Perl QA Hackathon in Rugby, 21-24 April 2016: healthy snacking and other catering

I attended the Perl QA Hackathon in Rugby ( ).  Of course the hackathon started a day early (20th) and ended not until everybody left on the day after (25th), but that is typical for Perl hackers.  QA Hackathon, what does that mean?  QA stands for Quality Assurance, which means all attendees work hard on improving the quality of Perl.  Fixing problems both old and new, fixing bugs, improving documentation, setting up guidelines and protocols, adding new features, changing existing features, and sometimes even killing off unwanted features.  Hackathon is a hacker’s marathon, and the marathon part does not mean it is a game or a match, it just means it lasts long, it goes on and on and on for hours and days and at the end, the hackers are tired and mostly happy and proud.  A hacker in our hackathon is a white-hat hacker, a friendly person, set on improving the world.  Not the black-hat hacker, who should be called a cracker, who wants to steal, destroy and misinform.  I was feeding the hackers and taking notes, so my role was limited, I definitely not worked as a hacker.

I offered my services as a keeper of notes.  Meaning, I attended four meetings, of the type “sit with 2 or more people around a table, have some things to discuss, and maybe even have a vote about topics”.  I took notes.  I wrote down the notes in a document, and I sent the document by mail to the leader of the meeting.  The leader would have to rework it extensively to make it useful, it was just the things that were said.  Sounds easy enough.  Well, I am not much of a coder, and the meetings were at times extremely technical, and people used words I never heard before, so every now and then I had to ask somebody to repeat a sentence.  It seems that I was not the only one that benefited from my interruptions.  :-)   Anyway, I took notes at the meetings “Test2/Test::Builder”, “The River of CPAN”, “Test2”, and “Naming of the next QA Hackathon”.IMG_7144

I offered to take care of food and drinks.  But the organisers (Neil Bowers, Barbie and JJ Allen) already arranged with the (excellent) staff of the Rugby Hotel ( ) that we would have breakfast and lunch in the hotel, and they also arranged tea and coffee and juices to be served throughout the day.  So I wondered what my contribution could be.  Well, I am a bit of a mad person, so it became clear very fast.  There’s never enough fruit, tomatoes and other snackable veggies, cookies, candy, chocolate and more.  The hotel people said they could provide this, but were a bit baffled by the quantities I mentioned.  And no, I was not allowed into the kitchen, because of insurance problems that might arise.

In the 2 days before the hackathon started, I checked out the surrounding area for shops to buy food.  I found acceptable nearby shops (like ASDA) and superb shops a bit farther away (Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer).  The travel distance to the better shops was a nuisance.  The nearby ASDA turned out to be very good actually.

I bought a colander, a small knife and a bigger one, a nice wooden cutting board, some detergent, several rolls of kitchen paper, several nice bowls and plastic containers.  Every day, I bought grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, apples, oranges, pears, cherry-tomatoes, radishes.  I also bought cucumber, plums, olives and carrots, but hardly anybody took them, so I didn’t go for those again.  All the fruit and veggies had to be cleaned, and stripped of leaves, stems, roots, and bruised/bad/moldy spots; the completely bad ones just were removed; then another cleaning, with water; and drying, with kitchen paper.  Serve in a bowl or plastic container.

Hygiene was of the utmost importance to me, so I kept cleaning the sink and the floor in my room’s bathroom, and of course the knives, the wooden cutting board, the colander, the bowls, etc.

I also bought cookies, because, well, hackers without chocolate chip cookies, it’s weird.  Several types.  Also, some cookies without chocolate.  And chocolate bars and chocolate bonbons.  I found some vegan cookies too, and vegan chocolate.  For some reason, several people wanted Haribo candy (personally, I despise the stuff, it contains ground up animal bones, the smell is abhorrent), so I bought it for them. Other types of candy.  Several types of English cheese (I brought a Dutch cheese slicer from home, because I wasn’t sure I would find one in Rugby, and I was right about that).  I refused to buy “energy drinks” (ghastly horrible stuff), but I did buy some sugarfree cola (also quite horrible).

For the vegan attendee, I once bought some “fake milk” (inIMG_7353 this case I think it was almond milk) and I forgot to buy a second package.

