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The voice of business in Canberra 2005 observed.

By johnboy - 23 April 2005 13

Please allow me to hate myself thoroughly for not owning a camera. The pictures I could and should have taken would have blown your mind.

The people at were a fascinating mix. Broadly, you had people who were there from three groups.
– Recruiters, public servants etc.
– Grizzled IT veterans
– Enthusiastic youngsters.

It was a pretty mulicultural crowd but interestingly amongst those of east-asian extraction the gender mix was about 50-50. While for the rest I’d say the women were down around 10% of the group.

And the laptops all over the place with dazzling varieties of software and configurations. I could have spent hours just peering over people’s shoulders.

I suspect the conference took part as much in IRC channels over the wireless network as it did in terms of people actually speaking to each other.

The Saturday keynote by General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation, Eben Moglen, was far more stirring stuff than you’d expect from a discussion of legal issues around software licences.

Twice the audience came to their feet to give him a standing ovation as he hammered through to the audience that they weren’t just nerds writing software, they were (albeit inadvertently) the successors of the battle for freedom and liberty that began in the enlightenment.

The recent BitKeeper row has changed a lot of minds about the FSF’s insistence that software freedom matters and needs attention.

The size of the sea-change is probably best understood when you consider Linus Torvalds, the man whose name makes up the first four letters of the conference’s name, was being openly mocked and disparaged.

Lunch was hilarious, one moment I was holding forth watching Eben Moglen hold court on the concourse, the next people started streaming down towards the refectory, and everyone started following to see where they were going.

Where they were going was the sunshade outside the ANU refectory where 400 pizzas were due to arrive.

Unfortunately despite taking an order for it 2 months ago, Pizza Hut had utterly failed to co-ordinate the necessary resources so the pizzas arrived in dribs and drabs over some time.

A particularly drool worthy moment was an IBM tech opening a shell to a 128 processor G5 [apologies, that should read P5] machine he’d been working on and compiling ten kernels in ten seconds to show off just how powerful the new chips are.

(You have to have stared at a screen in the small hours of the night waiting for a kernel compile to finish to truly appreciate this one).

In any event, everyone I spoke to seemed to have had a really good time.

So well done the Canberra Linux Users Group for putting Canberra in a good light for such an august gathering.

What’s Your opinion?

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13 Responses to 2005 observed. - 3 are blacklisted
johnboy 5:57 pm
24 Apr 05

You better tell the IBM Buildup techs who built it too.

johnboy 6:40 pm
24 Apr 05

Ahh, P5 not G5, sorted now.

Spectra 12:11 pm
25 Apr 05

In case anyone cares, my highlights were:

A day long session learning to write kernel device drivers with Rusty and Robert Love.

Tridge’s keynote featuring live Bitkeeper reverse engineering.

Mark Shuttleworth’s “Ubuntu – the Final Frontier” which had nothing whatsoever to do with Linux but was a fascinating talk on going into space.

Prof. Eben Moglen’s talk on the legal state of Free Software, and why it’s so important – almost certainly the most impressive and inspiring presentation of the conference.

johnboy 12:32 pm
25 Apr 05

Glad you thought Eben Moglen’s speech was significant. I’m a card carrying associate member of the Free Software Foundation (it isn’t cheap) so he was preaching to the choir in my case.

Stallman’s always been right but many (myself included) found it easier to squib the subject, a course of action discredited in the last week.

I think there is a sea change going on in the non-propietary software world.

And a lot of it happenned in the Manning Clarke Centre at ANU this week.

johnboy 3:57 pm
25 Apr 05

Thanks for that.

I had been wondering where the register were getting their stuff.

Slashdot editors are evil inconsistent bastards. Be glad they didn’t take your comments and publih under their own name.

johnboy 9:07 pm
27 Apr 05

OSNEWS have a slightly bizarre story on the conf. Someone seems to have gotten in an online crapfest.

The significance of Eben Moglens ovations however seem to have struck others as well.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 11:23 pm
27 Apr 05

Oh, a post from the idiot who floated beverages off helium balloons in lecture thatres marked “No food or drink”…This is the first time he has surfaced since I posted a rant at him on his blog comments. Obviously he decided to post the same garbage again elsewhere to have a clean slate…that won’t last long…I’ll just get out the rant machine.


johnboy 11:26 pm
27 Apr 05

You were the one to whom he refers?


Samuel Gordon-Stewar 12:16 am
28 Apr 05

Nah, I’m not the organiser who told him off and ranted and about it, but it did get me worked up enough to post a rant on their blog.

The organiser who had to deal with the situation declares that they wouldn’t have had a problem with it if it were outdoors…but rooms full of electronics…


Samuel Gordon-Stewar 12:20 am
28 Apr 05

My HTML went nuts, could you edit it please johnboy?
It should say “and ranted about it here and here, but it did”
with the “here” and “here” being the links


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