Final Days before LCA2010

FOSS, LCA2010, NewZealand, OpenSolaris 2 Comments

Over the last 9 months, Jayne and I have been involved in helping to organize here in Wellington, New Zealand. For those who aren’t familiar with the conference, it is by far one of the best free and open source conferences in the southern hemisphere and attracts an absolutely awesome line up of speakers and since registrations began in October we’ve now reached close to 600 delegates. If you happen to be in New Zealand I’d strongly urge you to register and join us for what we be a great week!

After organizing GUADEC in Dublin back in 2003, I swore to myself I’d never be involved in another conference. GUADEC was a pretty stressful experience, though incredibly rewarding. As it turns out, LCA2010 is pretty similar. Fortunately this time, we have a brilliant team behind us led by the excellent Andrew and Susanne and things are coming together really well. We’re all looking forward to the conference next week, and we hope all the delegates will enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed planning it.

So, which sessions am I looking forward not to see?

From a work point of view, like most other conferences, it’s a great chance to see what the Linux community is up to, including challenges they face and features they’re developing. There’s even some OpenSolaris related content scattered across the conference – ZFS in Data Storage and Retrieval miniconf, pkgbuild and Source Juicer in the Distro miniconf, and an OpenSolaris booth at Open Day. It will be great to see how far we’ve come with the project, and get a feeling of general awareness that OpenSolaris really has changed significantly in the last couple of years.

Not to late to GO REGISTER!

Software Freedom Day :: Wellington, Sept 20th

FOSS, NewZealand 4 Comments

One of the fun events I’m involved in is Software Freedom Day Wellington, as part of the wider SFD effort. We’re planning a really fun day, with a whole bunch of things going on, as Brett’s excellent poster suggests –

At a barcamp attendees govern the agenda. We provide rooms and a flipchart and a schedule of times – the attendees decide on the discussions to be held around a variety of topics (from Education to Government, Communities to Business) that interest them at the start of the day. You can check the list of attendees on the registration page to see who else is attending with similar interests to you.
Tech Talks
This year there will be a separate room for tech talks. Rather than a discussion-based format like the barcamp sessions, the talks give attendees the opportunity to present a technical presentation about free and open source software. The tech talk schedule will be decided on the day, with each session broken into shorter timeslots, if needed.
A hackfest will be organised by SuperHappyDevHouse, One Laptop Per Child, and DigitalNZ – a chance to put the DigitalNZ APIs into action! Come hang out all day on our sofas, drink large amounts of coffee and work on your favourite piece of free and open source software. You can also learn about the work of the amazing team from One Laptop Per Child who will be showcasing their machines, and participate by helping to test them.
The installfest is being organised by WellyLUG, the Wellington Linux User Group, for those wishing to install free and open source software on their laptops, or home computers. Bring your own machines/laptops along and get advice and support from a team of experts, while you install software. Copies of some popular free and open source software will be available to take away as well.
Wellington has a growing community of makers who share a lot of the same principles as FOSS, using open source technology to create craft, sharing tools and skills when working on solutions to technical projects. We will have a room set aside for makers, so come along and showcase your creations, whether they are gadgets or open source crafts, or work on something you’ve been dreaming up for months.
Kids Programme
A kids programme for primary school aged children will embrace all that’s going on at Software Freedom Day, giving them the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities – taking the first steps into programming at the installfest, testing OLPC laptops at the hackfest, a barcamp brainstorming session about where they think the future of computing is going, and more! Games, prizes and a treasure hunt included.
As part of the kids programme Nat Torkington will be running an hour long ‘Introduction to programming’ session for parents and kids as part of the installfest. Parents – it would be great if you can prepare for the session by downloading scratch from onto your laptops/machines before you come along.
Students Programme
Students (secondary and tertiary) are encouraged to attend Software Freedom Day. Showcase technology you are interested in by registering to do a techtalk and bring your projects along to the makerspace. Hear from tech heros who will be there to address students about working in the industry and learn about how understanding open source solutions can enhance your job prospects. Bring along your laptop and get experts to help you to install open source software and operating systems on your laptop at the installfest, and learn about the work of One Laptop per Child and DigitalNZ how you could contribute to their projects at the hackfest.

So if you’re coming along, make sure you register for the event – we’ll have free wifi, free coffee and a bunch of great prizes to give away! Thanks heaps to our ever growing list of sponsors.

OpenSolaris on FLOSS Weekly

FOSS, OpenSolaris 3 Comments

I had the privilege to be a guest on FLOSS Weekly with Leo Laporte and Jono Bacon this week, thanks guys! Of course Aaron and David had done awesome groundwork with an interview on ZFS a few weeks earlier. It was a fun hour, and I enjoyed it though can think of many thing I’d answer differently now! Looking forward to catching up with Jono and others at the Community Leadership Summit next month in San Jose, the weekend before OSCON.

And yes, OpenSolaris is officially ‘not bollocks’. Check it out!

7 Things You May (or May Not) Know About Me

Brewing, Climbing, Family, FOSS, Friends, General, GNOME, Indiana, Ireland, NewZealand, OpenSolaris, Sun 2 Comments

Wow, it’s grown from 5 to 7, but since I’ve been tagged many moons ago by Sara and now by Patrick. Where should I start?