All this helped fill a big food table (see the pictures). People now just have to take a plate and take several of the fruits and veggies they like, add a cookie and a candy and a chocolate bonbon.  Or while walking from one room to the other, take one as a quick snack.  I was amazed how fast some items would “vanish”, especially the strawberries were eaten like they are a miracle food.

If you want to organise a hackathon or a small workshop, I think you should consider doing something like this.  Otherwise people will go out the door to buy stuff for themselves, and that disrupts their (and others’) rhythm in work, and discussions.  It makes thinks go smoother when they have a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks.  Try to get a volunteer to do this for you, maybe somebody not technical enough to contribute in the programming stuff, but who still wants to contribute.

In total I bought and prepared and served over 10 kg of strawberries, 12 kg of grapes, 10 kg of bananas, 5 kg of radishes, 10 kg of cherry-tomatoes, and much more.  It was part of my company’s sponsoring of the event, and it did cost only several hundred pounds (much less than what a typical sponsored dinner evening would cost).

Time was more an issue, indeed: shopping, preparing, serving, and cleaning, cost me several hours a day.  But looking back at it, it was a pleasure.  People were quite happy with the food.  Just standing at the other side of the room and seeing 5 people each fill a plate with the food and walking away while eating some of it, and in the meantime also talking about technical issues with the other people, and after those 5 people soon others visited, well, that’s a reward in itself.  Maybe I am a bit responsible for some good stuff ( ) in Perl because of this food.  Nice thought.

Fosdem – Perl devroom schedule 31Jan2016 and booth 30&31Jan2016

Hello all,

Fosdem, the Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting.  See all about it on

Perl-devroom in H-building
The Perl-community will be present with a big booth and a so-called devroom.  The devroom will be on Sunday (!) in room H.2214 (not like last years in K-building, and this room can hold 100 people, instead of the 85 of last years), and you can see the schedule on .

Everybody is welcome in our very own devroom at the FOSDEM in Brussels on Sunday, January 31st, starting at 09:00, ending at 17:00.  We have 12 presentations by 12 speakers.  Most talks, 7 of them, will be 40 minutes, 4 talks will be 20 minutes and one lasts 30 minutes.  The schedule will be interesting for Perl- and non-Perl-people alike, with topics ranging from RPerl, mathematics, teaching Perl, to updates on the status of Perl 5 and Perl 6.  There will be no coffee-, tea- or lunchbreaks,  between every talk is just a short 5-minutes break.

We did have quite a lot of nice proposals, even before doing a Call for Speakers, that we could fill a second day in our devroom.  We finished the schedule within the deadline, so we will be printed nicely with our schedule in the FOSDEM conference-booklet.

Booth in K-building
As last years, we have a big booth again, with two tables, in the same building as last year (but not in the same building as our devroom this year!!!).  On both days of FOSDEM: 30&31 January 2016. You can find us in K building, level 2, and among our neighbours you will find Google Summer of Code, Mediawiki, Mozilla, Apache, Jenkins, and many more.  See for info about which communities will have a stand.

At the booth you will find the largest library of Perl-books, the big Perl camel, goodies, brochures, tuits, buttons, stickers, soft toy camels in three sizes, wine from the city of Perl, Perl t-shirts, and quite a bit more.

See  for where the buildings are.  See  for directions on how to get to FOSDEM.  Go to the Free University Brussels, Campus Solbosh, and meet 6,000 to 7,000 open source enthusiasts.

You can to contribute to our booth.  Bring brochures, job descriptions, pens, books, buttons, t-shirts, stickers, and other goodies from your company, institutation, organisation, as long as it has something to do with Perl,  Please bring that with you.  If we can use it for Perl promotion, and if there is still room on the tables (!), we will put it there and give it away.  Or we sell it and use the proceeds for a donation to The Perl Foundation.

Help with the booth?
You can help with the booth too.  On Saturday morning at 08:00 (we will try to be sharp on time) we will arrive with a small truck at the left entrance of K-building (see the map )and start unloading it and setting up the booth.  Every year, some people help us to move the boxes with books, the camel, and other things, and make our work lighter (thank you!!!).

On Sunday afternoon, around 16:30. we have to start breaking down and cleaning up.  I know that Liz Mattijsen gives her talk about Perl 6 ( ), and I can’t attend it this time, but cleaning must be done, and I want to be in time for the restaurant.  So, if some people can be around to help me, that would be grand!

