The Joys of Open Source

Last weekend the FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting) was held in Brussels. Check out FOSDEM 2013

Hosted at the Brussels Free University campus, year after year it is getting more and more busy with more and more people attending and showing their part of the Free and Open Source world.

As can be expected there is a definite “we against the corporate world” atmosphere, a bit of an anarchistic feeling, yes almost a “sixties” feeling there. Of course most of the attendants were not even born in the sixties yet, but you get the idea.

Perl, my beloved programming language, had a little stand there, thanks to Wendy and Liz. Once more they brought out their toy camel and the world’s largest Perl library. Not to mention the tons of goodies they gave away. And books, did I already mention books? I bought the 4th edition of the “Camel Book” and the 2nd edition of the “Modern Perl” book at bargain basement prices.

Although the Perl group applied to have a DevRoom too (“developer room”, a place where you can hold talks and such), there seem to have been too many applicants so Perl did not get choosen. Perhaps the organisers were thinking “Perl is a crufty old language, it is practically dead, so why does it need a DevRoom”? Oh well, Perlers are used to hear that kind of nonsense. So the room was given to some other “hot” language or group and then it turned out they could not fill it and barely two weeks before the meeting, Perl was asked if we could fill the room. “Please, please, pretty please”? In no time Wendy assembled 14 confirmed speakers (and 4 more as back-up) and a few lightning talks as well.

I got a small 20 minutes slot almost at the end of the day and I gave a non-technical talk about an application I wrote in 7 days automating some boring tasks normally done by our admin girls. Judging by some comments, people seem to have enjoyed it. For those interested, the presentation is available here.

I think next year Perl will have no problem getting a DevRoom. Not bad for a crufty old dead language.

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