Impressions of the Kansai Open Source Forum Conference: Day 1

Blog post by koki on Sun, 2007-11-11 01:29

I flew from San Francisco into Osaka on Thursday November 8 (the flight was diverted to Tokyo because of a medical emergency, so we arrived to Osaka Intl. Airport with a delay of approximately two hours. As expected, on Friday I woke up very early (at about 4:30AM) due to jetlag. Momoziro was coming into Osaka from Hiroshima at around 10:00AM, so I spent some time fine-tuning the outline of my Haiku presentation, and then started creating the slides. Soon after Momoziro arrived at the Osaka Bay Tower Hotel where I was staying, we went to print the Haiku flyer that I had made for KOF at a print shop nearby, and we then headed to ATC. On the first day, KOF started from 1:00PM, so we had plenty of time to prepare the booth.

Getting to ATC was easy; the hotel was righ next to Bentencho station, were we took the subway for a short 10 minute ride. As soon as we arrived at the exhibit floor, we located our booth and started setting up. We had an approximentaly 7 feet long table and a standing backwall behind us. We setup our two laptops on the table, and proceeded to hook them up to to the net connection available on the booth through a little switch that I had brought with me. I soon realised that I had left my network cables at my hotel room, but fortunetaly the LILO (as in "Linux Install Learning Osaka") guys at the booth next to ours lent us a couple of cables. Soon after, we had Haiku running on our laptops: Momoziro was running it on VMWare, and I had mine running natively on my HP Pavilion zv5400us laptop. We then put the Japanese Haiku poster up on the backwall, set the Haiku flyers on the table, and were ready to rock.

The conference and exhibit floor were officially opened at 1:00PM, and soon after people started pouring in. All in all, traffic during the first day was on the slow side. We knew (as we were actually told) that the bulk of the visitors to KOF show up on the second day, and that's what actually happened. During the course of the first day, Momoziro and I demoed Haiku on our laptops, handed over flyers and made people aware of the Haiku presentation that was going to take place on the next day. Interestingly, it seemed like people were a bit puzzled by the name Haiku, as we were asked quite frequently if it was a Japanese project; the question that inevitably followed was: "Why is it called Haiku?" I think I responded to that question more than thirty times (if not more) over the course of the conference. As a matter of fact, I decided to add a slide to my presentation explaining the origin of the name. :)

My impression of the audience was the it was quite technical. Fortunately, Momoziro was there to answer the development-related questions that I had no answers to, so I think we complemented each other quite well. During my demos at the booth, I gathered that one of the aspects of Haiku that did draw a lot of interest was the OpenBFS file system. As I usually do for these occasions, I had saved about 200 people files on my demo machine in preparation to show how to create and run queries. I would actually open a query showing all my contacts living in Japan, then the People application to create a new people file (I would ask the name of somebody watching), to show how the query is updated live as you save the new people file.

On Friday we enjoyed the visit of our friend Beer (that's his nickname!), who hanged with us at the Haiku booth the whole afternoon. Beer is a long-time developer who has quite a selection of little applications, tools and utilities for BeOS; sources are available, so check them out.

The exhibited wrapped up at 6:00PM, and we followed by a reception with food, drinks and music; they even had to Flamenco dancers perform on stage! During the reception, I had a chance to spend time with Tetsuji Koyama, the winner of this year's Best Open Source Contributor Award in Japan. Koyama-san is not only a former BeOS fan, but also works for BeatCraft, a company that developed products based on BeOS back in the 90s (you can seen some shots here), and that was heavily involved in the organization of the highly popular BeaCon series of BeOS conferences. Currently, their flagship product is a media framework called JAKAR, which (I only suspect) may have some influence from the BeOS media kit.

The second of KOF day was more action packed; stay tuned for a report and a few photos in the next few days.