My short time in Spain was defined mostly by my Barajas, Badajoz experience, which roughly translates to evil travel plan fuckage. I flew into Madrid‘s Barajas airport, thinking I would be picked up there (as Pia was), but the organisers thought I was arriving at Badajoz, the nearest, teeny-tiny airport to Merida. Hilarity ensued. So I finally arrived at Merida, and thoroughly enjoyed the picturesque town, the wonderful energy of the Spaniards, really getting to know maddog, and spending precious hours in the middle of 3BT with Pipka. I must admit, I chuckled at the idea of an OPEN SOURCE WORLD CONFERENCE being held in a small town in Spain, but the bold name definitely described the scope of the audience. Delegates came from all over the world, representing some of the most interesting – mostly deployment oriented – action in the Free Software world. If you thought the Ubuntu-stocked Brazilian digital bus was rad, the Extremaduran’s double-decker digitial bus will blow you away.
Getting back was… ouch. I ended up flying from Merida to Santiago, and then on to London, where I stayed for about 14 hours to “connect” with my flight to Montreal. But it wasn’t going to be that easy. At Boston I was informed that the flight was over-booked, so I was quickly directed to an Air Canada flight through Toronto to Montreal. Finally, I had arrived. But my baggage hadn’t. At least not at the same time. It managed to fly out on the original direct flight, so I had to chase after Air Canada staff to find my bag… Which was now rated as a security hazard because it had flown without a person attached to it. Finally, it arrived, and I was allowed to have it. Finally! Okay, maybe not so final. A week of Ubuntu love awaited at the hotel.
First up, we (the management team) astounded ourselves by finishing the first day’s schedule a day early, thanks to James Henstridge’s awesome, algorithmic acrobatics. Somehow, we interpreted “work complete” as “party time”, so proceeded to drink and dance until about 04:00… the morning of Ubuntu Love Day. D’oh! Despite the vicious hangover, croaky voice and weak knees, we rocked ULD with a great crowd of (mostly Quebecistani) free software lovers. Just over 100 attendees, which I thought was pretty sweet, considering we didn’t know a huge amount about the local community before choosing Montreal for UBZ. We filled the morning with presentations from Ubuntu developers and contributors, then in the afternoon we ran two workshops – one for budding MOTUs, presented by Daniel Holbach and Oliver Grawert, while Jane and I presented advocacy and guerilla marketing for Ubuntu.
At one point during Ubuntu Love Day, on the #ubz IRC channel, I noticed a nick I recognised (“mkp”) and asked if the owner happened to be Martin K. Petersen. It was. I asked if he was at Ubuntu Love Day. He was. HOLY CRAP! Martin K. Petersen of GDM fame (who passed maintainership to the Queen of England) at UBZ! Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to catch up with him, but it was great to meet a true veteran of the GNOME world at an Ubuntu event. Totally cool.
UBZ itself was fast-paced and intense, and we got a heck of a lot of great work done. Not only did we hammer out solid goals for Dapper Drake, but we spent a lot of time working with the Launchpad team. I’m looking forward to the user interface, workflow and feature improvements that we discussed. It’s shaping up well!
I’m starting to get picky about hotel service now, having been to a bunch that rock and suck. During UBZ, not only were the staff dismally inpolite, but the hotel had a serious security problem, resulting in the theft of three laptops by outside culprits (some of whom we saw twice, and followed). My bag was stolen from the hotel restaurant on the last day of the conference, which has made my 3BT adventure that much more interesting. Luckily, it didn’t have my passport in it, but I did lose my camera, laptop, phone/pda, wallet and infamous green paper notebook. Lack of credit card makes for an interesting tour, compounded by the fact that I have to wait until I’m in the one place for a useful period of time before I can get the emergency replacement. Terribly bad timing, all of this. Before leaving Montreal, Jane gave me $400 Canadian to survive on, and wished me luck. GOOD MORNING ADVENTURE LOVERS!
So if you’re wondering why I haven’t replied to an important email, it’s most likely because you sent it between the time I left home (early October) and a few days ago.
Next stop, Toronto! I turned up at Behdad‘s place, only to bore him with furious presentation reconstitution. During my travels, I’ve spent quite a bit of time honing the elements of my 3BT slides, so I had to work very hard to bring my pre-tour version up to speed. Martijn’s video of my (uh, very complete) Amsterdam speech helped greatly. The turnout at UoT was good, my talk went over well, and I was feeling so foolishly content that I invited everyone to linuxcaffe for breakfast at 7am the next morning. Ouch! Had a great time at the pub afterward, got to catch up briefly with Jody, was surprised to meet Brad Hovinen (homepage of his current incarnation) and John McCutchan (who doesn’t have a homepage, but his Kernel Traffic quotes page will do). HOLY CRAP! Great night, and fun breakfast at the linuxcaffe. Thanks Behdad!
So now I’m sitting somewhere in the centre of New Jersey, after presenting to LUG/IP (LUG in Princeton) last night, looking forward to visiting Red Hat Headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Whoosh!