Beer Event in Delirium
Friday night is the famous Beer Event ( ) at Delirium Café (Impasse de la Fidélité 4, Brussels,  It will be enormously busy as always, with many hundreds of people (more than 1,000?).  We know that a group of at least 6 Perl Mongers will come, and some of us will try to come early and conquer our own table / corner, probably on the first floor (so not the ground floor, the one upstairs!).  Pay for your own drinks…

And don’t come too late.  Rather soon, the Delirium Café will be filled with people, and the alley it is located in will be filled with people, and when that happens, the alley will be closed by security people, and you have to wait for people to get out before you can get in.

Get some dinner before you come in, there are many restaurants in the streets around Delirium (too many of them are tourist traps, so beware, make a good choice).

Dinner on Saturday and on Sunday
Saturday night we want to have dinner with a large group of people at Brasserie-restaurant La Porteuse d’Eau (the waterbearer), Avenue Jean Volders 48, Brussels (see ).  We have reserved space for 50 people at 18:00 and later, on the first floor (again, not the ground floor, but upstairs).   You are welcome to register with Wendy van Dijk (wendy (at) wendy (dot) org).  Only people who have registered can join us (last year it got a bit busy, so we have to do it this way).  Also tell Wendy about any dietary wishes, because the menu will be limited to only a small number of options, and there will be a vegan menu and a vegetarian menu.  Price is €25 per person (drinks are included, dinner is sponsored), to be paid in cash to Wendy.  Speakers in our devroom, and the “designated volunteers” (you know who you are) don’t pay for dinner nor drinks (I still would like to know that you come).

On Sunday, after we cleaned the booth and stored all stuff in our van, we will have dinner in La Becasse ( ),  which is on walking distance from the university: Chaussée de Boondaal 476, Ixelles / Brussels.  We have reserved room for 30 people at 18:00, and later.  Again, you have to tell Wendy that you want to join us, so please send an email to Wendy.  Price is €25 per person (drinks are included, dinner is sponsored), to be paid in cash to Wendy.  Speakers in our devroom, and the “designated volunteers” (you know who you are) don’t pay for dinner nor drinks (I still would like to know that you come).

Thanks and hugs
Many thanks to all who have talked, thought, chatted, mailed with us, who proposed a talk, who helped spread the call for talks, offered to volunteer.  Excellent cooperation!

Hope to see you Friday, Saturday, Sunday, in Brussels, Belgium.

Kind regards,

Wendy van Dijk

Why would you want to use Perl 6? Some answers.

People ask me what’s so special about Perl 6.  Well, there are a lot of answers to that.  One of the answers is a long list of the things that make Perl 6 different from Perl 5, and that make Perl 6 different from a lot of other programming languages.  So, here goes!

General topics

  • Perl 6 is a clean, modern, multi-paradigm language; it offers procedural, object-oriented AND functional programming methodologies.
  • Easy to use consistent syntax, using invariable sigils for data-structures.
  • Perl 6 is a very mutable language (define your own functions, operators, traits and data-types, which modify the parser for you).
  • Adding a custom operator or adding a trait is as simple as writing a subroutine.
  • Advanced error reporting based on introspection of the compiler/runtime state.  This means more useful, more precise error messages.
  • Multiple versions of a module can be installed and loaded simultaneously.
  • System administration is simplified due to simpler update/upgrade policies.
  • Runtime optimization of hot code paths during execution (JIT), by inlining small subroutines and methods.
  • Runs on small (e.g. Raspberry Pi) and large multi-processor hardware.
  • Garbage collection based: no timely destruction, so no ref-counting necessary.  Use phasers for timely actions.
  • Fewer lines of code allow for more compact program creation.  Huffman-coding of names allows for better readability.


  • Full grapheme based Unicode support, including Annex #29, meaning almost unparalleled excellent Unicode support.
  • Regular expressions are cleaned up, made more readable, taken to the next level of usability, with a lot more functionality.  Named regular expressions are made possible for ease of use.
  • Extensible grammars for parsing data or code (which Perl 6 uses to parse itself).
  • Execute code at any time during parsing of a grammar, or when a certain match occurred.


  • Dynamic variables provide a lexically scoped alternative to global variables.
  • Emphasis on composability and lexical scoping to prevent “action at a distance”.  For example, imports are always lexically scoped.
  • Easy to understand consistent scoping rules and closures.
  • Phasers (like BEGIN / END) allow code to be executed at scope entry / exit, loop first / last / next and many more special contexts.

