Last week I went to Encuentro Linux, the biggest OSS-related conference done regularly in Chile. As last year I enjoyed it a lot. This year was different thought, since all my Continuumcoworkers also attended (in sharp contrast with last year when my old employer only gave me the green light to attend a few days before the conference took place). Moreover, we (as a company) invited Obie and Desi (from Hashrocket) to the event.
Attending to a conference in group is cool. You don't get the stress associated with going lonely in search of people to hang with, and going out with your friends is always warranted to be fun.
On the other hand, I realized that I had slightly less freedom than when I went to conferences by myself, since you tend to stick with the group. I met less new people than usual too and missed what I described above as a little stressful but which is also fun: looking randomly for interesting people to hang and talk with.
I guess there is a middle ground here and I'll try to make a better balance on the next conference I go with a group (and I certainly look forward for the next conference in which everyone in Continuum can go!).
The talks varied around a lot of different subjects (from 3D modeling with Blender to reverse engineering a video format, including also the usual sysadmin and developer oriented talks). Most were interesting and with the exception of the one about Blender (don't ask why I ended up there!) I got useful information from all of them to which I attended. My favorite one touched a lot of topics related to GIS systems done by Carlos Roman and Richard Rossel (who write on this blog).
It's also a good thing that Lightning talks are here to stay. The past year there were only around five speakers for these talks and they weren't notoriously successful (evidence shows that my attempt at motivating Chilean students to participate on the Google Summer of Code didn't work too well). But this year everyone had a lot of fun on most lightning talks. And Obie gave a nice surprise (even to some of the members of the organization!) participating in the closing of the event with a lighting talk that was very well received.
Oh, by the way my talk went well too. It had more attendance than what I expected (but not as much as my Django talk last year) and it went better than my recent talk at the JRSL. It's the second system effect at work; I figured out what part to left out in order to make room for more and better demos: two Swing apps, two Django webapps, one doctest demo using HTMLUnit (wrapped by a webrat-inspired Python API) to make web integration testing and one quick demo of PyDev's console.
Jython: Python para la plataforma Java (EL2009)
Last but not least, I want to thank the organizers of the Encuentro Linux. From the conferences I've been in, Encuentro Linux is the one in which they put more effort on making the speakers comfortable. They make a suberb job and work really hard to make the conference happen. This is my humble hat tip for them.