Unfortunately the good times have come to an end, one of the best shindig in a long time has been and gone. Friends from far away have returned home, as have I.
Yes, the openSUSE Conference of 2011 was an absolute blast. Seriously, I had an absolute scream. As I mentioned before I was expecting a whole heap of fun, and boy did the Geeko deliver!!!
I met up with all sorts of people, starting off with Richard Brown a.k.a. Ilmehtar at Gatwick airport (I didn’t actually realised that Richard was Ilmehtar until about day 1 or 2 of the conference), oh and Michael Meeks. We pitched up at the hotel, checked in, dumped our bags and went straight to the venue to help sort stuff out.
Well, we didn’t have to do much sorting out as those Thirsty Thirteen (you may know them as the Fabulous Booster Boys) had turned the derilect building into a fantastic conference venue. Not entirely on their own, they did have some help from a bunch of Greeks, some Swiss and some stray Brazilian (love you Izabel ;-) ).
Whilst catching up with some of the folk that were there on the Saturday, I got one of the best surprises that the Geeko could give me – I met up with a bunch of guys from Taiwan. Why would meeting a bunch of Taiwanese be so cool? Simples! These were some of the super heros that helped me fix, patch, kick and roll out Smeegol. With out their help and encouragement I doubt I would have survived. They are a cool and crazy bunch of guys, and I am SO happy to have met them in the flesh.
Another great thing about the conference was the crate load of Old Toad, openSUSE’s own beer. Not only did I drink plenty, but *everyone* drank plenty. The beer wasn’t given away, near enough but not quite – each beer was €1 which goes back into the geeko bank to help finance future community efforts. I’ve no idea on how much was generated but I’m confident that we smashed through a four figure sum :-) The only touristy thing I did this year was take a little tour with Uncle Klaas (dragotin to his fellow geekos), and about 20 or so other like minded thirsty Geekos. Uncle Klaas took us to the home of Old Toad, and got us a tour of the lovely little brewery that helped make the fine beverage. We sampled some fine beers (yes Pascal, they were actually pretty good even in comparison to the holy belgian fluid ;-) ), followed by some great food and as always we had excellent company.
The conference itself had some good talks, some of them were very technical, some of them struck a good balance, and others were totally non-technical – all in all a great mix, something for everyone. I’d just like to thank all the SUSE Labs guys and gals for joining us and making it one big happy family ![:-)] I’ve always thought of the Labs folk as kind of ‘Black Ops’ sorta people, you know the type – “oh I could tell you what I do but then I’d have to kill you”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Well, not *that* close at least :-P Sure they’re clever peeps, but they’re also very human and lovers of all Geekos. Next time you see one of them, take a leaf out of Jos’ or Pavol’s book and give them a hug – you may need to ask first as they may think you’re trying to steal their latest crazy idea ;-)
Let’s see did I forget any other fun bits? Oh, I did indeed. There was the Conference evening party, where we had a fine specimen of a beast (sorry Henne but that mechanical bull was hawt!!). The outside seating area was partially transformed into a Western style ranch with poker tables, and yes a mechanical bull – I believe the night’s record was for 71seconds or so. The food was great, and I’d like to thank the local butcher/caterers for some great grub.
That’s not all, I also had the pleasure of attending Michael Willmer’s keynote. For those that don’t know Michael is the ‘VP of Marketing and Global Alliances’ at SUSE. He’s an Attachmate veteran, and he’s a suit.BUT… And it’s a pretty huge but. He’s no ordinary suit, seriously. This is not properganda, it’s not marketing fluff. It is my own personal take on things. For a senior suit, the man turned up wearing his openSUSE t-shirt. He fired up his laptop and low and behold he’s running GNOME-shell, sure it was in fallback mode but he is clearly not scared of cuts and bruises from software. He started his presentation and oh look, he’s not using LO or any other presentation software, no PDF. He created his presentation in Inkscape with the Sozi plugin, and used Chromium as the actual tool to display it all. Just to remind you, Michael Miller is a senior suit at a large US corporation, yeah it’s kinda tough to connect the two but this is the one and the same. He mingled with the crowd of Geekos afterwards and came back the next day for more Geeko love – oh and the obligatory ear bending from some people (not me, honest). I’m sure the roses will fade, but I’m quietly confident that there will be more positive than negative from now on. I’m not saying there wont be any rubbish, there will always be rubbish, just that the amount will be less and how it is handled will hopefully be better.
Yes, I thoroughly loved the conference this year. It was genuinely openSUSE’s conference as the hard work was done by openSUSE not by corporate drones. Nothing was dictated, it was decided. I seriously can’t thank the Boosters enough for their hard physical labour. I’d also like to thank the conference teams, like those accepting submissions for sessions and the travel sponsorship committee. Also I’d also like to thank Alexia for tirelessly manning the bar dealing with weird reprobates. I’d like to thank Jillian and Katie for interpreting for Bryen. These two women aren’t technical, although they kind of know some of the jargon and acronyms, they didn’t really understand what they meant. Never the less the did a fine job in interpreting all the Geeko love for Bryen to fully enjoy. Oh and Coolo learnt a new thing from them too :-)
I could end my ramblings on a high, but that wouldn’t be cricket now ;-) So what was wrong? The simplest thing - PRINT PEOPLE’S IRC NICKNAMES WITH THEIR NAMES ON THE BADGES!!! Seriosuly, this is something that has been asked for at each conference. Kindly do it for the next one, please. That’s an easy fix, the next one isn’t so easy. We have a great and vibrant community. we have lots of clever people (yes, we do also have some stupid people), problem is we don’t interact well with speakers and presenters. Seriously, we suck in that respect. I’m not saying I want to see and hear hecklers at the next conference, but if a presenter asks for audience participation bloddy well participate!!!!!
Now I know this post is a bit dry on eye candy, but I genuinely didn’t many photos, and those that I did take were utter rubbish. So I shall link so some other Geeko’s photos instead:
Max Lin’s Album
Pascal Blesser’s Album
Bo Maryniuk’s Album
Andreas Jaeger’s Album
Bruno Friedman’s Album