MeeGo Conference 2010 wrap-up

I'm now back home after a very successful MeeGo Conference 2010. Thankfully for me, the flight was short and it arrived ahead of time, even with a 10-minute delay on departure. The winds have been favourable to us (though the Harmattan wind doesn't help airplanes -- not yet anyway).

Upon arriving, I was reminded immediately why the conference shouldn't be in Oslo in November, like someone suggested some time ago in the MeeGo Wiki: it's cold here and snowing. Compared to Oslo, Dublin's weather was comforting and warm. Add to that the welcoming social events that were organised for us and you see why it was a good reason to go -- visiting the Guiness Storehouse and watching live Norway 2 x 1 Ireland was a nice touch! I even made a cameo appearence in Norway's largest newspaper, in a weird fish-eye lens photo.

But the social events, weather, international football, and the Werewolf sessions (thanks Dawn!) are not the reason why we went to Dublin. It was the conference itself, with a great line-up of talks and excellently put together. It's one of the two best developer conferences I've ever been to and I'm left wondering how to properly rank them (add warmer weather and a swimming pool and it would definitely be #1). I guess I shouldn't try and should simply acknowledge the best of each. Many thanks to the organising committee and the volunteers for the tireless effort, especially to Amy (if you were at the conference, you know why -- someone even told me "now I know who really calls the shots here").

When we started planning this event, we started guessing how many people would attend. Based on similar events in the past, like the Maemo Summit 2009, Akademy and GUADEC, we ventured a number. I guessed 400, others guessed more and eventually it was decided that a venue for the most optimistic guess, 700, would be better. At one point, it was looking really good when we had 600 attendees registered. About a month ago when we were finalising the Qt Certification for the event we had 800 and then I said "well, it's a free event, so let's say 200 people who signed up will be no-shows", so we were at the same number. Last week, before the event, I heard that we had 1000 people registered. On Monday morning, I got confirmed: 1050 or so signed up (two colleagues of mine from the Oslo office contributed by registering on Thursday). If you discount the no-shows, of which there weren't many, and add the people who showed up without registering, of which there were plenty, I hear we were about 1100. And that's not because of Nokia and Intel people showing up. It may have seemed that way to some, but the registration for Intel and Nokia was limited intentionally, so we're sure we were way less than 20% of the attendance. We wanted to ensure that this was a community event, where people from all origins (students, self-employed, contractors, etc.) would be given the chance to be there.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to watch many of the talks, not even the ones I really wanted to, like Ryan and Elena's double session in security. Fortunately, the sessions were all filmed so I'll have the chance to do it later when the videos are online. For some sessions, it already is.

Instead, I ended up in what Dirk calls the "Hallway Track", which consisted of talking to people. I talked to my Nokia colleagues whom I see often, the Intel developers whom I don't see that often, and friends and colleagues from other companies, from KDE and elsewhere. In fact, there was a nice presence of KDE people in the event -- were we about 50 people or was it more? I actually spent most of my time figuring out who I should introduce to whom and then making these introductions. I should really have written it down, because I kept forgetting who needed the introduction when I finally found the person who needed to be introduced. Oh well, in the end it worked out fine -- a friend tells me "no matter where in the stadium I was, looking around there was always a Thiago".

I did deliver my Qt Roadmap Update talk and my Improving cooperation BOF (videos and slides available soon). It was thankfully easy, since I've been talking about the roadmap quite often. Two weeks ago, in the week of Qt Developer Days San Francisco alone, I went through it 9 times. I also helped organise the MeeGo Conference lightning talks, though the thanks go to presenters there (see parts one and two).

In addition to the talks, I had nice discussions with several people about the Qt Open Governance, which is a something I'm passionate about and the other topic I talked quite a lot about during Dev Days. I have several offers of help, which I plan to cash in pretty soon as we're now moving to the implementation phase.

I also had a chance to catch up with Chris Schläger, from AMD, who came to make a surprise announcement of their joining MeeGo and contributing engineering expertise. Chris has been involved with Qt for a long time, from his KDE developer days, SUSE days and leading Open Source Qt-based projects like TaskJuggler, so I was quite happy to see him around. Mark Shuttleworth also make an impromptu appearance but he confessed he didn't have much time available. I got to talk to him about some topics we discussed during UDS last month.

Plus I think we made a lot of progress in many areas during the Unconference sessions and simple face-to-face discussions. Again I was positively surprised when the schedule board was practically full from early in the morning, as we were afraid that people would leave on the day before. Lots of interesting topics were discussed and I hope to see the notes posted online to the MeeGo Wiki soon (don't forget to post yours if you were leading a session!). Of the topics that I wanted to see discussed, most happened: Wayland for MeeGo, Plasma on MeeGo, the hard floating point ABI for ARM, etc. Now we need to follow up on those and put them in the MeeGo Roadmap for 1.2 or later.

In all, a great event. Now that I'm back in the office doing regular work, I wish I were back there. Well, we have several great conferences lined up for 2011, including the Desktop Summit 2011 (in Berlin) and a proposal for a MeeGo Conference in May (San Francisco). I have already collected some feedback on what we can improve for next conferences, but please let us know what you liked and what we can do better, in the comments below or by email (to me or to the other organisers). Praise is accepted, whining isn't -- instead, make a constructive suggestion.

See you soon!

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