Back from OLS
Just came back from OLS. Ottawa is a beautiful city indeed, though I have not seen much of it. I found many of the lectures hard to understand, and in general I might say the lectures were divided to really good ones and really bad ones.
Mat Porter gave a very good overview of porting, though it was highly technical and I got lost on the way. I wish I could understand it fully- this is how a porting lecture should look like.
Paul Mackerras's lecture had a very smooth bottom line: optimizing based on reading the code only (without profiling) may end up gaining nothing in performance.
Patricia Gaughen was insipring: she made me want to get there and try to solve those problems: for example, make it possible to migrate pages between NUMA nodes, at first withought trying to optimize it. Though at the BOFS somebody said that it is posible to migrate pages, only it turned out inefficient: in that case, that is a very tingelling research problem, of when to migrate pages.
Rik Van Riel of course gave a hit lecture, called Towards an O(1) VM. Although I lost him in the middle (as he said himself, seeing the amount of people in his lecture, he could not expect everyone to know his way in the VM: there are not that many people who fully understand it!), I enjoyed his talk very much.
Meeting people I heard of on lkml, people I heard of from mulix, and hackers from all around the world was an interesting experiance, though not always easy. The standard view of the lounge was of people with their nose up their computer (wireless internet was available freely, and an email garden was established). Making eye contact is a mighty hard job, when people never look at you. The gpg signing was a good ice breaker, but unfortunately I was late with submitting my finger print.
Packing to go to OLS. At least mulix knows who the people around are. I can count two people who have heard my name at all, and two people I expect to recognize. Muli claims that OLS's social side is much like haifux, but when I think of how long it took me to feel comfortable in haifux, it does not cheer me up at all.
I do not feel comfortable about how deep will my understanding go in the talks themselves. Muli has offered that I read about the Linux kernel on the way. I believe it is a bit too late to become a kernel hacker in a day...
On the other hand, the last time I went to a conference I knew almost nothing when I came, but I knew a lot more when I left, even if I did not understand thing right at the time.
I intend to go to OLS. Registered hastily, in the last minute. Out of three conferences I tried to go to, I failed to arrive two. (beurocracy can be very strong). I hope this time will be different, though.
Miming version, not drawing.
I have been trying to gather a group for a pictionary game for about a year now, and finally it happened. We had a lovely evening of people who not necessarily knew each other to begin with, and yet acted and mimed and enjoyed themselves.
And of course, I placed on the tables twice as much food as was needed, I had twice that amount in unopened bottles (where did that bottle opener go?), and I found an equal amount of serving plates (which I had worked hard to prepare) in the fridge, after the guests left. Luckily, I listened to mulix in time, otherwise those vegetables which I left untouched would have been chopped as well.
We tried to have an evening of not-geek jokes, but it seems that most of uswere having troubles in that direction. It is kind of like playing "yes no black white" (the person who says either of these words first loses), where the forbidden words include Linux and computers. We still gave Win98 support at midnight, and still when I asked Muli for some CDs to play, he came with Gentoo-Knoppix. Personally, I prefer listening to Enya.
The portable programming lecture went pretty fine, compared to what I feared. Yes, I did lose my thread of thought several times, and got mixed up with my tongue (saying "backslash backslash" in front of other people while being recorded on video is a nightmare).
About 20 people came, most of which I knew. No masses of people from Tel- Aviv whom I have never seen, and on the other hand- not a lecture for 5 people with no interest whatsoever. Rather surprising, since I did not think people cared about portability at all. After all, most people do not have many machines to run on.
OK, I crossed the line, now I start thinking about the next lecture.
Maud, my cat, had an operation today. She is the poorest cat I have ever seen, dragging herself around, wearing an Elizabeth collar. She has a piece of plastic sticking out of her shaved skin, to allow for the fluid to pour from her. She has not eatten for a week, and she has lost about 1 Kg of her weight.
Tomorrow I am going to give my first real haifux lecture, about Portable Programming. I have asked people to comment on the slides, and learned a lot from those comments. Most people responded privately, both correcting and enlighting me. I wonder what makes people respond on or off the mailing list.
I have been getting angry at those gestures for years, but it was not very clear to me why. After all, if a guy opens the door for you, it is because he respects you, is it not? And why should I not want to be approached as a female (using words like she, her)? After all, I am not ashamed of being one. On the other hand, when I get a letter, written for males only, I also get upset: do they think that only men matter? Hey, I am female, approach me as well! Write roadsigns in plural, not in male! So, all in all, it is rather confusing.
Douglas R. Hofstadter presented me with a very good reason to my mixup: the problem lies within the language itself, which has different words according to gender.
A new Hebrew story is online, called Laser. It involves a nice pun, which I dreamt about. Actually, it was a nightmare when I dreamt it, but it got better writing it.
The installfest HOWTO has already caused some rivalries, before it got to doing any good. I hope this status of things changes.
Trying to edit the future linux.org.il site, I also learned about gvim's capabilities in the Hebrew department, though I am still UTF8 challenged. nyh's great three lines are so so comfortable when working bilingulal:
map <F12> :set invrl invhk<CR> map! <F12> <C-O>:set invrl invhk<CR> cmap <F12> <C-_>
The installfest HOWTO is designed as a "shopping list " for contemporary Israeli installfest arrangers.
It seems like the available HOWTOs relate to times when the object of the installfest was to allow Linux lovers near a server from which they can download the OS: the problem was not marketing or the problems while installing, but actually getting it, or getting the new beta version.
The fact that it is Israeli is expressed by the Israeli links to companies who tend to sponsor such events, or to relevant Israeli forums mailinglists, but other thatn that it is rather location-less.
New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.
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