3BT has been so crazy, I’ve hardly had a moment to scratch my arse (to use the Australian lingo). So now that I’m sitting here in Milan, with a cold sweat and stomach ache so bad I’m squinting, I finally have time to finish the blog story.
First stop was New Cambridge, home of the GNOME Boston Summit. I chuckled as I wandered across a commemorative plaque of William Dawes path to Lexington. (I had just been reading a comparison between him and the more memorable Paul Revere.) Lots of people at the summit, but heaps of cool stuff was done, particularly in the performance realm. 2.14 is truly going to rock the casbah. The Acetarium was full of smelly Nokia contractors, so I stayed at Luis and Krissa’s apartment. Luis is now a ‘Senior Technology Analyst’, or at least that’s what his business card says. Krissa said Luis almost ate my parting gift in one sitting… I will not buy furniture for Luis ever again. tigert took a great shot of the conference attendees on the last day:
After some apparently entertaining mistakes navigating the tube, my next stop was Old Cambridge. Matthew Garrett gave me a tour of the university, pointing out the reality checkpoint, and that most of it was vastly older than my home country. “Oh, this college is at least four times older than your entire country, but the new wing at this end is probably only twice as old.” Had a very traditional bangers-and-mash pub dinner, and met up with some of the Cambridge Debian Mafia (it seems they can’t be in the same place all at once, unless it’s at Uncle Steve’s) for beers and various other forms of alcohol. Mmm, morning sickness.
Checked out the London office. They wear pants to work and have little family-around-the-table lunches. Decided to adopt these strange conventions during my stay. Discovered that NTK covered 3BT’s UK leg. NTK! Holy crap! Was very pleased to hear that Ubuntu won Best Distribution at LWE London, though somewhat disturbed by the celebratory antics employed by Mark and Jane. At least we have evidence.
Found GLLUG, who were holding a special first-ever weeknight meeting. Thanks to Dean Wilson for organising the meeting, and his kind review. After the talk, we joined up with the Ubuntu crowd to celebrate the release of Ubuntu 5.10. Bounced around the pub meeting everyone – lots of interesting people doing cool things with Free Software. Will have to visit GLLUG again when I pass by London. Finished up the night with a late, late dinner and good discussion about Ubuntu, Debian, the future of the software industry, and so on. Mmm, morning sickness again.
Arrived in Amsterdam for EuroOSCON. It was well attended, so I hope O’Reilly felt it was successful and worth repeating. Had fun doing my keynote, and received a lot of positive feedback about it, which was great. It was covered in an O’Reilly Network article about Remembering the End User, so I figure I got the message across. What’s with the profile shots? Gah. Here’s another profile of me being emphatic about my final message: Put your foot down. Demand freedom. (Had to give the OS X users some stick, but it was good to see a much healthier ratio of OS X to Linux than in the USA.) Amsterdam definitely lived up to its reputation – just outside the hotel was an enormous stone buttplug (yes, I’m aware it’s the war memorial, no disrespect intended… I tried this joke out numerous times before posting it here):
Dennis Kaarsemaker rallied the GNOME, Ubuntu and local LUG troops to the University of Amsterdam, where I spoke for two and a half hours about the amazing things happening in the GNOME and Ubuntu worlds. So much to talk about! Despite the astounding breakage of my demos, it turned out well. (Beagle diddled the xattrs on my /home partition slightly too hard, such that the OS switched it into forced read-only mode. It was okay after a fsck, and I’ve taken user_xattrs out of fstab.) Managed to get sucked into keysigning over beers… I knew having my GPG fingerprint on my business card was a bad idea! Was great to catch up with Seveas, Treenaks, Mitario, reinouts and the rest of the gang – thanks very much to Dennis for bringing everyone together!
Back at EuroOSCON, I took a leaf out of Tom Stoppard’s book, and did a much shorter version of my talk… With working demos! Much drooling over the 770, NetworkManager, f-spot, Beagle, and the great new features in Ubuntu 5.10. Good responses all round – it’s really surprising and nice to receive praise for spreading the news about the things I love. Fell over laughing at Damian Conway’s final keynote – I hope some of the corporate presenters were there to see it.
Next stop, Milan! Met Sebastiano Mestre (holding an Ubuntu sign!) at the airport, who very kindly drove me to the hotel. Turns out the new airport in Milan is a long way from the centre of the city. Had dinner and a short nap… Woke up feeling dreadful. Hoping I can rest this off before I see Pipka in MÃ©rida, at the Open Source World Conference.