After 27 hours of travel, I'm finally back from my first Linux.conf.au.
This was a great conference! Some of my favorite highlights:
- Out for dinner the first night, my whole table started spontaneously talking about Haskell, including details of IO management frameworks like conduit and pipes, and a new one that's waiting in the wings. That just doesn't happen in the real world. A lot of us continued to do Haskell stuff in the hallway track, although for some reason there were no Haskell talks on the official schedule. Maybe it's time for a Haskell miniconf at LCA?
- Meeting Josh, Jamie, Sarah, Brendan, Craig, and others I've worked with online but never encountered IRL. Also reconnecting with old friends (some I'd not seen in 13 years) and finding new ones.
- The speaker's dinner in a revolving restaurant overlooking Canberra. Leave it to a restaurant full of geeks to invent an asychronous communications medium in such a setting. (Notes attached to windows to be read and answered by tables as they rotated by.)
- Meeting quite a lot of git-annex users, Kickstarter backers, and people interested in using git-annex. Thanks to everyone who came up to me for a chat.
- The evening pickup board game sessions. Especially my wiping out three other Tsuro players at once by forcing them all to end on the same square. ;) These were where I felt the most at home in Australia.
- Robert Llewellyn dropping in and mingling with fans of Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge. One of the very few actors I could possibly fanboy on, and LCA not only somehow got him, but constructed an atmosphere that allowed for this photo of us.
My git-annex talk went ok, despite technical problems with the video output, which the video team did a great job of working around. The first demo went well, and the Q&A was excellent.
The demo of the git-annex assistant webapp was marred by, apparently, a bad build of the webapp -- which I ironically used rather than my usual development build because I assumed it'd be less likely to fail. At least I may have a way to reproduce that hang somewhat reliably now, so I can get on with debugging it. I will be redoing a demo of the webapp as a screencast.
Here are some of the best talks I attended. (I have quite a lot more queued up to watch still, and had to cut several due to space.) Click titles for videos, or browse all the videos.
Git for Ages 4 and Up
Schwern has found a new, excellent way to explain git. I felt rather bad for using up a seat, especially once people were kicked out when the room was filled over capacity. But I enjoyed every minute of it. (Also has the best speaker intro ever. "Schwern once typed
git pull --hardand pulled GitHub's sever room across the street.")
BTW, I must confess: I left the red apple on teacher's desk.
Radia Perlman's keynote
Network protocol design and poetry from one of the quiet heros of our field. I knew Spanning Tree Protocol was used in ethernet, but it just works, so like many I never paid much attention to it. This talk felt like the best lectures, where you're learning from a master on multiple levels at once. Well done work often becomes an unremarked part of the landscape, which I sometimes find unrewarding, so it was great to have Radia give some perspective on what that's like over the course of decades.
A 90 second time limit really helps. Too many conferences have 5 minute talks, which is less exciting. If you still find them boring, skip forward to 13:50, where pjf does two talks in 90 seconds! (If a 20 second talk on depression is too .. manic, there's an encore at the end.)
The IPocalypse 20 months later
A reality check, with real data. Very important stuff here. We need to work to avoid this worst case scenario, and we also need to design around it.
REPENT!!! FOR THE END OF THE UNIX EPOCH IS NIGH!!!
Wildest talk beginning I've seen since RMS put the hard drive halo on his head. And to an important point: Any programs that deal with dates 25 years in the future already need to be fixed today to deal with the epoch rollover. This got me digging around in Haskell date libraries, to make sure they're ok.
Building Persona: Federated and Privacy Sensitive Identity for the Web
This talk and some previous conversation with Francois have convinced me that Persona (AKA Browserid) has a design that can succeed. I will be adding Persona login support to ikiwiki.
Beyond Alt Text: What Every Project Should Know About Accessibility
I missed the first half due to giving my talk, but the second half was full of rather a lot of excellent information, some of which I'd only guessed at before.
Git: Not Just for Source Code Anymore
Good overview of the new ways to use git. Also kept giving examples from my body of work, which is some nice ego stroking, thanks Josh. ;-)