BSDCon 2000 – the wrap up

BSDCon 2000 – the wrap up

now in Ottawa, after having flown up there from San Francisco on Saturday. That *was* a
long day. This will probably be the last chance I have to update the diary before my
return to Wellington on the 31st.

I did manage to see Tim Kientzle’s talk on Database-driven Web Design. I was interested
to learn that logging to a database table is not his idea of fun. I can see why now. There
is a perfectly good logging system built into Unix. Why not use that? It was also
interesting to see that data pulled from tables and data pulled from files was not much
difference in speed. I was also able to confirm that the caching tactic I was using for FreshPorts is the recommended approach for sites which
can’t cach in memory, such as php.

The core team panel was interesting to listen to. Of course, there were the usual and
compulsory sheep jokes about Jordan Hubbard. For those that don’t know, these jibes hark
back to an incident at FreeBSD con 1999. In fact, the story starts several months before
that con. Jordon was on IRC when someone pasted a URL for Jordan said he wanted
one. Being the good and kind soul that I am, I said "I’ll buy you one. And present it
to you at the Con". This was several months before FreeBSD Con 1999. And he’d
completely forgotten by the time his key note speech arrived. In secret discussions with
Jim Mock, I had made my purchase and had it shipped to the Walnut Creek CDROM. We
inflated it long before his keynote speech started (we were there for the tutorials before
the con). It took a great deal of effort to keep this love-ewe hidden. We managed to stash
it behind the stage. Bill Swingle was the dude chosen to present it to jkh. And Jim Mock
was the one to bring this rather large bag out from behind the stage and give it to jkh.
Needless to say, Jordan had lots of photographs taken. Many people decided to verify that
the sheep was, yes, anatomically correct. jkh will never live this down.

Conference costs

For each of the past two Cons I’ve been to, I’ve heard people complain
about the cost. I’ve heard similar grumblings about the cost of mountain bike races. My
only comment is that the people doing the complaining must not know much about event
organisation. In both cases, the whiners just don’t understand how much it costs to hold
such events. For example, the audio/visual costs for BSDCon were US$16,000. Spread that
amongst 350 people, that adds about US$45 to each ticket. Now imagine your breakfast, your
lunch, and the cost of hiring the meeting halls. This stuff isn’t cheap. And part of the
problem is that you can’t easily get sponsorship for such small events. Compared to
Usenix, we are a small event. They had over 3000 people. With that audience, you can
demand much more money from exhibitors. But face it: BSD is still small time compared to
Linux. It will take time before the bigger audiences come.

Before someone complains
about the venue, that it was too far away from everything, let me remind you: a conference
is an opportunity to hang out with people with similar interests. By forcing you to stay
near the hotel, or at least not having restaurants within walking distance, well, you just
might have to talk to someone. If you really do want to get away, a cab isn’t that

Hardware update

Despite promises by UPS to deliver the motherboard to BSDi, they failed.
They tried to deliver again to Len and Kelleye’s place (you’ll remember Kelleye as the
blonde convertible owner and Len as her husband). Len has volunteered to pick up the
package and get it sent to me in New Zealand.

I’m typing this article up at the home of
my friend Eric Rosenquist. Eric, his wife Leisa,
and I went to Carleton University together. I was
best man at their wedding. While I’ve been here, I’ve been able to test the CDRW. Well, it
spins up, and I can read a CDROM with it. I’ll h ave to wait until I return home to test
the writing and rewriting functions. I really didn’t want to install that software on one
of Eric’s boxes.

Last update for a while

As my parents do not have a computer, I suspect this may be the last Diary
update until I get home in November. It’s probably not widely known, but Ottawa, where I
lived before I moved to New Zealand, is a telecoms hotbed. All the major player have
offices here: Nortel, Cisco,
Alcatel, and Mitel.
Being back here, and see all the high tech companies has made me slightly homesick. For
Ottawa, not for New Zealand.

Missing clothes

When I first arrived in California, I was staying at the Geek House. This is where Jim, John, and Bill live. On the
Friday before the Con, I moved to Len and Kelleye’s place. In the move, I left behind a
bag of clothes I’d just bought during one of my shoppping trips. Fortunately, Bill brought
the clothes to Monterey with him. Unfortunately, there was not enough room in the Miata
for the additional baggage. Add to that, the clothes which I was given which I was at
BSDCon (t-shirts, jackets, etc), I had to ask someone to transport these items back to
Concord for me. As my luck would have it, these items didn’t get back to me before I flew
out to Ottawa early on Saturday morning. Len (the husband of the Miata owner) was good
enough to wake up at 5:15am and drive me to the airport. Len’s going to arrange for my
shopping and the motherboard to get to me in New Zealand.

Back to SF

Tonight is the only night I could visit with Eric. He’s heading down to
San Francisco in the morning to meet with the people from the company he just started
working for. He was working for Entrust but left there
about a week ago. With luck, and I hope I’m not hexing the opportunity by mentioning
it here, I might leave for NZ early. I have to fly back via San Francisco, so I might be
able to talk to his employers about some intersting work they may have for me. After all,
I am going to be sitting around SFO for a few hours anyway. So flying down a day or so
early isn’t much of a problem.

Until next time…

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top