8 July 2003

GUADEC 2003

I said I was going to write a bit about GUADEC, but didn’t get
round to it til now.

Saturday 14th

Arrived in Dublin in the morning after about a day spent in
airports and on planes. Took the AirLink bus from the airport into
the city centre, and walked from there to Trinity College, Dublin. I ran into a
number of hackers at the gate who pointed out where the accommodation
office was. Dropped my pack off and took a walk around the area close
to the college.

I went out to take a look round and get some lunch. Was surprised
how expensive everything seemed. Even though the exchange rate was
about AU$1.80 to each Euro, the prices looked like the exchange rate
should have been closer to 1:1 :(.

Afterwards, I explored TCD a bit more, and found out where the
conference was going to be held. Made my way down to the network room
and met jdahlin (at first, I didn’t realise who he
was).

Went to dinner with a bunch of hackers at a Japanese restaurant.
Had a very large bowl of chili/chicken noodle soup. We then moved on
to Messrs Maquires for some drinks.

Sunday 15th

On the Sunday, I went to the Gnome Foundation Board meeting.
This was the first time that we had had a face to face meeting of just
the board (last year we had a meeting with the advisory board, but
that was it). Was a very productive meeting.

Monday 16th

The start of the actual conference. Saw a number of great talks
including Havoc’s freedesktop talk and Johan’s PyGTK talk. I gave my
first talk in the afternoon: EggToolbar
and EggMenu
. It had a fair turnout and was pretty successful.
After the talk was finished, I had a conversation with Hans Mueller
who was looking at some similar issues with menu handling and merging
in Java.

Had dinner with the AbiWord hackers.

Tuesday 17th

The second day had a lot of great talks. I got to Alan Kay’s
keynote a little late, but what I saw was very interesting. He made a
lot of good points (although I don’t agree with of all of them). I
then went to Anders’ D-Bus talk.

After the break, I gave my PyORBit
talk
. Less people attended this one than the previous one, but
there was still a fair number. I gave a few demonstrations of
remotely controlling Nautilus through its CORBA interfaces, and
getting notifications on metadata changes. Bill Haneman was at the
talk, and asked how it worked with the accessibility framework (as
expected). I hadn’t actually tested it but I am fairly confident that
PyORBit would be usable to script the AT-SPI interfaces. It would be
great to see Gnome become more scriptable in the future. Whether
CORBA is used for this purpose or not remains to be seen.

Went to the Ximian party in the evening. Got to catch up with some
more friends I hadn’t seen since last year. The pub was fairly
crowded in the area between the door and the bar, but there was a bit
more space near the edges.

I decided to leave a bit after midnight, since I was getting a bit
tired. When I got to my room, I found that the key card didn’t work.
After trying three other key cards in the lock (including the master
key card), they decided that the lock itself was broken and got the
locksmith in. Ended up getting to sleep around 2am. In the morning
they came round to replace the lock completely.

Wednesday 18th

The third day of the conference was the Linux@Work day. This day
had a wider/different attendance and wasn’t as focused on Gnome as the
previous days were. There were some interesting talks, including Alan
Cox’s keynote. The day finished with a wrap-up for the conference.

Quite possibly the best GUADEC ever.

Thursday 19th

The day after the conference, we had the Gnome Foundation Advisory
Board meeting. Again, this was very useful although I can’t give many
details about it. It was a great opportunity for the companies on the
advisory board to get some insight into Gnome’s direction, and to give
us feedback on what they were doing.

Afterwards, we met up and went to a Mongolian restaurant (one of the
ones where you fill a bowl with meat and vegetables, and then they
cook it for you on the spot).

Friday 20th

As well as organising a great conference, Glynn had also organised
a hike afterwards which I went on. The group consisted of me, Glynn,
George, Christian, Kjartan, Richard, Mickael, Carina, Richard, Alex
and his girlfriend. Mickael has since put some of his photos up on his
website
.

Everyone met up at Glynn’s flat, and then went to catch the bus to
Glendalough (which is south of Dublin). There are a few Glendaloughs
around Australia, so it was interesting to find out what the name
meant (Glendalough == Gleann da Loch == valley of the lake).

The bus stopped at the tourist centre, and we walked from there to
the one of the valleys. We then left the packs and walked up to the
top of the valley and walked along the ridge back to the town where we
got some food for dinner. We then made our way back to the packs to
set up for the night.

Saturday 21st

The next night we decided to camp closer to the town because of
the midgies. Even with lots of insect repellent on, they were still
annoying (they would get in your nose, throat, etc).

During the day, we hiked up a number of the mountains. The scenery
was great. At around 2:30pm, half the group decided to go up the last
mountain, and half went back to the pub. I decided to keep going,
which may or may not have been a good idea :) The ground
leading up to the base of the mountain was fairly swampy, so I was a
bit tired by the time we started climbing it (I am definitely not as
fit as I used to be). I was happy that I did climb it, as the view
from the top was great. We then went down to the pub to meet the
others. Had a very nice burger and lots of Guinness.

Unfortunately, there were just as many midgies at the new place we
were camping.

Sunday 22nd

We left Glendalough in the morning and arrived back in Dublin round
mid day. Later on that day, I had to get on the plane for another
long long flight …

Tuesday 24th (1:00 am)

When passing through Singapore this time, they told me I would need
to contact baggage services in Perth, but couldn’t tell me why. When
I got through immigration in Perth, I went to the baggage desk, and
they said that my pack didn’t get transferred in London. They said it
was on the next plane, and would be delivered that evening. This did
make it easier to get through customs though, so it wasn’t all bad
:).

It actually took another two days for my pack to make it home,
getting lost again in Singapore, or possibly Sydney (they weren’t
quite sure when I called). grrr.

Mailman/SpamAssassin

The article I wrote up on integrating SpamAssassin with Mailman 2.1
got reprinted in LinMagAU,
which was pretty cool. This edition also contains an interview with
Jeff. They are starting to pick up a bit of momentum, and may have a
print edition soon.

Mail Viruses

Like a lot of people, many many copies of the Sobig.E worm have
been sent to my account. I quickly configured the mail server to
start blocking the messages. However, I continue to receive many
delivery failure emails from other mail servers when they reject
messages which have my email address forged in the From: header.

Since the anti-virus software companies know that some viruses forge
sender addresses, it seems really stupid that they still send
rejection messages to the sender for those viruses. It would save a
lot of peoples’ time if they knew to discard rather than reject
certain viruses …