to make sure their (quite strict) internal SLAs are met when they start serving AAAA records for So they have some analysis of how many people will use AAAA records (about 0.7% of web users if I recall) and how many of them then have broken routing somehow (about one-third of the aforementioned 0.7% of web users). Then there’s the folks with crazily long routes for no good reason and so on. The upshot is similar to Google’s blog: ipv6 is moving inside Google. If you (as a network admin) are interested in testing, see here. Gus is at the other end of that email address and his home was the first DNS server to get access to AAAA records for

Jeff Waugh did a historical analogy between printing presses as revolution and Free as in revolution. Rusty Russell gave a talk which he hated on principle — it wasn’t about code —  but which was beneficial to his audience, if not to any actual code. Its main point was that those arguing against stronger intellectual property is not an argument for strong property rights of the type that are important to capitalism, it’s arguing against them. People who own a copy of a book, movie, or computer programme under strong intellectual property own less of that copy. This is dear to Rusty’s heart: property rights are important. If it wasn’t that he disclaimed all intent to ever do a ‘soft’ talk (ie no code) again, I’d recommend hearing it from the man with the passion.

Rusty’s talk ended in his intellectual property interpretive dance, of which, like many shenanigans, there is surprisingly little evidence on the Web.