LCA Observation of the Day

I can safely say that I’ve never been in a room full of people making unfortunate computing analogies in order to describe people bunching up closer together. I now notice the similarity between defragmentation, and shuffling down rows in lecture theatres.

Schwag Bag

The Schwag for LCA this year is really impressive (though I’ve not had the opportunity to judge it against previous years) — Google have provided an umbrella (which, though not the t-shirt that I’ve been wanting for quite some time, is probably more useful given Melbourne weather), and there’s a nice Aluminium (?) Drink Bottle; the bag itself is excellent, it’s a laptop-sized bag, which should do well for holding my laptop over the next few days — well done to whoever thought of the bags, they’re certainly appreciated!

First Timer’s Session

This afternoon, since I’m a first-time LCAer, I went to Kelly Yeoh and Rusty Russell’s LCA Newbies’ Session, which consisted of a 40 minute talk on what to expect from LCA, as well as a bit of a history of the conference. Rusty and Kelly spent the duration of the talk subtly referencing injokes from the history of LCA, whilst not referencing their context: this will probably have the effect of newbies making jokes about Dunk Tanks and Rusty’s Credit Card (the latter has already definitely happened, since I’m already doing so.

The “Well-oiled machine” that was the first-timer’s session was, despite it’s very casual tone, reasonably informative, and looks like something worth repeating. I certainly know a bit more about what to expect that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t go to it. Well done to Rusty and Kelly on it.

Ad-hoc Socialising

One important part of LCA (according to Rusty) is Ad-hoc social events, and to prove his point, organised one: the 50-or-so of us (not all of whom were newbies… interesting) went to a pub near U.Melbourne (I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large pack of nerds take over a pub — a sight to behold, if I do say so myself), and sat around chatting with people. Whilst as a student I generally hung around Students, we eventually got some interesting company in the form of Bernado Innocenti from the One Laptop Per Child project, who had some pre-release XOs to show off to us: whilst he stressed that they’re pre-release and therefore buggy, I was generally impressed by the quality, and the UI, although slightly annoying at the beginning (slow, foreign, and almost entirely pictorial, so my command of the English language was absolutely useless in this context), was quite interesting to see in action, and whilst I’m not entirely sure, I suspect that the hype that they’ve generated is justified.

The XOs attracted Casey Schaufler, a developer of Smack (a Linux Security Module), who was very interesting to talk to: during the conversation, he made me feel very young on multiple occations, mostly by mentioning first releases of products, that he’s had something to do with (he was at SUN when the first release of NFS came out, he was at the X11 release party (1987 by my reckoning).

Rusty was certainly right in the newbies session: you get to meet really interesting people at LCA, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a student, or an accomplished kernel hacker — people will talk to you. I was sceptical about whether or not I would find my place at LCA, but if this first session is anything to judge by, I’m confident that the conference is going to be excellent.

LCA Continues tomorrow; I’ll be attending part of the Debian Miniconf, and part of the Security Miniconf

Other Planet LCA2008

If you’re the sort of person who likes reading planets that contain general interest meterial (as well as subject-specific stuff), then you may want to register yourself at Russell Coker’s OTHER Planet LCA2008 — this is an alternative planet that contains entire blog feeds (as opposed to just the LCA stuff). I’ve done so!