Linux.conf.au - Day Three
The glorious weather that had punctuated the first two days of the conference held, heralding in the third day in a blaze of sunshine. The conference proper was introduced by a keynote by Benjamin Mako Hill on Antifeatures: Why your software works against you and why software freedom offers hope of a better future. Mako explored the concept of anti-features as deliberately included functionality or a lack of functionality that users hate so much they will pay to have them removed. Some classic examples included the gator spyware that was included with free version of p2p software on the windows platform - with a spyware-free version available for a fee.
Mako took the audience through why anti-features exist to further profits, and showed how in an environment dominated by free and open software they would be unable to survive.
Fowllowing the keynote session, Jonathan Corbet gave his traditional Kernel Report, covering major milestones in kernel development since last year's conference, and addressing the challenges the kernel development team face in the year to time. Those of us with massively parallel-processing netbooks will be pleased to know the Linux kernel now scales to 4096 cpus.
Matthew Carretts talk on social Success in (and for) the Linux community covered many of the reasons that the Linux community can be a hostile and toxic place for new contributers to enter. He covered how aggressive and confrontational behaviour is rewarded and how as a community Linux will need to learn to welcome and retain new members.
As comic relief I caught Paul Fenwick's engaging presentation on the World's Worst Inventions. Covering such gems as cocaine cough-drop marketed to children and the recent children's bead product that metabolised to GHB when ingested, Paul went through a few hundred years of misguided and downright dangerous inventions.
The fourth day of the conference will feature a keynote by Glyn Moody, provocatively titled 'Hackers at the End of the World', and also the Professional Delegates Networking session.