Paul Revere – Wednesday at LCA 2008

[Wednesday]( is the first day of the main conference with the main speakers and
five parallel tracks. First up was [Bruce Schneier]( doing
a talk on security theatre, security reality etc. The talk was without slides
which is fairly unusual and I found it a little hard to concentrate ( I
tried shutting my eyes even) but good and interesting content.

After that was the first of the giveaways. It has been traditional for the
last few LCA’s for prizes ( usually laptops or gadgets) to be given away
to people who are at the keynotes in order to encourage people to attend, if
you are not there when you name is called out then then next person is called.

This morning (and later in the morning) several [OLPC’s]( were
handed out to various mostly excited people. Later several several of the
winners gave them away to people they thought could better use them which I think
is a very good spirit.

For the first session I ended up going to a the GTK/Gnome programming tutorial
which was interesting and helpful to novice programmers such as myself. Then
after dithering between a talk on the XFS File system ( I had talking to the
presenter, Dave Chinner the previous night and it sounded interesting) and a NSS
speedup talk I ended going to the Kernel Report by Jonathan Corbet of [Linux Weekly News]( ,
interesting but probably not as good as the first session since I read his column every week already.

For the next session there were several good talks listed and I went to one by
Dirk Hohndel of Intel which was advising people on how to work with hardware
vendors and giving a bit of an insiders view from hardware vendors of open source. Interest again and he definitely indicated that some of the vendors
(especially video cards and wireless) had a lot of IP tied up in drivers which
they would not be going away while most others could probably be worked with.

The last talk was a little disappointing, I went to Carl Worth’s talk on X
acceleration but found there wasn’t a lot of content. It was sort of a rundown
of 5 years or so of history followed by a summary of where their effort was
up to. Probably could have been compressed to about 5 minutes.

As a sidenote I found that I was getting quite a few questions about my Eee
at the conference so I got to practice my tour. There were at least 20 other
people with one and many of them had install alternative desktops on them
already. Asking around I’ll probably install the [eeexubuntu](
version of the the [xubuntu]( desktop.

The Penguin dinner this year was a little different in that it was held
at [Melbourne Night Market]( which
is a big outdoor food hall (Which slightly reminded my of the [Hawker centres]( I
saw in Malaysia). There was a bit of confusion with the organisation at the start with
a giant line forming to one of the bars when there were 3 others just around the corner
along with all the food. However once that was sorted out people seemed happy.
The arrangement was that were were given 8 $5 tickets to buy food and drink with at the stalls inside.

I picked a German hot dog, some vegetarian Indian and a middle eastern meat
sandwich which all tasted pretty good and left me full. However as
[Mary Gardiner mentioned]( there
wasn’t as much mixing as previously and I ended up leaving a little early. All
wasn’t lost however since I had a very interesting conversation with a Sysadmin
from [Wollongong](
about jobs, technology, etc.

I forgot to mention that on Tuesday night I ended up sitting near
[Andrew Tridgell]( who had
a [Sony Reader]( that he was showing people. It
looked quite cool and apparently has a bit less DRM than usual with Sony. I
try and avoid buying Sony where possible though due to their bad reputation