i'm spending this week at oscon, the open source conference sponsored by o'reilly. it's one of *the* conferences for the open source community, bringing together developers and such from all over using various types of open source software and for others to learn from their good/bad experiences and get some general education as well.
for me, as an employee of the perceived enemy, you may wonder: wtf? well, that's a good question. in my team's role, one of our passions is to understand any opposition and help change perception. difficult? sometimes. yes there are zealots (every side has them), but most are genuinely interested in having intelligent conversations...after all, we are all passionite about our respective technologies, desires, etc. for me, i like those type of conversations -- i'm not saying i'm 'good' at always changing perception, but i know that every time i have a conversation with the 'anything but microsoft (abm)' crowd, i learn something new!
i'm here with others from microsoft as well: woodyp, jmauer, saraford, bill hilf, and the team from port25 (who is a silver sponsor this year). we're lurking, presenting, showing off, learning and chatting -- and all that is a good thing.
the title of this post is 0.1, giving some props to open source projects that never seem to make it to v1. and of course, it's not 0.2, because i'm at a pre-conference, which means the real conference hasn't started, which means it's not a stable post. ;-) (note: for msft people that aren't familiar with open source, it's a general trend that unstable builds are odd numbered.)
i wouldn't be doing my conference citizen duty if i didn't spend some time complaining about some things...so let's get that over with first. this is the first 'big' non-msft conference i'm participating in. i've gone to php zend, etc. -- but they are < 500 people. oscon touts 3500 registered. first thing i notice? how spoiled msft attendees are at conferences...big time.
first the swag: honestly, i have to say it (it's free and all, but c'mon it's a technical conference) -- the 'bag' is disappointing. I opted to return mine because i honestly couldn't see myself using it. inside the bad was hilarious though. at first i was saying 'cool' to myself, because i didn't have a retractable, travel ethernet cable. a closer inspection reveals that it is a telephone cable. huh?! oh well, i guess linux must have modem support now ;-)
logistics: portland is aweseome. my comrad lives here and keeps saying that the tree huggers have done the city proud. i really do like portland. we got the chance to spend the evening in the hawthorne/23rd area which was very cool area -- lots of character -- great for singles (of which i'm not). the conference is at the convention center which is also cool...good building. unfortunately the signage sucks. too small, not detailed enough. i recall msft conferences in my head where i'm almost bumping in to signs wherever i walk. food: hmmm...not really existing yet. they did bring out some small snacks at one point with lemonade that looked like hollywood-grade plutonium...and by the look on one guys face, tasted like it as well!
wireless: what conference wouldn't be complete without network woes. remember, i'm at a pre-conference, so not everyone is even here yet! the first day i could not connect to the wireless even thoughthere were access points in sight all over. they finally got it worked out at the end of the day for the most part, but i worry about the rest of the week. not a lot of visible power plugs around the common areas though. they did have some power issues this first day. i was in a session where the projector kept shutting off. now there are some that claim it was because of the 'heat wave' in portland (remember i'm from arizona), but being in the room that had the most problems, i know it was because one outlet was used to daisy-chain about 100 retail-grade power strips to power about 120 laptops pluss all the a/v equipment. yeah, not gonna work.
anywhoo...on to the better stuff.
days 0.1 and 0.3 (remember, it's not stable yet) are all about 'tutorials' -- which i thought to meant, classroom-style learning, maybe some hands on. i signed up for some ruby ones, a rails one, and some marketing one. we were to get the 'materials' for the tutorials upon checkin. the materials were the slide deck printouts. :-( the tutorials to be honest have been disappointing. they really should have named them 'really long sessions' (they are 4 hours each). No hands-on, no constant interaction with attendees (and note to presenters: REPEAT THE QUESTIONS THAT ARE ASKED!). the ruby ones i weant to were essentially outlines of the books the authors had written -- which i'd already read and has great content, i just was expecting deeper.
i am looking forward to the rest of the week. they have an oscamp setup here, and i think i'm going to put a session on the board for 'talk crap about microsoft' and see who shows up :-)