Charles Engelke's Blog

July 5, 2003

Going to OSCON 2003

Filed under: OSCON 2003 — Charles Engelke @ 9:21 pm

I’m on my way to Portland for the
O’Reilly Open Source Convention,
listening to two little girls right behind me arguing over whether one of
them is cheating on a card game. We’re on the ground in DFW, where my
“direct” flight from Atlanta to Portland has a stop. Always read the
fine print, folks.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s convention. The schedule seems
to be really strong this year, after what seemed a bit weak last year. Or maybe
it’s just me, and I’m in a more open mood now. (I don’t really think that’s it; I
just feel sleepy. I never sleep well the night before a long trip like this.)

Five of my colleagues are attending this year, and I’ve invited them to
blog here as guests. I’m not insisting on it, so we’ll see if they’re interested
or not.

Incidentally, this marks the first OSCON (or Perl Conference) where
Info Tech is sending fewer
people than the previous year. For a while we were following almost a geometric
expansion: I came alone in 1997, and with one colleague in 1998. We had
four people in 1999, and around eight in 2000. The growth slowed a bit
after that, but we had around a dozen in 2001 and about sixteen last year.
So why do we have only six this year? You might expect it to be the economy,
but it’s not; we are still growing (though we’re a bit worried about the
big economic picture). I think it’s just a combination of little issues
and timing. The conference is earlier than ever this year, and the second calendar
quarter of each year is always our busiest due to annual releases we have
each June, so we just didn’t get ready for the conference in time. We also
have a lot of really tired developers who didn’t feel like traveling so
soon after the releases (and often did feel like taking vacation
then). While we were preparing the external releases we
were also rolling out some major new internal systems and procedures, also
keeping us from paying a lot of attention to upcoming conferences. I think
that the detailed agenda for the conference
came out later than usual, too, compressing our decision time.

My wife, Laurie White is going, too. She’s an
associate professor of computer science at Mercer
instead of in the private sector, so she
has a different perspective from us. O’Reilly sent her an invitation
to a BOF regarding a new academic initiative they are starting. The teaser information
they’ve made available looks extremely promising.

Well, we are going to be taking off again soon. More postings as the
conference progresses.


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