DebConf9 Cáceres summary (uncut)

August 19, 2009 – 4:36 am by Adnan Hodzic

If you get to write a DebConf9 cover story for a magazine (for money) + after conference you end up in London with your gf + … We’ll I guess that’s enough of a reason to conclude why I haven’t wrote anything in 3 weeks after conference’s end Smile

Besides all that, this DebConf left such a great impact on me, that I’m still going through all my impressions. Even though I didn’t mention anything here or anywhere really, I had big plans Wink Either way I attended this years annual Debian developer conference from 23th to 31rd of July, which was held in Cáceres, Extramadura, Spain.

Getting to Cáceres

My route was following: Zagreb > Stuttgart > Madrid > Cáceres; Even while still in Zagreb, I “bumped” into Bosnian most famous rapper “Edo Maajka”, so trip started just fine Smile

Stuttgart didn’t go bad itself either, except they asked me couple of weird questions on the border, being Bosnian and all … no biggie Wink

However, Madrid was the problem, first we were running late for some 30 minutes, then once we landed on Barajas which is huge, we kept “driving” around the airport for another 30 minutes. This was crucial for my “travel schedule” since any unexpected time deviations and I won’t be able to catch my train to Cáceres. Plan was utterly simple, get to “aeropuerto” terminal, get on a metro/subway that is part of the airport, get to this station and get a train to Cáceres … simple as that.

Also I was supposed to meet with Eddy Petrisor (which I know back way from wormux project) on this same airport, of course in all of this confusion I completely forgot about him Smile

Problem was I was late for more then a hour and no one spoke English; to make things even worse I finally get to Chamartin and I misunderstood Jimmy (Kaplowitz) that I need to get my ticket to Cáceres on a vending machine. Vending machine “speaks” only Spanish … after loosing my last minutes I figure out I wasn’t supposed to get my ticket on a vending machine; I finally get to a place where I’m supposed to get tickets … in completely broken English salesperson says “Traaayn tempo … ” and waves his hand gesturing train was long gone …

I keep running around the whole thing like a absolute lunatic, I knew my last train was gone, I had money and everything I had no problem sleeping over in Madrid but I didn’t give up, and kept acting as a loony and trying to catch my last train which was long gone.

I finally get to a my (supposedly) gate, I see train leaving; I wave at the person closing the door; he stops; I get in; no ticket; nor clear idea where the train was going or anything. Apparently, that was my last train, it turns out train was going to Lisbon, couple of hours later, I do get to Cáceres.

What’s lesson to this? I didn’t give up, I refused to back down and stop even all hope was lost. So whatever you’re doing, whatever your endeavors are, never give up and result should follow, eventually Smile

Duh!? Smile

DebConf9 Cáceres

I get off the train, it was around 2 am, date 23rd July. I don’t make 2 steps out of the train and there he is, Eddy! Grin We decide to walk and catch up with some talk, long time no see eh? We talk about many things, from wormux devel to C# vs Java platform portability to how we both need this DebConf to give us some kind of motivational “boost”; soon afterward we get to student residence “Diego Muñoz-Torrero” which was DebConf9 main venue.

For this years DC, I was a Bosnian “prophet” whose mission was to hold a speech on “DebConf11 in your city” and make Bosnian official bid for DebConf11 candidature. Besides me, I shared podium with Joerg Jaspert (Ganneff) who’s German team leader. This is something, I haven’t told too many people about, mostly due to my strategy to acquire competent and responsible people for our local team. All other countries are “out” and Bosnia is competing for DebConf11 in which we’re left with the most serious competitor of them all, Germany. I’ll talk more about this, later in this post.

Cáceres

There was something really special with this DebConf, Cáceres is an awesome place, disregarding its size (<= 100k inhabitants) has highly enviable night life as well as cultural events and manifestations. Government (which is autonomous btw) was one of the sponsors for this event, besides some “big shots” such as Google, Intel and such, I also noticed that Cáceres is European City of Culture for 2016 which only makes you “thumbs up” for government which is rarely the case.

