OSCON 2010 Wrap Up

Well, OSCON is over for another year. It’s been a great conference. Shame there were essentially no security talks (1/216 talks is not good enough). I will have to talk to them next year about including a Security track or let OWASP organize a Security Camp, like Scala and the cloud folks had this year.

I went to a great number of interesting sessions. Most were not that well attended, which probably means that I’m a freak who loves odd ball stuff. That’s a shame, because I got a heap out of the conference overall.

Some highlights:

Cloud talks were everywhere. This is the new Ajax. I went to enough cloud talks to be all clouded out. A common theme is who owns the data and how open are cloud systems, really? Open core versus open source was a huge meme.

Breaking it open: How one consulting firm took it open. This was easily the most thought provoking session I attended in all of OSCON. It’s a shame only about 20 others caught it too. Rob and Alexandra were totally engaging and gave heaps of insights to what worked, and more importantly some of the hiccups that hit them unexpectedly, like the Excel spreadsheet from hell.

Moving to the cloud with NYTimes. This was one of those cloudy talks I told you about. I didn’t learn a lot that I didn’t already know, but it was interesting to learn how it went down at NYT.

Deploying an open source cloud on a shoestring. This topic was close to my heart as we’re doing it, but I sank a little when I learnt of the exact scale of the AT&T Labs deployment. In the end, I think different folks have different meanings for “shoe string”. Good talk, as I learnt a fair amount about realistic cloud architecture.

Eucalyptus: the open source infrastructure for cloud systems. Another cloud talk.

Data center automation with Puppet. I went to the latter part of the Puppet tutorial, so I didn’t learn much new at this session, but that’s okay. Puppet will probably end up as part of our infrastructure (need to talk to the guys).

Driving Apache Traffic Server. This talk rocked. Lots of cool information about how Yahoo does their CDN, and the resurrection of a really old (and closed) code base into what is ATS today. I’m going to try it out, but it may not suit our needs as it doesn’t do true SSL load balancing (today).

The hall way track was also pretty dang fine. I met and introduced myself to many folks I’d only seen on Twitter or the blogosphere. I took in the latter half of the phpBB BoF and met the guys, which was cool as I could finally put names to faces. I ran the OWASP BoF session on Thursday night, which had a few folks turn up, including the Portland Chapter Leader.

Internet sucked big time most days. I think the next time I come, I’ll bring a smaller laptop or an iPad or something with a long battery life as finding space near power all the time sucked. This is partially because my Mac’s battery or logic board is failing, but it is also partially a home truth – there’s only so much coding I did during the days as I found most of the talks so engaging and relevant to my interests.

It’s interesting to see the latest fads. For those who had > 13″ laptops, Macs were about 20 to 1 the favorite choice. Netbooks were very common (probably about 15-20% of the crowd), but I saw more iPads than netbooks, which surprised me as it’s so read only, and this conference is not a read only crowd.

All in all, a satisfying and interesting conference let down by the complete lack of security talks.

Published by vanderaj

Just another security geek

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