2016 Kernel miniconf CFP

Why yes, it’s another long URL thanks to Google Docs:

Got a kernel topic you want to talk about? Got a kernel topic you want to start discussion on? Or a Q&A? Submit NOW! We’re going for part sessions, part unconference.

Questions? Contact me at

Gender diversity in speakers

My first was 2003 and it was absolutely fantastic and I’ve been to every one since. Since I like this radical idea of equality and the LCA2015 organizers said there were 20% female speakers this year, I thought I’d look through the history.

So, since there isn’t M or F on the conference program, I have to guess. This probably means I get things wrong and have a bias. But, heck, I’ll have a go and this is my best guess (and mostly excludes miniconfs as I don’t have programmes for them)

  • 2003: 34 speakers: 5.8% women.
  • 2004: 46 speakers: 4.3% women.
  • 2005: 44 speakers: 4.5% women
  • 2006: 66 speakers: 0% women (somebody please correct me, there’s some non gender specific names without gender pronouns in bios)
  • 2007: 173 speakers: 12.1% women (and an order of magnitude more than previously). Includes miniconfs
    (didn’t have just a list of speakers, so this is numbers of talks and talks given by… plus some talks had multiple presenters)
  • 2008: 72 speakers: 16.6% women
  • 2009: 177 speakers (includes miniconfs): 12.4% women
  • 2010: 207 speakers (includes miniconfs): 14.5% women
  • 2011: 194 speakers (includes miniconfs): 14.4% women
  • 2012: (for some reason site isn’t responding…)
  • 2013: 188 speakers (includes most miniconfs), 14.4% women
  • 2014: 162 speakers (some miniconfs included): 19.1% women
  • 2015: As announced at the opening: 20% women.

Or, in graph form:


  • the historical schedules up on
  • my brain guessing the gender of names. This is no doubt sometimes flawed.

Update/correction: lca2012 had around 20% women speakers at main conference (organizers gave numbers at opening) and 2006 had 3 at sysadmin miniconf and 1 in main conference.

CFP for Developer, Testing, Release and Continuous Integration Automation Miniconf at 2015

This is the Call for Papers for the Developer, Testing, Release and Continuous Integration Automation Miniconf at 2015 in Auckland. See

This miniconf is all about improving the way we produce, collaborate, test and release software.

We want to cover tools and techniques to improve the way we work together to produce higher quality software:

– code review tools and techniques (e.g. gerrit)
– continuous integration tools (e.g. jenkins)
– CI techniques (e.g. gated trunk, zuul)
– testing tools and techniques (e.g. subunit, fuzz testing tools)
– release tools and techniques: daily builds, interacting with distributions, ensuring you test the software that you ship.
– applying CI in your workplace/project

We’re looking for talks about open source technology *and* the human side of things.

Speakers at this miniconf must be registered for the main conference (although there are a limited number of miniconf only tickets available for miniconf speakers if required)

There will be a projector, and there is a possibility the talk will be recorded (depending on if the conference A/V is up and running) – if recorded, talks will be posted with the same place with the same CC license as main LCA talks are.

CFP is open until midnight November 21st 2014.

By submitting a presentation, you’re agreeing to the following:

I allow Linux Australia to record my talk.

I allow Linux Australia to release any recordings of my presentations, tutorials and minconfs under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License

I allow Linux Australia to release any other material (such as slides) from my presentations, tutorials and minconfs under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

I confirm that I have the authority to allow Linux Australia to release the above material. i.e., if your talk includes any information about your employer, or another persons copyrighted material, that person has given you authority to release this information.
Any questions? Contact me:

My lca2014 talk video: Past, Present and Future of MySQL and variants

On last Wednesday morning I gave my talk at 2014. You can now view and download the recording of it here:

(hopefully more free formats will come soon, the all volunteer AV team has been absolutely amazing getting things up this quickly).

CFP:Developer, Testing, Release and CI Automation miniconf @ 2014

I have just opened the Call For Papers for the Developer, Testing, Release and Continuous integration Automation miniconf at 2014.

This miniconf is all about improving the way we produce, collaborate, test and release software.

We want to cover tools and techniques to improve the way we work together to produce higher quality software:

– code review tools and techniques (e.g. gerrit)
– continuous integration tools (e.g. jenkins)
– CI techniques (e.g. gated trunk, zuul)
– testing tools and techniques (e.g. subunit, fuzz testing tools)
– release tools and techniques: daily builds, interacting with distributions, ensuring you test the software that you ship.

All sessions are 30 minutes unless there is prior arrangement. Typically there is a VGA plug at the front of the room but if you have any specialized A/V requirements please enter them as notes at the end and we’ll see what we can do.

