Conferencing

This past weekend I had the honor of hosting the VideoLAN Dev Days 2014 in Dublin, in the headquarters of my employer. This is the first time I organize a conference (or rather help organize it, Audrey and our staff did most of the heavy lifting), and I made a number of mistakes, but I think I can learn from them and be better the next time I’ll try something like this.

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Photo credit: me

Organizing an event in Dublin has some interesting and not-obvious drawbacks, one of which is the need for a proper visa for people who reside in Europe but are not EEA citizens, thanks to the fact that Ireland is not part of Schengen. I was expecting at least UK residents not to need any scrutiny, but Derek proved me wrong as he had to get an (easy) visa at entrance.

Getting just shy of a hundred people in a city like Dublin, which is by far not a metropolis like Paris or London would be is an interesting exercise, yes we had the space for the conference itself, but finding hotels and restaurants for the amount of people became tricky. A very positive shout out is due to Yamamori Sushi that hosted the whole of us without a fixed menu and without a hitch.

As usual, meeting in person with the people you work with in open source is a perfect way to improve collaboration — knowing how people behave face to face makes it easier to understand their behaviour online, which is especially useful if the attitudes can be a bit grating online. And given that many people, including me, are known as proponent of Troll-Driven Development – or Rant-Driven Development given that people like Anon, redditors and 4channers have given an even worse connotation to Troll – it’s really a requirement, if you are really interested to be part of the community.

This time around, I was even able to stop myself from gathering too much swag! I decided not to pick up a hoodie, and leave it to people who would actually use it, although I did pick up a Gandi VLC shirt. I hope I’ll be able to do that at LISA as I’m bound there too, and last year I came back with way too many shirts and other swag.

Afterthoughts on the VideoLan Dev Days and FOMS 2012

I’ve spent the first weekend of September in Paris, as j-b organized the yearly VideoLan Dev Days un-conference. I’m happy to have been there, because it was definitely great to be around all the friends and colleagues, and work on libav and discuss what we also need to work on.

What hasn’t been entirely that great, unsurprisingly, has been being around the Google people — both at VDD and at FOMS. The main problem with them is that they are never there to think that they can learn from the others, or that they can be wrong — the feeling that me and others got is that they came with all the answers and we all have to accept them and their options. This is obviously just a generalization — Andrew and Dale has been very pleasant to speak to, outside of the infamous talk which boiled down to “We can’t, or don’t want to, speak about this, but let us tell you again how nice we are for considering using your software and saying we won’t”.

Honestly, I’m surprised that Chrome works at all with the kind of attitude they have — I guess the answer is that the non-media people are saner or, simply, they know what they are doing, instead of just thinking they know what they are doing.

At any rate at least one good thing is coming out of this is that – also thanks to Hanno who pointed me to harvester – is that we’ll soon have a Planet Multimedia to aggregate blog feeds for people working on open multimedia projects — no matter what the project!

More posts on the various topics might come up depending on how much time I have for blogging over the next few weeks.