Las weekend Alex and I attended OggCamp, a BarCamp alike unconference with a scheduled track of speakers and two more audienced-planned tracks that were scheduled each morning using the awesome CampFireManager.
The venue was really nice (Farnham Maltings), and the organisation recorded 325 attendees, so I would say it was a total success.
Like any other event with several tracks, we had to choose (wisely) the talks we attended.
Simon Phipps: Freedom or Riot?
The topic was the importance of freedom in open source and why we should protect and fight for that freedom.
Phipps is a great speaker. I liked his talk, was very clear and encouraging, although I found disappointing his reasoning to explain why he’s using Apple’s hardware and software in his laptop when he’s transmitting a clear message about the importance of protecting and using open source freedom.
I think that’s OK. The message of the talk is still clear and important. We like our heroes to be perfect, but everybody has a weakness, and that’s fine (ie. I can’t avoid using Skype). But I didn’t like his reasoning to use an Apple laptop because it was in direct contradiction with the main message of his talk and because he referred to Richard Stallman’s peculiar way of browsing the web (through an email gateway) as a poor excuse.
As I said, I think it’s OK Phipps prefers Apple products because it makes life easier for him in some aspects (it might get in the way of his message, but still). What I can’t understand is why the alternative to using an Apple laptop is extreme browsing using email.
James Hugman: Technology of Dissent and Protest
This talk was about the different uses of technology that we have seen in action this years with the different riots and revolts around the world, staring with the the Arab Spring and ending with the Spanish 15M protests (he commented about the UK riots too; to state that looting it’s a different thing). Unfortunately we missed the start of the talk, but we could exchange some ideas with James later, in the corridor.
This was very interesting, thanks to the four panellists: Karen Sandler (Gnome Foundation), Simon Phipps (Open Source Initiative, amongst other things), Stuart Langridge (Canonical guy, Ubuntu One), Fabian A. Scherschel (Linux Outlaws) and Dan Lynch as host (Linux Outlaws).
They talked about a lot of different topics, but I would like to emphasize on their discussion about the Linux desktop (Gnome 3 vs Unity vs KDE vs the rest, current direction, the future, etc). It’s interesting how everybody wants a Linux desktop that is reachable for everybody, no matter the technical knowledge, as if Gnome 2 was overcomplicated to use.
Anyway, I’m not a big Gnome 3/Unity fan (although I’ve been using Unity at work for some months without too many annoyances, and I can’t say the same about Gnome 3), but I got a couple of refreshing ideas from that panel discussion (mainly from Karen).
Ken Boak: The Nanode project
Ken presented his Nanode board, that aims to be one board solution to getting projects on the web, available as a DIY kit around £20.
I’m not a big DIY fan myself (I’m the software-only-please kind of guy), but Alex found it very interesting and now she wants to do some kind of hi-tech watering solution for our greenhouse. I’m scared!
On the day two of the OggCamp Ken showed how to assemble a Nanode board in less than 45 minutes. Obviously he has soldering and assembling skills I can only dream of, but it was encouraging anyway.
Live Podcast Show!
This was the recording of a mashup podcast between Linux Outlaws and the Ubuntu UK Podcast, with the participation of the audience. I must confess I don’t follow regularly neither Linux Outlaws nor the Ubuntu UK Podcast (the only one podcast I’ve followed is Shot of Jaq, and it’s probably because it was a short podcast), but I found the show very funny.
Closing the day, beer at the pub
We had never been in Farnham before, and it’s a cute small town. We tried to make the most of our visit going for a walk between the live podcast and the beer time.
Besides the talks we enjoyed the atmosphere of the event (remember, about 300 attendees!), with a geeknick (lunch on the park), we bought a couple of O’Reilly books (40% discount, yay!), and meet a bunch of friendly interesting people.
After the beers we went back to Guildford, tired but happy, resolved to come back for the second day of OggCamp.