Only problem was the actual heat, sun would literally come out at 6 am and go “full throttle” until 10 pm; so you wouldn’t really be able to go anywhere until ~ 7 pm, but the better side to this story is that you could enjoy wonderful pools Grin So … it’s all good Wink

DebConf9

I hate crowds, I hate festivals, but DC is the only place where I’m surrounded by 300 geeks and where I don’t feel “cornered” but where I truly feel among my own kind/species Smile

One of the biggest changes that occurred on this DC are one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time now, and that is that Debian decides to adopt time-based release freezes!

“The Debian project has decided to adopt a new policy of time-based development freezes for future releases, on a two-year cycle. Freezes will from now on happen in the December of every odd year, which means that releases will from now on happen sometime in the first half of every even year. To that effect the next freeze will happen in December 2009, with a release expected in spring 2010. The project chose December as a suitable freeze date since spring releases proved successful for the releases of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (codenamed Etch) and Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (Lenny).” … full story

Following this new policy next Debian release 6.0 “Squeeze” should be out in spring of next year Smile Regarding “direct” Debian development, I too had some ideas that I’d like to see in Debian, and I’ve talked to some developers who want to work on the same! I won’t say anything yet, but we should start work around September, want to give ourselves some more free time Razz Until then, stay tuned.

I really think, this was one of the most successful DC up to date, even current Debian leader Steve McIntyre said the same thing:

This has been one of the most productive conferences we have ever held. Our developers and teams achieved a great deal during this short period, and this will surely have a big impact on the upcoming release of Squeeze.

Also, before I forget, traditional Wine and Cheese party was really unforgettable Smile I’ll make sure I move the “borders” next year and bring bottle of finest absinthe to the same Wink

DebConf 11 Bosnia and Herzegovina

As I previously mentioned (see above), I announced Bosnian official bid for DebConf11; I pretty much worked whole DC on realizing this idea (even missed the daytrip cuz of all the work that needed to be done! Frown), by preparing the speech, working presentation for the speech and wiki page (let me use this opportunity to thank change for all the help and assistance!), lack of sleep … ah lack of everything, until the actual “to be or not to be”.

I was a wreck, even started smoking for those couple of days (even tho I quit long time ago), mostly due to the reason I kept worried that it won’t be as I planned it, or that I’ll forget to say some of the crucial information or something like that Smile

Anticipation kept kicking in until the last moment, until I stepped on that podium, and everything just started going pretty much as I planned it Smile As they say picture describes 1000 words since you were able to watch it live on DC9 website, video is still not uploaded on servers, but once it is you’ll be first to know Smile I do think, speech went pretty good, and most of people that seen it/attended it said they loved it, and that even at some point it touched them “sentimentally”. To prove my point, there are even people from Germany who are opting for Bosnia.

However, this is only the start and we have to keep the pace if we want to get anywhere, since Germany has the largest Debian team after USA.

For those who are interested to find out more about the whole thing: http://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/DebConf11/Bosnia

For those of you who have any questions, please mail us at debconf11-bosnia@lists.debconf.net or use Contact above.

Next years DebConf is in NYC, I’m also one of the organizers, so it should be fun Smile

Conclusion?

DebConf9 Group Photo

Well, as I mentioned in beginning of this post, this DC left huge impact on me and was definitely the “boost” I needed. I’ll enjoy London as much as I can, and starting September, I’ll be more then ready to start working on Debian as never before Smile

P.S: Bosnian/Balkans people, to read the special edition of this cover story, get the September issue of INFO magazine Smile

See you next year in New York City!

Some of the images in this post are copyright of Aigars Mahinovs (aigarius)

Update:

Video from my DebConf in Your City  speech can be found on:
http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2009/debconf9/high/993_DebConf_11_in_your_city.ogv HQ 475mb