Object-Oriented Programming

  • Powerful object orientation, with classes and roles (everything can be seen as an object). Inheritance. Subtyping. Code-reuse.
  • Introspection into objects and meta-objects (turtles all the way down).
  • Meta Object Protocol allowing for meta-programming without needing to generate / parse code.
  • Subroutine and method signatures for easy unpacking of positional and named parameters, and data structures.
  • Methods can be mixed into any instantiated object at runtime, e.g. to allow adding out-of-band data.


  • Multi dispatch on identically named subroutines/methods with different signatures, based on arity, types and optional additional code.
  • Compile time error reporting on unknown subroutines / impossible dispatch.
  • Optional gradual type-checking at no additional runtime cost.  With optional type annotations.
  • Easy command-line interface accessible by MAIN subroutine with multiple dispatch and automated usage message generation.

Concurrency, Parallelism, Asynchrony

  • High level concurrency model, both for implicit as well as explicit multi-processing, which goes way beyond primitive threads and locks.  Perl 6’s concurrency offers a rich set of (composable) tools.
  • Multiple-core computers are getting used more and more, and with Perl 6 these can be used thanks to parallelism, both implicit (e.g. with the >>. method) and explicit ( start { code } ).  This is important, because Moore’s Law is ending.
  • Structured language support is provided to enable programming for asynchronous execution of code.
  • Supplies allow code to be executed when something happens (like a timer, or a signal, or a file-system event, or gui events).
  • The keywords react / whenever / supply allow easy construction of interactive, event driven applications.


  • Junctions allowing easy checking of multiple possibilities, e.g. $a == 1|3|42 (meaning is $a equal to 1 or 3 or 42).
  • Lazy evaluation when possible, eager evaluation when wanted or necessary.   This means, for example, lazy lists, and even infinite lazy lists, like the Fibonacci sequence, or all prime numbers.
  • Lazy lists defined with a simple iterator interface, which any class can supply by minimally supplying a single method.
  • Native data types for faster, closer to the metal, processing.
  • Floating point math without precision loss because of Rats (rational numbers).
  • Large selection of data-types, plus the possibility to create your own types.
  • Multi-dimensional shaped and/or native arrays with proper bounds checking.
  • Automatic generation of hyper-operators on any operator (system or custom added).


  • Interfacing to external libraries in C / C++ is trivially simple with NativeCall.
  • Interfacing with Perl 5 (CPAN) / Python modules is trivially simple with Inline::Perl5 resp. Inline::Python.
  • Perl 6 runs on a variety of back-ends.  Currently MoarVM & JVM, JavaScript is in development, more may follow.

So, and now, what to do now?

Install Perl 6, and learn how to use it, of course!
Getting started:
For most people, download and installation instructions can be found here:
The simplest way to install Perl 6 is to use Rakudobrew:

Useful places to start learning Perl 6                                                Perl 6 Introduction              Perl 6 version of Learn x in y minutes       Perl 6 section of solving problems with different programming languages                     Perl 6 Advent calendar: every day leading up to Advent, a new interesting Perl 6 example                           Perl 6 Weekly, with the latest developments in Perl 6                                  Perl 6 Guts, the newest innards of Perl 6 explained by Jonathan Worthington                                Strangely Consistent, an insightful blog by Carl Masak                                                       Perl 6 Planet, a collection of blogs and articles                                Screencasts about Perl 6, by Gabor Szabo       If you ever have the chance to attend a presentation by Damian, enjoy!                                              Perl 6 Design Documents: This is the core of what is Perl 6                                Reddit page with many useful articles on Perl 6

Get involved and contribute
The Perl 6 homepage at  links to many useful resources.

IRC: the channel #perl6 on discusses all things Perl 6. The people are very friendly and very busy developing Perl 6.  Keep an eye on this to stay up-to-date.   The channel is logged, and you can read back to see what has been discussed:

Mailing lists: send an email with subject ‘subscribe’ to:        Announcements and news.  Low traffic.                User questions and discussions regarding the Perl 6 language and compilers.         For issues regarding the Perl 6 language specification.         For issues regarding various Perl 6 compilers

Have fun!

