Charles Engelke's Blog

July 23, 2008

OSCON Begins

Filed under: OSCON 2008 — Charles Engelke @ 4:49 pm
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The tutorial days are over, and the conference is beginning.  Actually, it began last night with some open source community awards and talks by Mark Shuttleworth, Robert (r0ml) Lefkowitz, and Damian Conway.  I don’t know why they do that at night (until 10:00 PM, or effectively 1:00 AM for us east coast folks) but they were really good.

This morning began with the typical OSCON sponsor keynotes.  These can be good but generally haven’t been at other OSCONs, and I feel their existence is actually disrespectful to paying attendees.  Our attention is not a commodity to be delivered to sponsors.  At RailsConf this year I saw how the conference got the sponsors and attendees together to benefit both sides, and was impressed.  OSCON doesn’t have a good history of doing that, even though the same company manages both conferences.  I wasn’t feeling well, so I slept in a bit and skipped those sponsored keynotes.  My colleagues tell me that I didn’t miss anything.

The first actual session didn’t start until 10:45 AM, and I’m at it now.  I’m starting with a panel discussion on open education.  The participants are extremely diverse, very knowledgeable, and interesting speakers.  The topic doesn’t directly relate to my own work, but it’s important.  The vast majority of people in the world are extremely poor.  They’re just as smart and capable as those of us in the wealthy countries, but don’t have the resources we have that let us prosper.  Knowledge is one of those resources they need, and the foundation of many other needed things.  Computers and the Internet can have a great impact on that, but only if the information itself is available and accessible.  The panel participants are working on making that happen.

My second session (conveniently in the same room) is on Metaprogramming in Ruby.  Now this is extremely germane to my work, so I hope it’s a great talk.  It’s starting well, and deserves my full attention.

And it kept going well and getting better.  Brian Sam-Bodden of Integrallis is a great speaker.  I loved the way he showed live demos – by recording them and including the recordings (at a nice, reasonable speed) in his slides, instead of jumping from window to window.  He’ll be posting his slides on his company’s website soon (probably on this page), and I recommend you go find them.


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