Friday Dec 07, 2007

Relive Debcon7 - Final report out

Just a little while ago a link to the final report from DebCon7 arrived in my inbox.  It was a great way to relive the thrills, chills and spills that made up the 8th annual Debian developers conference which took place this summer. 

The alley between my hotel and the conference.  Notice the castle in the back.

Over 400 people from around the world attended the event, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, which consisted of talks, hacking, sightseeing and lots of beer drinking.   The 30 page document, complete with pictures and charts, talks about how it all went and what went on both professionally and socially.  It also includes personal impressions from some of the attendees including Sun's very own Tom Marble.  Although my impressions weren't included in the report, I am featured prominently in one of the pictures (I am in the top right quadrant of the group photo, about nine people to the left of the guy on the right with both his hands in the air).

Who Doesn't want to look like the Bay City Rollers?! 

One of the more interesting features of the event was the Debian tartan that started out as a joke and then became a reality to the tune of 6,000 pounds.  The team who designed the pattern thought long and hard about the various choices (whether before or after the tartan was created I'm not sure) but if you read the report you'll find out the significance of the various elected features. 

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y-D-E-B Night!

Probably the tartan's biggest feature is that it "spells out DEBIAN in Morse code (with a correct 1:3 ratio for dots to dashes, and for the pauses in and between letters)."  The report goes on to explain that "the tartan looks fairly conventional, but it is unusual (although not unique) in that it is mirrorsymmetrical on only one diagonal. This is to avoid reversing the Morse section which would otherwise spell ANIVEU."  And to prove this was legit and not a kludgy hack, the resulting tartan is "being entered into the Scottish Tartans World Register as tartan number 3210."

Although the tartans were available to all, they were a bit too rich for my blood so instead I decided to invest in a cool Etch-a-release T-shirt.

Spain via Argentina 

Debconf7 and Edinburgh were a blast and I look forward to Argentina and Debconf8 and beyond that, the recently announced Debconf9 in the Extremadura region of Spain.

Goodbye Edinburgh, hope to see you again soon (I wonder what this tartan spells in morse code?

More pictures from Edinburgh. 

Pau for now...

Thursday Nov 08, 2007

T1000 - Euro Freedom fighters weapon of choice

Ok, so maybe the title is a bit of an overstatement but its good to see Free Software advocates in Europe making good use of the UltraSPARC-based Sun Fire T1000 servers.  Superfast, supercool (as in low power consumption and heat) and based on GPL'd chips -- whats not to like!? 

FSFE:  We got a T1000 and we're gonna use it!

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is doing a lot of great work advancing Free Software in Europe.  It is therefor very cool to see that they are using the T1000 we gave them to power the on-line presence for the FSFE community (aka the Fellowship) and deliver them new services.

FSFE president Georg Greve, in a picture from his blog -- armed and dangerous with the T1000.

Debconf7 -- checkin' builds in Auld Reikie on a T1000

For this past summer's Debcon7 held in Edinburgh we lent Team Debian a T1000 to compile builds on.  There was a rumor that it was also used to power the Ceilidh.

Teviot Student union at the University of Edinburgh where Debconf 7 was held. 

High up in the union's bell tower was the debconf server room.  Look at that T1000 go! 

Pau for now... 

Monday Jul 09, 2007

Pics From Edinburgh

Last night I uploaded some of my favorite pics I took while attending Debconf7.  I went back and added a relevant picture to each of my postings from the conference: Golf Tavern, The castle and Teviot.

Here are some of my favs (Im sure I will do another post of two with more Debconf/Edinburgh pics) from one of my favorite cities in the world. 

Brunstfield links at dusk, the site of the world's first golf course. 

If I remember correctly this was down near Cowgate.  If it werent for the taxi you'd think it was somewhere on the continent.


Right off the Bruntsfield links and around the corner from the Golf Tavern.

At the top of the royal mile and not far from the Jolly Judge where Tom and I grabbed a couple of pints. 


I cant remember where I took this but I love the way it came out.

Pau for now....

Thursday Jun 28, 2007

Ruggers '85 vs. Hackers '07

As I mentioned in my Haggis flashbacks entry last week, I had some pretty freaky deja vu moments while attending Debconf7 at Edinburgh University.

On arriving home I dug out my photo album from my '85-'86 year at Edinburgh and have paired some of those pictures with ones I took last week, 21 years later.


Teviot Hall dining room -- 1986 

Rugby Club's Burns night supper

Teviot Hall dining room -- 2007

DebCon7 hackers lounge #1 (same lights but the pictures above the mantel are gone and the walls are now red).

Teviot Hall dining room -- South West Corner -- 1986

A toast to the Haggis 

Teviot Hall dining room -- South West Corner -- 2007

Much hacking (Notice the walls have been painted, an Exit sign has been added but the mantel and light fixture are the same). 


Upstairs at Teviot



 1985:  Burns night Ceilidh 2007: DebConf7 Ceilidh. (The dancers in the foreground are two of the hosts for DebConf8 to be held in next year in Mar del Plata, Argentina.


Upstairs at Teviot, the stage

 Ceilidh band 1985
 Ceilidh band 2007 -- featuring (on the far right) guest fiddler and Linux Journalist, Heike Jurzik.

 Pau for now...