Perl 6.0.0 aka Perl 6.c is released this christmas, so let’s celebrate

After 15 years of development, the work by hundreds of people has resulted in a shiny lovely beautiful useful Perl 6.0.0, also called Perl 6.c (for christmas).  Congratulations to Larry Wall, Jonathan Worthington, Liz Mattijsen, Will Coleda, Audrey Tang, and all the other people that contributed.  Thanks to Will Coleda for being the release manager, and for finishing this Christmas.

Please spread the word! Blog, tweet, post on technical sites, write on your mailing lists, mention on your Facebook page. Perl 6 is released with Christmas. Thanks!

Perl-devroom at FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday, 31 January 2016

This just in.  Perl gets a devroom  at FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday, 31 January 2016.

Doors open at 10:30, close at 19:00, no (lunch or coffee or tea) breaks between the talks.  The room number is yet to be announced (so we don’t know the seating capacity of the room yet, in 2015 our room could hold 90 people).  There will be WIFI and a VGA projector.

You are welcome to send your talk proposals to me.  Read about that here:

FOSDEM 30 & 31 January 2016 – Brussels, Belgium – Call for Speakers

Call for Speakers
Fosdem, Brussels, 30&31 January 2016


Free University Brussels, Campus Solbosh:

Please send in your presentation proposal.  What do we want from you?

  • Your name
  • Email address
  • A short bio (couple of lines about who you are, what you do, what special things you have done in the past that make you proud)
  • A recent picture of you
  • Title of your presentation (shorter is better)
  • Short description of your presentation (couple of paragraphs)

Send your proposal to:
Wendy van Dijk (email: wendy at
Claudio Ramirez (email: claudio at

What is FOSDEM, and why a call for speakers?
Taking place in the beautiful city of Brussels (Belgium), FOSDEM is the biggest free and non-commercial European event organized by and for the community. Its goal is to provide Free and Open Source developers a place to meet (see  Some 6,000 to 7,000 people will visit FOSDEM.  There will be 25 tracks in 5 different buildings, so a lot to choose from (the 2015 schedule is a good example: ).

There are three buildings with an expo, and in 2015 there were 55 booths, ranging from programming languages, operating systems, databases, magazines, browsers, publishers and much more (have a look at ).

There are some food-carts (even one or more with vegan food) and a small restaurant.  There are a lot of restaurants in the neighbourhood, outside the campus area.

Friday night (29 January) will be “Beer Event” in Delirium Café.  The best opportunity to taste the best beers of the world, and they have 25 draught beers and a menu with thousands (!) different bottled beers.  We always try to have a nice table on the 1st floor (the ground floor is really to busy) for the Perl-community, so come and have a chat and a beer.  More info:

The Perl-presence at FOSDEM
This will be the seventh year that the Perl-community has a presence at FOSDEM and we expect to have both a booth and a devroom. We collected an impressive positive return and wish to renew the experience.

Both the booth- and the devroom-requests are sent to the organisers of FOSDEM, and we hope both will be approved.  Approval of the devroom should be announced on 19 october.  Approval of the booth should be announced 30 november.

The booth will be open both days.

We expect that the devroom event will take place one day only, last years we had it on Saturday.  if that happens again, the devroom will be on 30 January 2016.  Doors open at 10:30, close at 19:00, no (lunch or coffee or tea) breaks between the talks.  Since approval is pending, the room number is to be announced (so we don’t know the seating capacity of the room yet, in 2015 our room could hold 90 people).  There will be WIFI and a VGA projector.
Edit:  we just got confirmation, our room will be on Sunday, January 31.

This environment, being a university classroom, lends itself perfectly for talks. This is a wonderful opportunity to present your Perl-project, ­big or small­, or talk about subjects you care about. We are looking for a variety of subjects on all levels: starter and advanced, generic and specialized, core internals and CPAN, Perl 5 and Perl 6.

Since the audience is not necessary Perl-only but a wide variety of people interested in open source in general, maybe with little knowlegde of Perl, we do like “big talks”.  A technical talk about the peculiarities of a module that is not widely used might be better presented at your local Perl Mongers meeting or a Perl Workshop.  But still, we have accepted such talks in the past.  Take a look at schedules of past Perl-devrooms for examples of previously accepted talks ( , , ).

We have 8,5 hours time, so we have the flexibility of using different time formats: e.g. talks of 20 minutes, more classic talks of 40 minutes.  In some occasions, we have had talks of 60 minutes, but we prefer talks of 20 or 40 minutes.

