And the second year of OSCON Austin, as always was a great conference but certainly and noticeably smaller then any OSCON I had attended before,...
4 to 6th December
So finally the days arrived… and Open Source Conference 2012 (first with a lead female organiser) went off fantastically with some hitches but to all around a great success with happy attendees.
Welcome we have no Lanyards
The conference started and the lanyards were late, the t-shirts were picked up just after the opening and some of the UTS recommended WIFI connection user names and passwords did not work… But all and all it went off with a bang and to good acceptance.
The first days key note was Andrew Cowie a great talk about the fusion of business and Open Source and what we need to do as programmers in this space. There were so many great talks on and I spent most of the day running around ensuring that people had what they needed. I got my towels in time, so I was happy lol. My speaker gift was a towel that had embroided on it "OSDC 2012 – Dont Panic" because everyone needs a towel. People were having a great time and I was receiving good feed back so all was well. A highlight and the winner of the "Best Talk" was Tim Serong talking about how he has managed to stay sane whilst hacking FOSS on a farm in Tasmania. We also had Felix Paul Kühne come all the way from Germany to talk about VLAN, this guy was awesome coming all the way from Germany, he contributes to VLAN in the evening and by day he is a medical student.. like studying medicine is not enough lol amazing brilliant mind. We also had Cory Fowler from the USA (though he is Canadian just living in Redmond at the moment) presented on building and deploying applications to the cloud.
The dinner was organsied by Peter Bui who had a great dinner at the Australian Technology Park. It was held in an old train carriage hall which was decked out with LED panels that changed there lighting for the mood. The meal was a 5 star three course meal and everyone was seated and we had left over dinners. The talk for the night was by Steward Smith… I really wanted Stewart as his talks are amazing and hilarious he presented a talk on the future and how we are already here and in some ways living in the past. I can not say much here except there were many laughs and I wish this was on video lol. The awesome thing was little to my knowledge he started his talk with the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and the words "Don't Panic" this tied in nicely to my speaker gifts.
We had Paul Fenwick give his "Perl Renaissance" talk about the cool things that have happened in Perl this was my main technical key note choice. And also because I love Paul he is amazing and pulls a good crowd which was needed after the late night for the Dinner on the Wednesday night. Øyvind Kolås from GIMP came over all the way from Norway to present a talk on the history of GIMP. This is a rarely seen talk and the first time we have had someone from the project present in Australia so I was super happy to see him here. We had a panel which I ran on Open Source Licensing where we had some great minds and contributors discuss concerns etc, we also had Brendon an Open Source Lawyer present which was a great contribution. We also had a talk about how Perl and Arduino helped to get Tux to the Antarctic.
Lisa Herrod presented her keynote on the last day who spoke about inclusive design which was a great way to put accessibly infront of peoples faces without talking about what code you need to write more so why you need to write it. I had tried to have a theme of accessibility at the conference and got to have two other talks at the conference about accessibility which was a first for an OSDC in Australia. Another great presenter was Francois from Mozilla talking about Persona and how it can be used to manage passwords and usernames on the web. I presented a talk about BitCoin which had more of a turn out then I expected which was a great thing to see so many people talking about it, once again I presented in more of a facilitator to discussion rather then a lecture. A definete highlight was the closing talk from Asya Kamsky who presented a great talk on "How to write software that doesn't suck" she spoke about her experience over the years and some great tips she picked up on the way and also about how she learnt to create good code.
What no Video
I was bummed as we did not video the talks :/ this was a hard decision as the promise we had of equipment feel through and Rewired state offered some of there equipment but it was to late the OSDC Camp board ruled no videos this year :/ I was bummed as the talks were fantastic, but once again this is what happens when you have a committee.
A small sum-up
Overall it was a huge commitment and in the future I would recommend that the combination of volunteers and a professional organising body would of worked better and saved some sanity and drop-outs. I refused my position with the OSDC Camp committee as I feel that for OSDC to continue it should go under the Linux Association banner. This way there is a team and body of people to offer support and infrastructure as I ran the site etc off my own server which came at a cost. Not only was I running around trying to organise an event but I was coding a website and maintaining the server. This meant that I had little to no time to do all things properly. It also meant that a large part of 2012 I took off work to dedicate to the running of the conference.
For Next Year
So for the moment we do not know where OSDC is going to be, but wherever it is it will be a great conference as it is a family conference. There are alot of people who attend whom only see eachother at this conference. I also feel that it is a conference that needs to keep on going for the strength and diversity of the Open Source scene in Australia.