Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
[ This post brought to you courtesy of Amtrak, the Washington State Ferries, and Mobilisa ]
The last day of OSCON is always a short day because it's only a half day. I only attended two sessions: the panel on Women in Open Source and Miguel's keynote.
The panel was well done, presenting some of the issues related to women and keeping a positive tone. One thing that was interesting to me was Bernard Krieger's statistics related to women. While it's well known that the proportion of women in computing is lower than the proportion of women in general, Bernard's numbers show that there are ten times fewer women participating in open source than the rest of computing. He also had some statistics related to age, education, and earning power, which I'm not going to quote because I'm not sure that I recorded them correctly. Another interesting set of statistics had to do with the ages that children are exposed to computers and when a young person has their own computer. Unsurprisingly the ages are much younger for girls boys than for boys girls. There was a lot to think about in this session, so I'll probably be writing another post on this topic fairly soon.
Miguel showed a bunch of the new apps that are being done for Linux (using Mono of course). He did some nice eye candy demos using the compositing stuff that will be in GNOME soon. He also took some potshots at all the OS X users at the conference. In my case, it's not the eyecandy that has me using OS X. It's the ease of install and maintenance, as well as the presence of good, usable, and scriptable apps. I use interapplication scripting a lot to streamline my workflow. As far as I know, most applications on Linux don't support that yet.
Since I missed the keynotes, I also missed my picture flashing up all over the projector screens. I guess they were cycling photos from Flickr through the slides, and Duncan's end of our camera duel made the cut. I was also surprised to see that one of my photos made it into the list of finalists for the photo contest. I totally forgot about the contest (see what happens when you skip keynotes), and was mostly just having a great time with the new camera. Even more interesting is that the particular photo was a boo-boo on my part. I forgot to reset the manual white-balance settings. Maybe next year I'll have developed enough skill to actually be a non-accidental contender. I really do love the idea of a conference photo contest, though.
I still can't seem to win on getting home from conferences. I decided to take the MAX train and then walk a few blocks to the train station. But when I got there I was told that my train was 10 hours late. They of course, put me on another train, but I had to wait an extra two hours. Having planned for an air conditioned train ride, I spent those extra hours cooking in the train station (no air conditioning). I slept for a good portion of the train ride. At least the train was on time and I was able to squeak onto the 10:05 ferry, so maybe I'll get home at a reasonable hour. It might be a few days before you see any more postings from me.
This has been an extended OSCON week, so I've been sleeping in and missing some of the keynotes. I specifically got up in time to hear Nat's interview with Mitchell Baker. The blogosphere has already beaten this to death, so I won't comment much here, other than to say that I think this is a good move and that I trust the folks at Mozilla to do the right thing.
Dick Hardt followed Mitchell with a Lessig style, rapid fire presentation on digital identity. In terms of presentation style, this is probably the best one of these that I've seen (sorry Anthony), just because of the pacing and delivery.
I stopped into a couple of sessions in the Open Source Business Review track. r0ml's talk on ROI/TCO stories was kind of interesting. Understanding how to communicate with the business/commercial world is important. The closer open source gets to mainstream, the more we need to be able to communicate effectively.
I came in David Temkin's talk on Lazlo's experience open sourcing OpenLazslo. David and I spent some time talking about the pros and cons of going open source, and it was very satisfying to hear him sharing his experiences with others.
The Ruby track has been jam packed. I thought that I would slip into some Ruby talks to see what has been going on in the Ruby world, but I couldn't get into 2 out of 3 talks because they were jam-packed, standing-room only, totally full. I was able to see Glenn Vanderburg's talk on Metaprogramming Ruby. Most of what he talked about was related to DSL's, but that's not the only application for metaprogramming.
The last session that I went to was Sanjiva Weerawarana's talk on Open Source and Developing Countries, which as mostly about how to actually get people in those countries participating in open source projects. Sanjiva has been able to help some Sri Lankans get involved in various Apache projects, so he's actually speaking from experience.