I'm just back from OggCamp and it was fantastic. I mean, FOSSDEM is awe-inspiring as in, I tremble in awe to think of the throngs of people crowding the talks you can't get into because there's just too many people...
But OggCamp was fantastic in the sense that it's everything I'd want from an open source conference, like I was living a fantasy! Not too big, not too small, talk opportunities for all! Anybody could come and suggest a talk - I did a quick one on the bash builder system again - and all were assigned to appropriately sized rooms. It was always possible to get to talks you wanted to see.
For note - OggCamp is billed as an "unconference". The main opening and closing talks are scheduled, as well as a handful of topical talks, but the rest of the activities are organised entirely by the community of attendees who come to the event, around software freedom and open rights - and plain fun. There's a whiteboard, post-it notes, and markers. Post your talk, see if people add ticks to vote it up, and it gets scheduled - simple! I went to talks on SVG (presenter had a set of slides that were in fact a single interactive SVG!), the Open Street Map editor JOSM, the Open Rights Group's fight back against AdTech industry (which with GDPR rules now operates unlawfully in the EU - don't put these on your sites folks!), commercial sustainability of The Document Foundation.... there was quite a bit!
About 250+ people were there; exhibitors included the Open Rights Group (who are organising their own conference this Saturday in Edinburgh), decentralised communications system Matrix.org, and an assortment of various friendly makers and hackers building musical instruments for a11y, Michael from Electric Flapjack, hardware hackers putting together an iPad on wheels for remote attendance/amusing the kids, a kids track to get young makers going, a showing from ACORN, and microcontroller nerds showing off their hardware in the bar area! in the exhibitor hall there was a Magic the Gathering session both days, and a Dungeons and Dragons session for beginners on the Sunday. Hacker Public Radio was going around interviewing everybody!
I spent some time with Electric Flapjack Michael learning how "easy" it is to build an electric guitar, especially since his software for scaling and generating a fretboard blueprint allows anybody to have a precise fretboard to work from! And then playing along as he was giving the explanations on a lovely unit of his making. If I ever buy a new electric guitar, I know exactly who I'm running to!
The penny only finally dropped on why OggCamp is named that way when I understood that it was started by the joining of two podcast shows, the Linux Outlaws and the Ubuntu Podcast, and was based on the BarCamp unconference setup. So if you listen to various Linux podcasts, you can be sure that the UK-based casters are nearly all there (I couldn't resist make a list dump - they're all great podcasts!)
- Popey, Wimpy and Dr Laura from the Ubuntu Podcast of course
- Joe Ressington from Late Night Linux and Jupiter Broadcasting
- Zeb from Destination Linux
- Simon Phipps from FLOSS Weekly
- Fab and Dan from the discontinued Linux Outlaws
Zeb posted a walkthrough video of what it was like at the end of the first day during the panel session.
It was so much fun, I made some new friends, and I can't wait til next year's one!