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Conferences

FOSDEM

This weekend is the annual FOSDEM conference in Brussels. I really enjoy FOSDEM but, for reasons I don’t really understand, this will be the first time I’ve been since 2005. It will also be one of the rare occasions where I attend a conference without giving a talk – the organisers turned down my proposed talk on Modern Perl.

I like FOSDEM because it’s not just a Perl conference. It’s about the wider open source movement. In fact Perl is a really small part of of the conference. In many years it has been completely unrepresented. One of the things I mentioned in my “M Word” talk at the London Perl Workshop was that Perl needed to be better represented at non-Perl conferences. With that in mind, the Perl Foundation has booked a stand at the conference and various volunteers (including me) will be there telling people about how wonderful Perl is.

The main driver behind this push to get Perl represented at other conferences has been Gabor Szabo and he’ll also be at FOSDEM giving a couple of talks. One is a lightning talk introducing people to Padre. The other is about packaging CPAN modules for Linux distributions. Those of you with long memories might remember me talking about this at YAPC in Copenhagen. I’m hoping that attending Gabor’s talk will galvanise me into having another go at my project to automatically build RPMs of many more CPAN modules than are currently available.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to be at FOSDEM this weekend. And that’s even before considering that it takes place in one of my favourite European cities. I might even treat myself to a Kwak in one of the bars on the Grand Place.

If you’re at FOSDEM next weekend, please stop by the Perl stand and say hello.

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Conferences

The “M” Word

Yesterday was the London Perl Workshop. As always it was a fabulous day packed full of great talks about Perl. Thanks to the organisers for all the work they put in.

I gave the keynote speech first thing in the morning. The talk was called The “M” Word and it was an overview of how the Perl community has started to get to grips with the problem of marketing over the last year.

Here are the slides:

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Conferences

London Perl Workshop

The London Perl Workshop is getting closer. It’s on Saturday 5th December at the University of Westminster’s Cavendish Street Campus (the same place it’s been for the last few years).

The schedule was announced a couple of days ago and, at always, it looks like a great line-up. I’m particularly pleased to see that Tatsuhiko Miyagawa will be there talking about Plack and PSGI‎ (although, slightly less pleased to see that it clashes with a presentation that I’m involved with).

I’m going to be involved in a few things at the workshop. They’ve invited me to give the keynote again, so I’m giving a talk called The “M” Word‎. Later in the day I’m giving a two hour tutorial called The Professional Programmer which will discuss some of the practicalities of working in the IT industry (this is largely aimed at the university’s students but others will also be welcome). Finally, towards the end of the day, I’ll be speaking alongside Matt Trout, Curtis Poe and Ed Freyfogle on a panel called Skills in the Workplace.

The LPW is always a great day. I hope you’ll come along and join in. Oh, and even if you can’t make it you can pretend you were there by buying one of the workshop t-shirts.

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Conferences

YAPC::Europe 2009

Today I travelled home from YAPC::Europe 2009 which was held in Lisbon. Readers of my other blog will know that I almost didn’t get there at all. The return journey was far less stressful.

On the weekend before the conference I gave a two-day “Introduction to Perl” course. We had six people on the course. I’m pretty happy with that as I think it’s a brave decision to have a beginners’ course at a Perl conference. I’m also happy to report that a third of the attendees were women.

There were four tracks of conference talks. This, of course, is guaranteed to lead to situations where you want to watch more than one talk at the same time. I think that at one point I really wanted to watch three of the four talks. Of course, there’s also the “hallway track” which is the best part of any good conference. This week there were two or three occasions when I found that I’d missed talks that I wanted to see because I had been so engrossed in an interesting conversation. All in all, I’m really glad that some of the talks were being recorded.

One highlight for me was meeting Paul Fenwick and Jacinta Richardson. I’ve been talking online to Paul and Jacinta for something like seven or eight years but we had never met face to face before because we spend most of out lives on opposite sides of the Earth. It was great to finally meet them. They’re as lovely in real life as they are online and they’re also both great speakers with interesting things to say.

Another highlight was the Marketing BOF that we held on Tuesday evening. There’s a growing concern in the Perl community that people outside of the community have an out of date and rather uncomplimentary view of Perl. The conference was full of people who had many ideas for fixing this. Ovid has a good description of this BOF over on use.perl so I won’t repeat the details here. I’ll just point out that some of us tried to have a similar meeting at EuroOSCON in 2005. At that time we had four people turn up. This week there were more than fifty.

The quiz show on Tuesday night was fun too. Greg and I were a last minute substitution as one of the teams failed to appear. We won our qualifying round, but came third (out of four) in the final. I was particularly embarrassed to have been beaten to the answer to the Buffy question.

And it seems that I owe the Perl community an apology. In his closing keynote, José Castro gave some examples of bad Perl advocacy. Number one on his list was my Why Corporates Hate Perl article. José pointed out that many people only read the title of an article and that my title was, perhaps, badly chosen. I’m sorry if I’ve caused any damage.

All in all, a great conference. Many thanks to the organisers for all of their hard work.

Hope to see you all in Pisa next year.

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Conferences

YAPC Travel Plans

On the offchance that anyone wants to travel at the same time, here are my travel plans for YAPC::Europe.

  • Flying from Heathrow to Lisbon on BA502 on Friday 31st July. Leaving at 15:05 and arriving at 17:45.
  • Staying in the Hotel Alif (possibly the least useful hotel web site that I’ve ever seen).
  • Flying from Lisbon to Heathrow on BA501 on Thursday 6th August. Leaving at 11:05 and arriving at 13:40.

I’m travelling a little earlier than many people because I hope to be running a training course on the weekend before the conference. I’ll post more details of that here when it’s confirmed (hopefully in the next couple of days).