Roger Whittaker

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openSUSE Conference day 1

Friday 18th September 2009

I arrived in Nuernberg on Wednesday night by Air Berlin from Stansted. It was good to bump into two of the usual suspects and travel together.

The venue is on the edge of the town, and very light, spacious and pleasant, and suitable in every way except for a shortage of network access, which is a real shame.

The first day opened with an excellent blast from the past: a keynote by Lenz Grimmer on Working in a virtual community based on his experiences at SuSE and MySQL.

For the rest of the day there were two tracks (or three if you count the unconference sessions that were also taking place). In the morning I attended the following:

Jan Blunck on Apport Application crash reporting. Jan described this tool which originated in Ubuntu and was ported and improved through a GSoC project. Apport has been in openSUSE since 11.1. It is run by the kernel when an application crashes, and can communicate with a crash database server which can process the informtion it receives. KDE and Gnome plugins can inform the desktop user that this process is taking place and offer options to the user.

Joe Brockmeier on The openSUSE Ambassador Program. Joe led an informal session on his hopes for how the Ambassador Program can spread the word about openSUSE.

After lunch (a very good cooked meal):

Katerina Machalkova on libyui: three interfaces for the price of one. This is the library that allows you to write code once for YaST's three interfaces (ncurses, Qt and Gtk). You can use this natively from C++, but there are also bindings for perl, python and ruby.

Will Stephenson on Future of openSUSE KDE. Will's talk was partly a description of the philosophy of the KDE team: particularly with regard to having the best possible open communication with the upstream project. He also demonstrated some of the best new features in KDE 4.3, and mentioned a few things that are in the process of being fixed.

Benji Weber and Pascal Bleser on the openSUSE Software Portal. This was an excellent double act by two people who have done so much to help to make finding and installing additional packages on openSUSE a much more pleasant experience. They described the work that they have done which will make searching on vastly more intelligent and useful in the future.

After this talk I started walking to town, wit the intention of walking all the way to the Novell/SUSE office, but took the tram when I saw one standing at a tram stop half way. I met up with colleagues there, checked email, and then went on to the conference party, before doing the same journey in reverse (tram, then walk).