Please don’t doubt to send a proposal (information about yourself, subject, short description and time needed). If you have several subjects you are enthusiastic to talk about please send alternative proposals. Also mention your time constraints (if any, like “I really do not want to be the first/last speaker”, or “I do not want to speak in the morning/afternoon”).

Please send your talk proposal by email to the email-address mentioned above, and please don’t wait too long. You will receive a confirmation within 2 days that we receive your proposal.  On 18 december (preferrably earlier), we have to submit a definitive schedule in the system that the FOSDEM-organisers provide us with.  We will tell you wether your proposal is accepted as soon as we made the decision.

Please forward / distribute this call as wide as possible (certainly to your local mongers).

Thank you. Hope to meet you all in Brussels.

Added text (25-10-2015)(between *** and ***):
*** Please be aware that presenting at FOSDEM implies giving permission to be recorded. The recordings will be published under the same licence as all FOSDEM content (CC-BY).  If you need an exception, please mention this in your proposal (we need to contact the FOSDEM organisers before we include the speaker in our room’s schedule). FOSDEM accepts that there may be occasional situations where, after a streamed presentation, we expect there to be some short Q&A or informal discussion that we maybe do not want broadcasting – if so, let we need to know about this in advance so we can prepare properly for this and make sure the stream is cut at the right time. ***

In previous years, we organised dinner on both the Saturday and the Sunday of FOSDEM.  We will try to reserve the upper floor of Belgian-style restaurant La Porteuse d’Eau again, since many of us love the restaurant.  That floor can host 70 people, and the menu will not be a-la-carte, but a limited amount of items.  Vegans and vegetarians will get good food too.  Food for people with special dietary needs (for instance, allergies), if mentioned in advance, can be taken care of.  But reservations have to made yet.
Brussels has an enormous amount of restaurants and bars.  If you cannot join us, you will be able to find a good place to eat somewhere.

Promotional materials
If your project, your company or your organisation has marketing materials, you are welcome to send them to me (please contact us before sending anything).  We hope to have two big tables again, and most space on the tables will be filled with books, camels, stickers, buttons, pens, tuits and some brochures, but we will have space for some other marketing materials.  It will be nice if some Perl-icon (e.g. butterfly, camel, onion, your company logo) is visible.  The booth’s organising team decides what is acceptable and what is not.

NB1: FOSDEM is a community-event without sponsoring for speakers in devrooms. In principle, we don’t have the means to pay for your trip and time. If you want to sponsor part of the event, please feel free to contact us.  If you can only come when sponsored, please mention that in your proposal, and we will see if sponsoring can be found.

NB2: We’ll also appreciate volunteers, for both the booth and the devroom. Please tell us which of the two days you are available (or both days if you can), and what times, and the type of volunteer-work you prefer, so we can also prepare a planning for this.

In the devroom we need volunteers like these: timekeepers, door-managers (in case the room is full, we have to stop more people from getting in), videocamera-operators (the event is streamed live, and each talk will be recorded).

For the booth we need volunteers like these: people that help carry boxes from our truck to the booth, and we have carts for that, and at the end, to carry all stuff back to the truck; people that help answer questions about Perl (5/6/CPAN/etc); people that help clean up during and after the expo.

OSCON 2015 was nice, but lacked content

I was at OSCON 2015 ( , in Portland, OR, USA.  This was my third and maybe last time.  I came there mostly because I wanted to staff the Perl-booth in the Expo Hall ( ), but very soon, I was disgusted by the commercial approach to the conference.  I had a nasty feeling beforehand, when I inspected the schedule and the list of sponsors of the conference, and these feelings became solid while I was there.

At the end of the conference, attendees are asked to fill in an online survey.  I will illustrate my unhappiness with OSCON by showing you my answers to the questions.

Overall, the content at this conference was (excellent / very good / good / fair / poor)

Were you satisfied by the technical level of the conference? (no, not technical enough / yes, the technical level was good enough / no, too technical)
no, not technical enough

The mind-blowing parts of the conference program were:
Damian Conway – Perl 6: Transparadigm Programming 101
Vicky M. Brasseur – Internet Archive
Expo Hall – DiagonAlley aka the little alley with all the community booths
Next time, the conference program should include:
Community booths
Perl track / language track
Network track
Database track
Operating System track

Did you visit the Expo Hall? (yes / no)

Was the Expo Hall worthwhile (if applicable)? (yes / no / not applicable)

Did you learn anything in the Expo Hall related to the conference content (if applicable)? (yes / no)

The Expo Hall would have been better with companies like:
(not applicable: I want companies out that don’t belong there, that bought there way in, like HP and Microsoft)

What is the likelihood that you will come to a future Conference? (definitely / very likely / moderately likely / possible but not very likely / unlikely)
possible but not very likely

The networking opportunities at the conference were (excellent / very good / good / fair / poor)
very good

Do you have any thoughts on the networking opportunities?
No thoughts, they are fine, maybe even getting too much space and money.

