Bits of OSCON

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Roger Weeks

Roger Weeks
Aug. 06, 2005 02:40 PM

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This year's OSCON was packed with information, people and quite a bit of good times. As a result, I spent very little time looking at my own computer other than to take notes and chat on IRC. So I'm just going to take bits out of my notes and lump them all here.

Great quotes:

"Free Software has no off-switch!" -Nat

"If i was going to name an evil programming language, I wouldn't name it after a snake." -Larry Wall

"All good Americans know that good plans come in 4 year versions, not 5" -Larry Wall

"Someone who wants to run Windows on servers should first be made to show what they know about servers that Google, Yahoo and Amazon don't know." -Paul Graham

"Meetings are wonderfully relaxing, because they count as work. Just like programming, but much easier!" -Paul Graham

"Being a professional Lara Croft impersonator in Russia, you have access to better armaments." -Damian Conway

"Pretty graphs are like 'manager porn'. It makes them so hot!" -Anthony Baxter

"How do you own a small business? Start with a big business!" -Randal Schwartz

Interesting programs/technologies/web pages to check out:

CodeZoo now has resuable components for Ruby.

Shtoom is a open-source VoIP client written in Python, along with Doug, a SIP server application framework.

Bacula looks like something we could really replace our expensive and complicated backup software with.

Treemaker is a program to take basic drawings and turn them into foldable one-page printouts to make origami.

Identity 2.0 is Dick Hardt's blog on identity. Dick is the CEO of Sxip, and gave an amazing and funny keynote on identity.

Threatnet is something I hadn't heard of until Randal Schwartz' talk on spam.

BSD is not something I've spent much time with unless you count Mac OS X, however I am seriously rethinking that, especially for security reasons. Jason Dixon gave a really cool presentation on failover firewalls using OpenBSD and CARP, the Common Address Redundancy Protocol. His slides aren't available yet, but he has an article here in Sys Admin Magazine.

Jeff Waugh showed off just way too many cool new things coming in GNOME:

Possibly the coolest thing by far at the conference was HowToons, one-page PDF cartoons aimed at 5-15 year olds showing them how to build useful things, toys and even practical jokes (DIY whoopie cushion anyone?)

Much has been said about the new location this year for OSCON at the Oregon Convention Center. While I don't think it's the "new COMDEX" I did like the grown-up feeling the conference gave off this year.

It is true, though, that some of the smaller comfy community feel of the past years was not there. I think something that would go a long way towards fixing that would be to have a large social area where people can gather to talk, eat, sit, type, etc. Somewhere with lots of couches, chairs, tables, close to refreshments. There was a very tiny version of this by the Gibson guitar booth on the exhibition floor - several couches, some tables and chairs, and snacks - all in the same area.

Speaking of Gibson, I'm extremely upset that I didn't win a guitar... but kudos to Nat for getting them to exhibit and give away guitars! The Gibson booth was very nice, about 10 guitars you could sit down and play with effects into headphones (so no one else has to hear you attempt "Stairway To Heaven). I spent a good bit of time there refreshing my bad chording skills.

The Exhibit Hall was big this year! Lots of vendors, large and small and a big row of non-profits. Lots of schwag this year too! T-shirts, primarily, but other cool bag magnets like USB hubs, keychain drives, pocketknives, etc.

Lots of parties and receptions this year. I made it to five of them - three in a row on Thursday evening - which was probably a mistake. Either that or i should have had less beer. But definitely thanks go out to Stonehenge for throwing yet another cool party, this time at an arcade with free classic videogames and pinball machines. Also good receptions from Apple and MySQL, and it wouldn't be OSCON without Nat's party. I just wish he would provide free tomato juice the next morning...

Roger Weeks has over a decade of experience in systems and network administration. He's been building Linux systems at home and in the enterprise since 1998, and recommends that you check out if you're interested in community wireless. Roger is a coauthor of Linux Unwired and Wireless Hacks, 2nd Edition.