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Conference Proper, Days Two and Three

After the Penguin Dinner, I awoke on Thursday feeling a bit tired, but generally good. Unfortunately, the keynote wasn’t really the sort of material that was likely to energise me further, so I ended up making a discreet exit after about 20 minutes and taking up residence outside the multi-room while I debated having a second coffee.

Happily, my day picked up after that, with Ensign Paul Fenwick delivering a brilliant two-part talk on Klingon programming and Perl 5.10. Even as a recovering Perl coder, I can see just how much better things like autodie would make programming in Perl.

He also introduced what I believe is the linux.conf.au motto — at least, that’s how I titled it on the day. Little did I know…

Beyond that, there wasn’t an awful lot to attract me. I went to Donna’s Inkscape tutorial, which was interesting in a chaotic sort of way, but I think the number of people was a little overwhelming for that sort of tutorial, and I didn’t feel as though I learned quite as much as I wanted to. I’m sure it was valuable for a lot of people, though — I was probably just coming in with a somewhat different background to many of the people who attended.

Thursday evening we had the Unprofessional Delegates Networking Session, as organised by Chris and the TUCS1 team. After a shaky start, we got a rather good little production line going.

Having consumed a decent amount of beer at the UpDNS and then back at Bede’s apartment, I went and got an insufficient amount of sleep. Little did I know that I was about to discover that the aforementioned motto was wrong: it was possible to be given beer and die.

Friday morning I woke up feeling awful, and it just got worse as the morning went on. I don’t think it was just the beer (I didn’t drink that much), but a combination of that and the exhaustion that had probably been coming for a few days that laid me low. I basically struggled through the keynote (which was rather good, and clearly the best of the week in my book) and the first session, but realised that I was in real danger of just passing out where I was and staggered back up the hill to have a nap.

After lunch, things were much better. While I missed Bdale’s debearding, I figured there’d be eleventy billion photos up on Flickr by the time I got back down the hill anyway, and was pleased to be right on that front. Matthew Garrett raised my mood further with a typically entertaining rant talk about power management and the usability concerns that arise from it, Shatter was presented by Adam Jackson and drew some interesting feedback from the audience (well, mostly Linus), and Kevin Pulo showed off some ways to use LD_PRELOAD that are extremely cool, particularly for debugging.

The closing was, as usual, about twice as long as scheduled, and plenty random. The lightning talks ran the gamut, Wellington was shockingly2 announced as the host of LCA 2010, and we apparently made the news but Linus didn’t.

Finally, the party. In years past when it’s been held, the party has been an all-included event earlier in the week. This year, finger food3 was free, but both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were user pays (and not just in the sense of my Friday morning experience). Opinions as to whether this was a reflection of the state of the world economy or just a way of trying to avoid some of the worst alcohol-fuelled excesses of the past was split pretty evenly down the middle. Either way, I was resolved to not drinking last night at the party, and stuck to that, although I did have a sneaky beer after returning to the apartment of Adelaidians for some further Linux-based fun.

So, that’s LCA for another year. I heard it described earlier in the week (only semi-seriously, it has to be said) as a second Christmas for geeks, and I think there’s a grain of truth in that — as ever, I had a great time. Next week it’s back to Perth to prepare for India and Sri Lanka, about which I’ll probably pop up a blog post in the next few days ($DEITY knows, this one’s long enough already).

And finally: hey, I avoided hospital! Hooray!

  1. That link will work if they ever find out where their Web server is physically located to find it.
  2. OK, it was hard to be shocked when I’d known well before the event, but congratulations to the Wellington folks anyway. I had the pleasure of sitting with the Ruthvens at the Penguin Dinner, and they’re a thoroughly lovely family who I’m sure are going to do a great job running the conference. Plus, I just can’t wait to go back to New Zealand.
  3. I think I’ve ranted about this before, but I’ll do so again: if you’re going to have an event with lots of alcohol being drunk — especially one starting pretty much straight after the day’s conference programme — not serving a proper meal seems a bit irresponsible to me. There was plenty of finger food, which helped a lot, but I was still hungry enough for pizza afterwards, and I just wonder how that dovetails in with the idea of responsible service. At least the UpDNS had plenty of barbecued goodness.

One Response to “Conference Proper, Days Two and Three”

  1. Chris Neugebauer Says:


    Thanks for your help with the UpDNS — I don’t think it’d have gone nearly as smoothly if you weren’t there :) And I agree — there’s a lot to be said for offering cheap barbecued food at conference pissups — if only more people would notice our way of thinking.

    Oh, and thankfully, we found our server, in an entirely different room to the one we thought it was in, with a collapsed hard drive. We’re busily installing our new machine as we speak (we hope)…


    (See you in Willingten)