Do you have any thoughts about the customer service, food, signage, logistics, etc.?
* Access control is too strict, more parts of the conference should be open to all.
* This is an extremely expensive conference for attendees, that obviously costs tremendously much to make, while it is very much visible that the hard workers (for instance the expo builders) are underpaid and overworked and unhappy.
* If you want to visit just a small amount of talks, you still have to pay a lot.

Do you have any additional feedback to share about your experience at the conference?
* The community booths were so small, they were tremendously crowded.  The alley with the community booths was well hidded and the people there felt belittled.
* Word is, that you will discontinue the community booths, just like OSCON Europe will have no community booths.  I will visit OSCON Europe because I already bought silver passes for me and my partner, but only one day. If next year’s OSCON USA will have no community booths, we will not come and visit.
* OSCON has become too commercial, the big corporations have gotten too much influence.  The keynote of Wardley at the end was not even about open source, but had a clear message: the Expo Hall had a little DiagonAlley where the wizards are, the rest of the Hall is filled with Muggles.  Huawei, HP, Paypal, Microsoft, Samsung, SAP, Walmart: they don’t belong in an open source expo, and they and many other big companies got way too much influence in the open source conference, with so many sponsored talks.  I walked out of several talks because of the obvious sponsored contents, filled with buzzwords and technobabble.  It is obvious, not just to me, that the enemies of open source are taking over and trying to make open source into a meaningless pit of unintelligable wordsalad.  At least, at this conference.
* You spent a lot of money making people feel ‘happy’, with interesting stories, but they were so empty: you forgot about the content.  There was no language track, no network track, no database track, no operating track, no Larry Wall, no ‘State of the Onion’.  What the hell, just 3 talks about Perl, and one of them is about going from Perl to Go?  And this used to be “The Perl Conference”!  Do you do this on purpose, to scare future visitors away that come from the tech side, the real wizards?
* Next year OSCON is in Austin, because obviously the Conference Center became too expensive.  You make it sound like ‘well, we are going to spread the word of open source to other places’.  Who are you kidding?

If you had the Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze conference pass, have you found the 3-month subscription to Safari that was included with your pass to be a valuable service? (I’ve used it and it’s valuable to me / I’ve tried it but have not found it valuable / I have not used it / I did not know about it / Not Applicable)
I’ve tried it but have not found it valuable

Optional – If you had a great experience, please leave a public testimonial for future marketing purposes. Please include your name and an affiliation as you’d like it to appear with the public testimonial.

So, that’s what I’ve sent them.  I am a poor programmer, but I felt a wizard among all those muggles.  I do a little bit of marketing for Perl, with my silly buttons and stickers and tuits and Perl 6-pens and Perl 6-ribbons and trying to sell books and camels at a conference where an access pass costs over $1000 and the attendees expect all your stuff for free.  I am blown away by the marketing efforts of the big companies, they are grander every year, and when you walk around when their booths are built (and later, broken down), you feel pity at the hard workers.

OSCON is mostly about networking with your peers, and the Hallway-track is used a lot.  It is lovely to see so many people just sitting in the hallways, hacking with others.
OSCON is also about the buzzwords taking over.  And the decision to not have clearly defined tracks in the many rooms is a bad one.  Open source is primarily about operating systems, networks, databases and programming languages.  If neither of those have their own tracks, but are hidden away in a tossed salad of talks with titles that have no meaning, it looks like open source means nothing special anymore.  Just the big projects that will be mostly gone in a couple of years.  The wizards no longer have a place there, the muggles have taken over, and they know little about how things are built.

I had a nice time at OSCON, because I have seen old friends, made some new friends, saw wizards that blew my mind, I did see a couple of nice talks, and I saw beautiful Portland again, and I ate great food and drank great spirits.


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