Campus Party, February 11-17, 2008, Sao Paulo, Brazil

by Jon maddog Hall

After speaking at the Florida Linux Show on February 11th, I return ever-so-briefly to the New England area to re-pack my bags and head for Sao Paulo, Brazil to attend Campus Party (February 11th to 17th, 2008).

Campus Party ( is a combinations of presentations, LAN party, competitions, and just plain fun. Unlike many "conferences" or "exhibitions", Campus Party encourages you to bring your own computer system, and to work face to face with people who share the same passions as you do. Also, unlike some "commercial" computer events, Campus party seems to be focused more on the younger generation (high school, college and post-college age) although there are a couple of "grey beards" around...and who are accepted into the group.

I was first invited to Campus Party in Spain last year, where it had been held for several years before. It was held in a huge convention center, with four major rooms on two levels. Two of the rooms on the bottom level held tents (donated by Google) for some of the 5000+ participants to sleep in when they wanted. The other floor held two gigantic rooms where rows of tables and chairs held participant's computers, complete with high-speed LAN and power hookups.

Separated into communities of "modders", robotics, gamers, FOSS, multimedia, astronomy, and other similar communities was something for almost everyone. It was not all free software. In fact a lot of it was either OS/X or that other operating system, but the "Software Libre" people did get some converts, and that made it particularly interesting for me.

In addition to all of this, there were stages for presentations and an exhibit area where even the exhibits were interactive for the most part. An indoor paint-ball facility allowed people to blow off steam in a slightly more physical way.

A large cafeteria provided food, and I was told that the participants could even take cold showers. Since I have not enjoyed a cold shower since the age of 12, I was glad I was staying in a hotel.

Campus Party in Brazil, new this year, is being run by the same people as in Spain (there is also one scheduled for Columbia, so it is bound to have a lot of the same characteristics, but I also expect to see some modifications, perhaps a larger Software Livre! participation, or a different local culture in the multimedia mix.

In any case, even though I can not arrive until February 13th, and will miss two days of this even, I do look forward to the other four days.