Before the keynote, the organizers indicated that last year they had 800 attendees preregistered, and 500 walk-ins. This year they had 1200 registered, and it being first thing Saturday morning, no feel yet for the number of walk-ins. So looks like from an attendance standpoint, a successful conference.
The morning keynote was delivered by Stormy Peters, executive director of the GNOME foundation. Her main story was that, while we are all sensitive to software freedom, the rise in web services has made us somewhat less sensitive to the risks to our data. Her presentation was excellent, and well received. Her point about us not always recognizing the freedoms we give up when we hand our data over to a web service is one that certainly deserves a wider audience.
One interesting takeaway from Stormy's presentation is that there are a number of places where the GNOME Foundation sees a need for free web services, and they are taking it on themselves to provide some of those. They need some experience to determine whether this will be affordable.
For the next time slot I took some time to look through the booths, although I probably did not spend as much time talking to people as I should have. The expo area was well attended, and it did surprise me to see many folks just there for the expo when there were so many good presentations going on.
The next session I attended was Perl and Arduino, and that was a little disappointing. The presentation was actually excellent, but it focused more on the Arduino and less on Perl, and my interest was the reverse. It did, however, make me want to see Catherine Devlin's talk on automation later, but she was up against Jim Campbell, and I felt like I needed to see Jim's talk.
The next talk on virtualization really was disappointing. I got the impression the presenter had no clue, and he certainly made it sound more complicated than it actually is, or at least more complicated than it is on Fedora. Perhaps if you are using VirtualBox it really is spooky, I just don't know. But it was disappointing. Maybe more so because in listing systems that support virtualization he failed to mention Fedora, and I am of the impression we are out in front on that technology.
Lunch was kind of interesting, too. There was a Greek place in the food court, and they had pastitio on the menu, one of my favorites. There was quite a line, all people ordering gyros and fries. Unfortunately, they didn't have the pastitio, so instead I ordered spinakopita and a couple of dolmates. Whether it was because she liked me breaking up the constant stream of gyros or because she didn't have the pastitio, she gave me an extra dolmates and an order of fries on the house.
The food was a bit of a surprise. The dolmates were not what I was used to and I didn't care for them, but the spinakopita, although the shape was odd, was really outstanding. A surprise from a fast food place, and way better than a burger. The fries were really good, too, but way overshadowed by the spinakopita.
After lunch it was Paul's talk on PyGTK. I was actually a bit surprised that it was as on-target for me as it was. I had hoped to pick up an overview of this model with probably half of the talk being outside what I was interested in. (I am, after all, pretty weird). But it was more like three-quarters good stuff, with a little "what is an object" redundant (for me) thrown in. Quite worthwhile.
Jim Campbell's talk on choosing a documentation syntax was also better than expected. I don't know why, but I had kind of expected a sales pitch on Mallard. Instead, he compared a half-dozen different ways to source documentation, some of which I had never heard of. He even put in a pitch for the Fedora Release Notes. I had met Jim at the GNOME Desktop Help Summit earlier in the year and it was nice to see him again. I was a little disappointed I didn't run into any of the other perps from that session.
Next up was Carol Smith with "7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Project Managers". Her talk was quite good, but some bits of it, and the discussion that followed, were kind of disappointing. You see, I spent a good part of my career working on the software process in an organization that was quite good at delivering software. I saw first hand just how valuable the whole CMM/CMMI philosophy is to development. To see a company as large as Google (and obviously a number of others), who 8 years later still don't get it is a little disheartening.
By now I was really tired, and looking forward to a two hour drive up to Findlay. I did want to see Monty's keynote, and although I was sure to enjoy Maddog's presentation, I didn't expect it to be "valuable". So I decided to head north at that time, rather than risk being two hours more tired for driving. At least I got to spend a few minutes chatting with David and Robyn before heading out.
It started raining as soon as I left, and I had spoken with folks who indicated they hadn't had any rain in quite a long time, so I expected the roads to be quite slippery. I didn't feel the effects (my car is reasonably sure-footed even in the wet), but I did have one scary moment when I was stopped at a light and a pickup pulling a huge trailer went through the light with all four wheels locked. I was sure I was going to get smacked by that trailer, but he did manage to keep it between the lines. But I did pass a couple of other folks who weren't so lucky. At one point I was stopped waiting for a driver to be placed in an ambulance, so I was glad I had chosen caution.
The drive to Findlay did seem to go pretty quickly, though, but when I hit the sheets I was one whipped puppy.
Great event. Great to see so many Fedorans, some I had met before, some only on the net before this weekend. And a significant amount of valuable technical content, too.