RMLL 2008, suite et fin
Been quite busy those days, but I wouldn’t forget to report the remaining days at RMLL… more people, talks, and RMS of course!
Thursday started quite fast, with a talk about “tied sale” (fact of forcing one to buy an OS with a machine that he might not want), which in France at least is illegal, but that the state organism which is supposed to have consumer law applied (DGCCRF) has been waiting for a court case before acting. As was said there, the fight was quite confidential until recently, but many Windows users, previously denying the purpose of the battle, now come in telling how great a cause it is, because they are forced to buy Vista on PCs while they want to stick to XP… Funny how Microsoft sometimes screw themselves up. I reminded everyone that it was a long standing issue, one that made Be fall years ago. We might finally have some results on that side.
Then after seeing Olivier managing the booth on his own I ran to the OpenMoko talk, to see more about the hardware. But it was actually second in the slot so I had time to go back to the booth for some time.
Olivier took some photos to see how the place looked, and if you watch closely, you’ll notice I took some time to cut some leaves and glue them onto the fabric.
The booth next to us belonged to the FFII, which tries to defend Free Software against stupid law bills like EUCD, software patents and such. The lawyers to us all if you mean. We had great times talking with their accountant there about how stupid lobbies can be.
Then I went back to see the OpenMoko talk, which got relocated to an amphitheater. The hardware of the new model, the FreeRunner, seems quite an interesting target if anyone wants to port Haiku to ARM. Besides, they are still hacking around with Linux frameworks, they moved from one to another and a 3rd came into play, each with different capabilities, which created some confusion for the users. One is capable of voice calling, another can even use the GPS, but the historical one doesn’t have enough hardware abstraction, which is why another one was started. So their history and how they relate was explained to the audience. I just wish I could spend 320€ on that toy.
Then I went back to the booth for more talks, and enjoyed the lunch. Then Olivier went to take some food as he didn’t book the meals, and also make copies of the flyers as I only managed to print 3 of them. I also had a try at a translation but couldn’t find the source file, so the result was approximated and so not as nicely looking.
On the afternoon I bailed out trying to see any talk, and stood under the tent, which was more bearable than the first day as it rained during the night.
Nevertheless, I went to see the second part of the conference about new stuff in 2.6, expecting to get some more material for my own speech, and indeed I got more. I actually ended up with enough for like 3 hours or so :) Besides preempt and tickless there are many other things in 2.6 that seemed if not inspired by, at least similar in idea to what BeOS did, or what Haiku adds to the BeOS design.
There were many other talks which I sadly didn’t have time to attend, like the ones on accessibility by Janina Sajka whom I was told has great abilities to make people understand her concerns.
Back at the secondary school where our room was, a strange smell and faint light from the lower level got our attention at the window, I went downstairs to see, and they all had lost power and light… I went on to alert the organizers about it, we tried to find a cause but didn’t spot any. It wasn’t that bad as we didn’t burn during the night. But obviously the next day they replaced cables as there were opened ceiling in the corridors.
There I finished my own slides till 1am or so, and took some rest.
The next day I went to see part of the talk about the french OOoEdu project, which aims at helping teachers share education material using open formats, and mentor students to fix bugs in OpenOffice instead of doing some useless exercise which doesn’t give real-life conditions. I ended up seeing it all. I also talked with the speaker who happens to be the MacOS OpenOffice porter, so we’ll stay in contact about a future Haiku port.
At noon, I had my first GPG keysigning party. Not very crowded but funny.
Some lunch, booth presence so Olivier didn’t feel left alone, and I went to see some of the WebKit vs Mozilla talk, which kinda turned into a troll when one said “webkit unlike mozilla does this and that” and the other one answered “oh but mozilla also does this” :) Still interesting but I left to help at the booth and prepare for my own speech. During the week I had the time to talk with both Firefox and WebKit devs anyway.
Finally time went by for my talk to start. The projector had some issue, and I tried several times to get it to work, screwing up both my Haiku and Zeta drivers, to find out it was just the cable weight pulling on a bad plug, so I had to use VESA mode, but it worked in the end. As the room was quite filled and I wasn’t sure about the audience I spent more time on the general introduction than on the technical similarities Linux had that I wanted to talk about, but still managed to expose most of it in due time. At the end I rebooted into ubuntu to show ARAnyM starting the m68k bootloader to a few people.
We then drove to the place where the Nocturnes took place for a nice buffet with local food and drinks. Again I talked about OpenOffice, this time with the head of the french speaking project, we shared views on philosophies, and she told me about the current trend in OOo development which aims at reducing complexity and making it more modular, to allow schools to have lighter versions, and I explained if would likely fit Haiku to have a version more in line with its goal of simplicity.
I also got interviewed in the garden about Haiku, meeting people and communities, though I’ve still yet to see it on any media here. On the other hand, there is a video made by FreenewsTV on the first day when they checked each booth, starting at ours. But Olivier isn’t on it as he wasn’t arrived yet.
Then we saw something we missed the whole week because we were too tired to attend the nocturnes. Geeks with their laptops on tables, couches and grass until late night, checking the OpenStreetMap for their own town, or trying to use an OpenSolaris DVD on their macbook with a funny shifted keymap doing a for z, z for e, e for r, and so on with the return key being out of physical reach. At the same time a concert took place with Free Music. We settled down with a group on the grass, talking about BeOS, Haiku and history.
Then back at the room for some more sleep.
On saturday we had a great show from Richard Stallman about GPLv3 in a very fluent french, then his secret identity, Saint Ignucius of the Church of Emacs blessed us all. I went to take the microphone to ask him to forgive us for not using “GNU/Haiku” as a name, because we do use the GNU tools in Haiku. He said the sin could be corrected by changing the name. Actually now that I think of it, it’s less preeminent than on Linux, because Linux is just a kernel that that needs the GNU tools to make a whole OS, while Haiku itself is a full blown OS that uses the GNU tools but also many others.
As I didn’t want to leave it there, I went to his booth later on with a Haiku flyer where I striked the “OpenSource” to put FreeSoftware on, and a note about GNU/Haiku. I talked about downloadable image, but he said he’d likely not find the time, as he’s quite busy. Still he took some time to talk with me, and as he said, the term OpenSource isn’t wrong, it’s a technical term, whereas FreeSoftware is more an ethic choice, so both are correct. Then I talked about the licence, this time in english, and he advised us to be more precise on the licence, as he said “the MIT has like 5 or 6 licences, and the BSD also has several versions”, which I think I’ll look after later on. At least now he’s aware Haiku is out there, which is great.
After a quick lunch I had to pack up as my car was to leave soon. There were still some interesting talks to see but I had to leave Olivier alone.
All in all, we saw many interesting and interested people, both developers and future users, many aware about BeOS without knowing we were there to keep the spirit going. It was nice to see both users and developers at the same place, take contacts and plan world domination.