YAPC Day 1

by Simon Cozens

I arrived in Saint Louis on Saturday, giving me a few days to acclimatize to the 90 degree heat. (We don't get temperatures like that in the UK - ever.) I also got a chance to check out the town and the conference venue, and of course, to finish off writing my talks for the year...
In the meantime, of course, there was plenty of time to meet up with old friends and talk geek for a while.

The conference began this morning with an introduction from Kevin Lenzo - Kevin thanked the conference sponsors and acknowledged the amazing hard work of Sarah Burcham, Ben Hockenhull and many others who helped put the conference together.

Larry then took over, and in his unique style, took us on a tour of the illustrations to The Lord Of The Rings from an open source "hero"'s point of view.

Larry explained that while many people thought of him as a hero, the work of an open source hero isn't really that heroic. He also talked about some of his personal heros, including Mahler, Tolkein and Jesus, and how each of them recognised heroism as sacrifice, and also how they made others into heroes.

Next he showed us the various styles of people in the Lord of the Rings - the elves as ivory-tower aesthetes, and the dwarves as hard-working pragmatists, for instance, and how these related to roles in the open source world.

Dan Sugalski took us on two half-hour tours of Parrot - first, "The Parrot Flies" showed us what Parrot is and what it can do, and then more details of how the system operates and performs. I then talked a little about the social and political aspects of Parrot, and what I'd learnt from being the maintainer.

After that, we had a lunch supplied by the conference sponsors, (Thanks guys!) and it was time for my 3-hour tutorial - which unexpectedly turned into a two-hander thanks to some much needed support from Gnat. After we finished, I managed to sneak into Damian's "Programming Perl 6", just in time to watch him demonstrate SelfGOL in Perl 6. Aieee, the tentacles, etc.

By then, the formal part of the conference was done for the day, and it was time for the social part to kick in - of course, we're hackers, and I'm writing this at the back of a Template Toolkit BOF while helping reorganise the Perl bug tracking system. But maybe the social part will kick in later...