Saturday Jun 23, 2007

Established 1456: Dining at DebConf7

After last night's sessions I led a merry band across the Meadows and through the Bruntsfield links to one of my favorite Edinburgh establishments, the Golf Tavern.  There were two of us from Sun (Tom and myself), four from Canonical (Doko, James, Collin and Kyle), 1 Googler (Drake) and Peder from Norway who works on a Debian derivative used for the national education system.

Although the pub is said to have been established in 1456, its come under new ownership in the last several years.  While it looks the same from the outside, inside it now boasts flat screen TVs and an international menu, meaning that alongside such local dishes as Haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatos) and Yorkshire pudding, they also serve buffalo wings and nachos -- needless to say we stuck to the local fare.

Turns out that the Bruntsfield links where the tavern is located is purported to be the locus for the invention of golf and the site of the oldest golf course in the world (albeit short hole).  In fact, since I was at school they have brought back the course and there were a bunch of folks out hitting.

The food was great and I got to have my much beloved 80 shillings.  Specifically, the tavern served "Caley 80" of which one Scottish guide to beer had the following to say: 

Caley 80/-

This beer is the standard by which all Scots Heavies should be measured. Caledonian 80/- having won the Camra2 Champion Beer of Scotland several years in a row - is a fine pint. Meaty enough to give you something to chew on, but light enough to enable continued drinking. Almost never bags you up and creates the well-known 'two pints of Caley' (2POC) feeling. The 2POC feeling is unique to Caley 80 - simply drink two pints, put on some Pink Floyd and relax. Man.

The majority of us then broke down and had the "traditional" gigantic ice cream sundaes for desert. 

Pau for now...

Friday Jun 22, 2007

Quick update from Edinburgh

Ive got just a few minutes before the next talk here at DebConf7 but wanted to jot down a few things.

The weathers actually been a mix of sun and clouds but Ive been able to mostly wear a t-shirt and jeans.  The sun has usually come out at the end of the day which is great since yesterday was the longest day of the year and meant that the final light didnt disappear until about 11:00PM (it also meant that I had to get up and shut the curtains at 4:15AM this morning when it started getting light).


As for the conference Ive gone to several cool talks: Leading a Free Software Project, Debian -- The universal OS, and a Derivatives round table.  Ill give some insights and details from these in a subsequent blog but I found them informative and interesting.  Last night also turned out to be a lot of fun and a great chance to meet a lot of the members of the community.  Sun sponsored drinks from 7-9 and then there was a Ceilidh (Scottish Dance). 

Ironically it was in the same room as the rugby team had our Ceilidh 21 years ago.  After I get home Ill have to dig out my old pictures from Edinburgh and post them side by side the ones from Debconf.  It should be an interesting study in contrasts :).

Well time to head off to the last talk of the day,  "Freedom beyond Software."

Pau for now...


Wednesday Jun 20, 2007

Live from Debconf7: Haggis flashbacks

Life has a funny way of sometimes looping back on itself.

I arrived in Edinburgh this morning and since my hotel room wasnt ready, I decided to head directly on over to Debconf.  The event is being held at Teviot,  the student union at the University of Edinburgh where I was a student many years ago.  Given that today was the day of the Day trip, half the attendees had headed off to an island off the west coast of Scotland via a train, bus  and ferry and the student union was pretty empty.  I headed up to "Hacklab 1" where Ive been chatting with folks and answering email for the last several hours. 

What I soon realized though after getting settled is that "Hacklab 1" is usually referred to by its proper name, "the dining room" More specifically it dawned on me that this is the exact room where I attended the Edinburgh University Rugby Football Club's Burns night supper over 21 years ago.  In this room where I now blog I once drank whiskey, stood while the haggis was piped in and listened to toasts and poems by Scotland's most beloved poet. 

As a toast to Rabbie, here is the poem of his that is always used to close out the evening:

Auld Lang Syne.


For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.

And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

Pau for now...

Friday May 25, 2007

Of Code and Castles - Debconf7

I am extremely excited since this year's Debian developer conference is being held in one of my favorite cities in the world, Edinburgh Scotland.  Many moons ago I spent my third year of university at the University of Edinburgh and had an amazing time.  Ironically Debcon7 is going to be held in Teviot, the student union at the university that I used to frequent.

The conference runs from June 17th through the 23rd.  Scrolling through the events list Ive noticed some pretty interesting sessions Id like to check out for example: Freedom beyond software, Evolving Debian's governance,  Understanding Software in the Public Interest, Inc., The state of the coffee cup --  Free Java Platform discussion (I have to mention this since my boss is giving it :), Butan's journey towards open source, a Whiskey BoF (a must given the locale), etc.

Sun will be helping to sponsor the conference but, more importantly, Simon gave the ok to host beers for the other attendees on Thursday night.  I cant wait to have a pint of 80 shillings.  In general I am looking forward to getting back to "Auld Reikie" with the sweet smell of the breweries and its medieval walls.   I still remember walking over the stone bridges at night and looking down at the fog drifting through the streets below, creepy and cool at the same time, thinking it's a braw brict moonlict nicht the nicht (trans: Its a beautiful moonlit night tonight).

One more thing, I just found out that the Jolly Judge now offers WiFi.  Is nothing sacred?!  Whats next, electric bagpipes?!

Pau for now... 


I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


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