  1. I am indeed Tim’s little brother. You wouldn’t believe how many years I got through Sun without people figuring that one out. When I joined, I had another brother in Sun, Duncan. That made 3 of us. The 3 amigos (though fortunately we never had a dance routine). I shared a bedroom for many years with Tim, and played my fair share of Top Trumps, Action Man, StarWars and Squares (and almost getting run over on my way back from the supermarket carpark across the road).
  2. I studied at Trinity College Dublin and loved my college years. I found out relatively quickly that while maths in secondary school was quite enjoyable, taking it to the next level felt like a massive step. I got through my course with a first, but I don’t think I developed a strong aptitude for what I was studying (memory monkey = results). However, I did find a love of Unix somewhere along the way. Duncan let me use his maths account to dial up to the internet, and I soon learned a love of MH, taught as many freshman classes as I could with their computing labs and generally found the computing side of my maths course a whole lot easier and enjoyable.
  3. At secondary school I learned to climb through Mr.Blackmore and Mr.Cryan. We used to head out to Dalkey on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. It was awesome fun, and I’ve kept that going right through college and was captain of the Climbing Club for a year, along with designing their website (though it’s a bit of a mess now). You can read a bunch of the old trip reports here for much hilarity.
  4. My current passion is brewing. Tim had a strong part to play in this one having started it first in the family. I’m loving it. I have a monthly subscription to BYO, a growing collection of brewing books (including John Palmer’s “How to Brew“, and Charlie Papazian’s “Joy of Homebrewing“) and starting to put some all grain beer together. I’ve taken recently to ordering from the awesome guys at, which conveniently means I can collect my grain just around the corner. I’m still learning the ropes, but this is definitely a career I’d change to.
  5. I’m getting married in 2 months time to Jayne. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve lived in NZ since 2003, have residency and a screwed up accent (though apparently I now have a US twang on the phone).
  6. I was rather fortunate to fall into free software, having picked up a job in the desktop group at Sun, Ireland (yay, nepotism!). Turns out they were looking at free desktop alternatives and chose GNOME. Always shared my code at college, so working on open source was a pretty easy step, and enjoyed spending my time on the IRC channels getting to know people, and them getting to know me (that’s Jeff’s influence, of which I am entirely indebted). I’m not so active in GNOME anymore, but I still lurk in the shadows observing and proud of where the project has come and my participation in it.
  7. Sara tried to hire me over to be a product manager of a new (at that time heavily secret) distribution, OpenSolaris. It took a weekend of her convincing me that I should do it and her persistence is something I’m entirely grateful for as I’ve enjoyed every minute (and worked with some really great people), despite the occasional rough times.

That’s it. And here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

So, I hereby nominate: @comay, @epicbeer, @maupuia, @charliebird, @bogan, @basicbrewing and @marekkuziel as a rather eclectic bunch.

Successful Software Freedom Day in Wellington

FOSS, NewZealand 1 Comment

Although I missed most of the lead up, the Unlimited Potential team (with awesome help from Brenda, Jethro, Chris, Don and others) rocked on hosting the most excellent Software Freedom Day. There was a pretty amazing turnout, as Brenda’s photos show and I think just about everyone who attended enjoyed the conversation that resulted.

The highlights for me were seeing the OpenSolaris Student Packs for the first time that I’ve been involved in over the last couple of months, a zsh(1) demo, and an excellent discussion about on NZOSS. I’ve been wanting to get more involved in NZOSS for a while, and keen to learn where I can contribute (outside a lot of the policy work they’ve already been doing). The Wellington Convention Center was a pretty great place to host the event (if a little expensive given that this sort of event boosts the visibility of the Wellington IT scene), and the Havana coffee was wonderful. Was good to catch up with Nat and Andrew over a rather spicy curry afterwards.

Thanks to all the sponsors, helpers and, in particular, my other half for making it such a rocking event!

Software Freedom Day 08 – Wellington needs sponsors!

Conference, FOSS, NewZealand Comments Off on Software Freedom Day 08 – Wellington needs sponsors!

As time draws closer to Software Freedom Day, there’s still plenty of opportunity to register for the event.

More importantly, this event couldn’t be run without the support of sponsors. Unlimited Potential, CWA New Media, NZOSS, SuperHappyDevHouse, WellyLug, Catalyst IT and Sun have all kindly stepped forward to help in some way, but unfortunately we still need some more financial support to help run this event and provide food to our hungry barcampers and hackers! If you know of someone who would be interested, please send them my way to (glynn . foster @ sun . com).

Software Freedom Day

FOSS, GNOME, NewZealand, OpenSolaris, Sun 1 Comment

The Wellingtonites, led by my very own Jayne, launched their initiative for Software Freedom Day. The event will, predictably, held on Saturday 20th September at the Convention Centre. We’re planning on having a hackfest organized by SuperHappyDevHouse (and br3nda), an installfest organized by WellyLug, and best of all, an open source BarCamp.

Really looking forward to this, and hoping a large crowd get out and register for this event. It’ll be a lot of fun. I’ll be doing a quick session on OpenSolaris, DTrace, and anything else I’m asked to do (perhaps an impromtu GNOME session?).

Hoping this is going to charge up the other teams around NZ into organizing events!