Reflected Pensiveness

beneath the leaky pipe of thought.

POSSCON Summary

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I should have posted this right when I got back from POSSCON this past weekend, and I also should have taken pictures while I was there. But I still need to write this down before I forget it all, so here it goes:

Lee Congdon opens his presentation on the state of open source software.

Lee Congdon opens his presentation on the state of open source software.

The morning opened up with a keynote by Lee Congdon, Red Hat’s CIO.  He presented on “Open Source Software Today”.  His presentation (in PDF format) can be found here.  I feel like it was a good opening keynote simply because it was from Red Hat.  POSSCON’s population was a dichotomy of businessmen and developers.  If Red Hat’s CIO isn’t in a position to relate business and open source software, I’m not really sure who is.

Following Congdon’s talk, the attendees split into business and developer tracks.  I can’t speak much to the business track, but I sat in on all the developer lectures.  The first presentation was by Greg DeKoenigsberg.  He talked largely about contributing to Fedora, so has heard most of it before.  I still enjoyed it though, and even learned a bit of Fedora history.  Following Greg, though, we had an absolutely enthralling talk on open source tools for Windows developers, which can be found here.  We learned a bit about Notepad++ and such (which I’ll actually say is a nice program that I’ve used on occasion), but it seemed like we learned about Visual Studio.  Maybe it’s open source these days, I haven’t checked…

Greg talking about the process of becoming a contributer and the essence of the Fedora community.

Greg talking about the process of becoming a contributer and the essence of the Fedora community.

After the Microsoft presentation, lunch was served.  I was impressed, actually, but that might be because I’m used to Clemson food (which I’m also continually impressed with; it gets repetitive after a while, though).  Our second Keynote wasn’t as interesting to me, but I admire the work that Keith Bergelt is doing with the Open Invention Network.  Following his talk, the developers attended a session on functional programming with Haskell, Erlang, and Clojure.  The talk, which had a beautiful visual presentation, was given by the guys from Catamorphic Labs, and can be found here.

The presentation actually perked my interest in these languages, so I tried installing them during the presentation.  I hit some problems, though.  The biggest problem was the lack of wireless internet.  I have no idea how USC doesn’t have full service WiFi across Amoco Hall, which I’m pretty sure is their building of Computer Science and Engineering.  USCGuest, which we were supposed to be using, would pop up occasionally, but it was virtually unusable.  The best I ever got was the “Do you accept USC’s terms of agreement?” page, and that was on my iPod (which seems to have better reception than most laptop, oddly enough).  As a Clemson student, I just have to remind anyone from USC that we have a secure WPA2 Enterprise wireless network as well as an open “clemsonguest” network fully operational in every building on campus.  You guys should work on that.

It happens, in fact, that I had previously downloaded the source for Haskell via DarwinPorts on the OS X half of my laptop, but it was throwing some errors trying to build it.  I’ve found the problem (and a patch), but it’s a little late now.  Nonetheless, the presentation was one of my favorites (even though I was pretty tired at this point).  The next presentation was on trusted systems.  It was alright, but I have to admit that I was feeling dead tired at that point.  I also failed to win any free books.  I feel like I was entitled to the last one they gave out, because only one person beat me for it and he already had a book.  But I guess now he has two, and that’s okay.

Functional programming taught by example.

Functional programming taught by example.

Our closing Keynote was by Tom Persons.  It was about why developers are important to South Carolina.  I’m sure it was important and interesting, but I was just too tired to store anything for me to recall now that I’m writing about it.

Overall, it was worth it, although probably more for the networking than the presentations.  I spent a lot of time talking with David Nalley, who was kind enough to give me a ride there and back.  I also met a few people for dinner afterwards, as well as some people from the Charleston LUG (which I hope to attend meetings of over the summer).

Any regrets?

I didn’t steal one of the Red Hat hats in time.  They were all gone when I went to get one.

All of the presentations from POSSCON can be found in pdf, odp, and ppt at http://posscon.org/presentations.php.

Disclaimer: Since I didn’t take pictures myself, I have shamelessly used pictures from the POSSCON Facebook group.  I’m going to make the assumption, even though they didn’t specify a license, that putting them on Facebook and being an Open Source event means that they intend them to be used under something like Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike. If anyone would like me to take these down, just shoot me an email.  The photo pool I drew from can be found at http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=75688002968.

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Written by Matthew Daniels

April 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Reviews, Technology

Tagged with , , ,

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