linux.conf.au roundup

Got back from linux.conf.au on Saturday afternoon. Sore and tired. Here is a brief roundup of my conference.

Monday

Spent the day at the Haecksen mini-conference. Gave my talk on the GNOME Outreach Programme for Women (yes, I will upload either my notes, or link to the video when it appears). Favourite talks for the day were Noírín’s on open source disaster and emergency management software and Donna’s. [You can learn about and contribute to Donna’s campaign to Digitise the Dawn here.]

Went to the Geek Girl Dinner in the evening. There was a paper plane competition. My plane performed woefully poorly.

Tuesday

I didn’t actually make it to the conference on Tuesday, because I spent the entire morning in a brainstorming meeting, which didn’t finish until after lunch. I decided to use the rest of the day to visit a friend.

I would have liked to have heard about Publican, the publishing tool Redhat use for their documentation. I wonder if it could be adapted to publish the Telepathy book.

Wednesday

The keynote talked about the IPv4 address exhaustion. Very doom and gloom. I can’t help but feel in the immediate term this will mostly affect people in the developing world. Maybe the take-away point is buy your iPhone now, while it can still be allocated an IP address.

Learnt about Intel’s new GLSL compiler, multi-core scalability in ext4 (interesting take away points for multithreaded userspace programming too), and how technical documentation is written at Redhat. Also attended two X/graphics talks. These mostly seemed focused on history, not really a clear vision of what happens next.

The Professional Delegates Networking Session (at the Maritime Museum) was enjoyable. Giant woks for cooking noodles. Surprise Australia Day fireworks. I didn’t go on any of the boats.

Thursday

Keynote was on the history of sendmail. I have to admit, I don’t really know if the history of projects is that interesting for a keynote address. I’d rather know what the future was going to look like. Learned that the keynote speaker and I are going to appear in the same book.

Advanced C Coding was actually just a show off of CCAN and I didn’t actually learn any new coding tricks. I went to Dave Airlie’s talk, but due to tiredness (did I mention I was staying with a one-year-old?), I can’t tell you what it actually contained.

Made a last minute decision to go to the LBGT lunch, this turned out to be a planning disaster that involved a 20 minute, uphill walk in the sun. It ran over, cutting into the next sessions. Between this, existing tiredness and now exhaustion, ended up writing the rest of the afternoon off and going back to the flat to nap prior to the dinner.

The Penguin Dinner was quite enjoyable. The vegan option was really tasty (entrée, main, dessert). I want to try and recreate the entrée.

Friday

Friday’s keynote was the disappointing one I mentioned earlier. Take away point is that Facebook is evil because it keeps your data locked up and they know all about your social network. Not sure how using an open system to store your social network would somehow prevent people who run servers from mining information from it.

Wanted to see Carol Smith’s talk, but the room had packed out by the time we got there. Sarah Sharp’s talk on open source gardening was probably a highlight of the conference for me. Part of me wants to replicate her garden watering system, although I think first I might still try my low-tech solution. The part of Tridge’s talk on reverse engineering USB device drivers was quite interesting.

~

Flew home Saturday morning, so I didn’t see any of the open day.

Was amused to learn that next year’s conference is in Ballarat. I wonder how some people are going to feel about landing in Melbourne, then having to take a bus to Southern Cross train station and then a train to Ballarat (Metlink informs me the total trip takes 2-2.5h).

Overall I had an enjoyable week, but an exhausting one. I enjoyed the company of the people I was staying with. I met some new people, who were pretty cool. I talked about rollerderby and the queerness of different shoes. Was really impressed by the Brisbane busway system. Helped someone debug telepathy-gabble.

Thanks as always to Collabora (my employer) for letting me go :)

Disappointing linux.conf.au keynote

The linux.conf.au anti-harassment policy states:

Harassment includes:

  • sexual images in public spaces

Yet Friday morning’s keynote, Mark Pesce, progressively violated this policy, starting with comic sexual images and culminating with a soft-core, lesbian bondage photograph.

Sorry, a “PG-13” rating does not excuse this behaviour. Yes they were wearing lingerie, it’s still pornographic. And for those who are going to continue to insist it wasn’t: the porny presso bingo card (via Skud).

Update: the chief linux.conf.au organiser made an apology for this morning’s keynote during the closing ceremony.

Virgin Mobile internet sporadicness

Perhaps someone can help me out here.

In January I switched from Optus to Virgin Mobile on my mobile phone. Optus 3G on my phone tended to work quite reliably, but on Virgin it tends to get backed up or just drop my packets from time to time. Tracerouting (via mtr) seems to suggest it’s a problem with Optus’ IP network1, where it will begin to drop packets between two routers on that network.

Googling comes up with other people complaining about this on Whirlpool, but nothing that looks like a solution. Has anyone else run into this? If so, how did you resolve it?

[1] Even though Virgin Mobile is carried on Optus’ phone network, I was surprised to see IP addresses from Optus’ IP network.