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McEs, A Hacker Life
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
 Free Software and Open Source Symposium

[Off topic: An initial Google Summer of Code report is out, with partial list of projects and map of participants.]

Yesterday (Monday) I attended the 4th Free Software and Open Source Symposium at Seneca college. Seneca is located in the York University campus by the way.

It turned out to be a good way to spend a day in leisure. The opening address, Open Source 101: Introduction to Collaboration, was yet another Creative Commons Canada talk, but the presenter (Marcus Bornfreund) had this ironed out style that gets deep in. One point he was stressing was: there's no Open Source software, there's software released under an Open Source license. Not many people agreed though.

Next slot I made the mistake of going for the Python Power -- Learning, Teaching and Doing with the World's Easiest Programming Language talk, which can be shortened without loss of information in: "Python is a very easy language, but it's not a toy language." Eek.

Skipped the slot before lunch. After lunch was LTSP - Changing the Rules of the Desktop World by Jim McQuillan. Now this one I could easily relate to. Jim was, kinda, one of us... compared to most of the rest of the attendees who were mostly consumers of Open Source software, and affiliated with a small company (of their own.) Don't bite me on this point though. Jim's presentation was, needless to say, interesting. Lesson learned: Our X terminals at the school crash when we open a lot of tabs with lots of graphics in Mozilla most probably because they have not set up swap space for the X terminal, so, when X fills up the available memory, kernel OOM-kills it. Simple, eh? Poor us.

Next talk was The Life-cycle of Open Source: The Renaissance of X, by Seneca's Chris Tyler. Even though I knew all the stuff he talked about (the history of X, recent rise, etc.), his presentation was awesome: presented in the Lessig method, with a remote and synchronized to the millisecond. Really enjoyed it.

The final presentation was a weird one, Ruby, Blackboard and the Challenge for Open Source by Stephen Downes.

Read Fernando Duran's account of the conference for more detailed information.

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