Linux and Open Source

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About Linux and Open Source

My LCA2010 Tuesday started with an Airport pickup; it was my job to meet Keith Packard at Wellington International Airport and deliver him to the event.
I then had to drive across town to my car park and walk back to the event :/

However... I did get back on time to pick up the tail of the Keynote and then attend the remainder of the days session - and this day was of particular interest, being the 'Open and the Public Sector' stream. This was kicked off by Don Christie in his role of President of the New Zealand Open Source Society and the keynote was by the UK Governments Director of Digital Engagement, Andrew Stott. I have to say that I give the UK Government a lot of credit for their willingness to embrace online engagement, the talk was given via Skype and was (generally) successful - though they should probably have pumped the audio across an ordinary PSTN or even cellular phoneline, as the Internet link wasn't flawless by any means...

Though I have made two, separate previous entries on the subject, my grand intention to blog about the Wellington-hosted Linux Australia Conference kinda looks pretty lame; here I am 6 weeks? later finally putting 'pen to paper'.

In my defence, well, domestic and professional life have both taken their toll; a grand total of 2 months off work (All of Dec and Jan) resulted in a need to hit the ground pretty much running when I returned to work proper on the 4th of February, and it's been basically a full month before I got to the stage where 'normality' had returned. That was Friday...

So back to my intention: To write about LCA.

Well, there's an article above about the Monday, but really, my involvement in LCA started earlier than that:

The Rental Truck...

So lately i've managed to attend a couple of geek-conferences (Kiwicon late last year, LCA2010 this year) and the appeal of smartphones is starting to wear me down.

I've steered away from the smartphone world, mainly because I was able to get away with a very basic handset and still have access to it while at work.

The rules have changed, I'm basically not allowed my mobile on me at all times now @ work, so that side of things is now moot; i'm left considering my situation when i'm not at work.

Thus i'm currently rocking the Motorola K3:

Which being a Motorola Flip, is fairly reliable. It has 3G, which means i can actually surf the web from it (no javascript support!) and send/receive email (if you can be bothered with using a number pad data entry style). Unfortunately it's not much good for either in any great volume.

It does have a 2MP Camera; it does Bluetooth. And those are the main things I do with it, aside from SMS and Telephony. I also have one of these...

... being the Palm Z22, as my 'current generation' Palm Pilot (i've had PalmOS devices since my Handspring Visor...) - the Z22 basically is a diary and phonebook for the stuff I can't do on my phone. I'm also not meant to have the Z22 at work, either...

(I have a work-issued Blackberry from which I use the calendar (because it tracks my professional appointments as well as the relatively small number of personal ones I use) and because it's permitted to carry it on me in more places - but I rarely use the work phone for personal reasons (I have to refund the cost of doing so) and my personal cell number has been with me a lot longer than my current job.)

So what I'd really like, then...

.. Is a Bigger Screen,
A more flexible web browsing experience via 3G or Wifi,
A QWERTY Keyboard,

Very nice indeed..

(I do intend to write a 'real' blog about LCA - so much for one per day! - but i need to be awake and coherant long enough first...)

Into the Monday Afternoon of LCA2010 and had the task of relocating a substantial quantity of Beer and Wine to another venue during lunchbreak... so i'm hungry! Will be rectified soon however.

Have spent today with one ear on the presentations and the other assisting with Sound in the Main Auditorium and chasing down some Wireless networking oddballs. Attendees may have noticed Wifi is playing up, this is a work-in-progress and we're beating the equipment into submission.

Tonights Tweetup - has details - has in excess of 50 RSVP's. The Twtvite entry has a ceiling at 60 but i'm sure if you bowl on up at your convenience, there'll be no dramas. There's a simultaneous Martial Arts demo going on so we'll lose some folks at 7, for a couple of hours.

Today as first day of LCA has been interesting for me; those who've done the LCA bit before are obviously quite comfortable with the routine but many NZ'rs who've not attended before, are finding things quite interesting. A few minor dramas due to the fog this morning and folks delayed inbound; a bit of illness for good measure, and reportedly traffic problems caused at least one speaker to miss their slot. However this is the 'miniconf' window, the LCA proper kicks off Wednesday, and no doubt we'll be settled by then.

Has also been interesting to recognise several faces I know from other places who've travelled to LCA from Christchurch, Auckland etc. Looking forward to catching up with them during this week as well.

See folks tonight at the Tweetup!

A couple of days ago Matthew Holloway posted an interesting story to the NZOSS OpenChat List.

That Article, entitled Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX, was actually quite illuminating.

Enough so that I do feel you should read it. Most especially if you've been in any way involved in Gaming (PC or Console) in the last 5 to 10 years.

I knew that DirectX was a Microsoft thing but I hadn't really thought about the competition aspect. If the above article is accurate, then there's been some very clever marketing and indeed, FUDding, by Microsoft... and to a substantial degree, it's worked. Except we can't - and shouldn't - let it.

It does reinforce in my own mind, though, my desire never to own an Xbox....

Noted a couple of simultaneous subscriptions to NZLUG mailing lists this morning from different addresses - this immediately looked suspicious, and a Google confirms my fears.

A warning for those others dealing with mailing lists, forums and such; that's one domain with a baaaad rep.

... and operating in 'fullscreen' mode it can be difficult to detatch / drop back to your Ubuntu fat client.

Thanks to a link found on the Ubuntu Forums the answer is simple:

Ctrl-Alt-Enter will put you back into 'windowed' mode.

I've been running remote sessions at 800x600 in order to maintain fat-client control on my 1024x768 res Ubuntu box. Should've searched sooner. Oops :)


I'm sure most of those with an interest in the subject are by now aware of the Linux Australia conference being held in Wellington, NZ in a couple of weeks time. Yep, LCA2010 is that close.

As one of the volunteers as well as a 'professional delegate' i've been working up my calendar to ensure I get the best out of the week. Today, just to make life interesting, there was a timetable shuffle to better accomodate some interesting speakers in the 'Open in the Public Sector' stream, which is one i'm quite interested in. So tonight i've just reshuffled what I hope to attend.

Dissapointingly this means that the Public Sector stream conflicts with the Sysadmin Miniconf. I'll be looking for notes, video and such to be available from that one - with any luck.

In other news I can confirm for folks interested that there will be wifi internet available at the venue (gotta get your geek fix somehow). Details will be up on the LCA website very soon (assuming they're not there already - i'm told they are, but I havnt found them yet).

Finally, this is my first blog tagged with the LCA2010 category, so this may well come up in the 'Planet LCA2010' feed. Here's hoping. :-) It should also - I hope - appear on Twitter....

Looking forward to my first LCA. :) Mine starts on Sunday with helping some of the organising crew move stuff around. Gonna be a busy week! :)

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