Submissions are open until November 20th, with notifications going out over the following 1-2 weeks.

Submit now. 2014: Perth!

perth from kings parkIt’s been over ten years since the last in Perth but don’t worry, this upcoming January, we’re back in Perth for 2014. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Perth as I’ve only been there very, very briefly since 2003 and would love to explore the city a bit more.

Perth 2003 was the first I ever went to and I’ve been to every single one since (2004 in Adelaide, 2005 in Canberra, 2006 in Dunedin, 2007 in Sydney, 2008 in Melbourne, 2009 in Hobart, 2010 in Wellington, 2011 in Brisbane, 2012 in Ballarat and 2013 in Canberra – each one of them absolutely brilliant). A few things were different back then, for example, there was a terminal room with actual terminals where you could use cutting edge technologies such as telnet.

As a surprise to many, 2003 was the first year that Linus came to an LCA, arriving in the fashion of the time (a penguin suit).

I have many fond memories of LCA back in 2003 and with the list of speakers and miniconfs for this year mostly up already, it’s looking to be an excellent conference in January 2014 – just a few short months away.

Early bird registrations finish soon so head on over to to register now.

HOWTO: Build a Monorail

At 2012 I gave a lightning talk on our Burning man 2010 art installation the Nowhere2Nowhere monorail. I finally extracted the video of just my lightning talk and threw it up on youtube for easy viewing:

TextSecure – secure SMS for Android

So… having secure SMS really isn’t hard. Onec upon a time you may have been forgiven to think that your SMS messages weren’t recorded forever by telecommunications companies or various government agencies, but those times have long passed. At the very least you should be concerned about somebody getting hold of your phone and going through all your SMSs (phones no longer just store 20 messages).

TextSecure (Free and Open Source Software up on github) does both local encryption (messages are encrypted on your phone) and over the wire encryption. That’s right kids – you can send encrypted text messages to each other.

It’s a drop-in replacement for the built in Android text messages application, so it all “just works”.

Go install it now.

This is the app that Jacob Appelbaum mentioned in is Keynote at lca2012.

Registered for

So, I just registered for and when ticking all those check boxes for years past, I worked out that this will be my tenth! Wow… that’s a few of them.

Over the past 9 I’ve attended I’ve gone to great sessions, met interesting people, discovered interesting projects and made good friends.

I wonder what this one will bring…. 2011 Monday wrap-up

This year was a lot of fun. My talk was on the Thursday, which meant that there was most of the week spent going “eep” and making sure I was ready for it.

Total hats off to the organisers – you may have heard about a small area of Queensland (about the area of France and Germany combined – or ~ twice that of Texas) was declared a disaster area a couple of weeks before the conference. Honestly, if you didn’t hear about it, you wouldn’t have noticed.

Sunday night we had a gathering of Ghosts of Conferences Past. We refer to those previously involved in running an LCA “Ghosts” – a wealth of knowledge for future teams. One of the most amusing tales was John Ferlito asking people what would they have done if just less than two weeks out they had to change venues. The consensus: curl up in a corner and cry hoping it would all just go away.

The lca2011 organisers didn’t.

So on the Monday I managed to catch a few good talks. In the morning I seemed to stalk Pia in her two talks: “Applying martial arts to the workplace: your guide to kicking arse” and “Cloud computing: finding the silver lining for government” in the Haeksen and Freedom In The Cloud miniconfs respectively.

If you didn’t manage to catch the martial arts talk, check out Pia’s blog post on it. I also strongly recommend a good martial arts school (contact me if you want).

The big take away for me from the Cloud in Government talk was that I really should go and read the AGIMO Cloud Strategy document. The other take away for me was that while government is looking at using new technology it is not currently thinking at all about individuals rights (such as privacy), security and safety in the cloud.

I have been known to rock up to talks with no real idea of the content but on the hope that it could end up being cool. This was the next one I went to. The title: “Open Source: Saving the World” sounded like a lovely idea and the speaker, Noirin is pretty cool. It turns out there’s some really awesome open source software out there for dealing with natural disasters, incidents of violence and education. Go check out the Lanka software foundation, the SAHANA Disaster Management System, Ushahidi (coming out of Kenya to track incidents of violence) and the Talking Book (a little yellow box that records and plays back audio).

I checked out Aeriana’s talk on overcomplicating home networks… and a bit too much of it was familiar :) I also have ideas.

Daniel Stone’s talk on input in X and everything related was interesting – there is a lot of historical things around and some truly bizarre things. Think: grabs are what grabs all input and makes you sad and OMG Multi-Pointer-X exists and it’s all backwards compatible OMG. I haven’t even mentioned the bits that allow your keyboard to have a key that makes demons fly from the screen and a harpsichord to play tunes while they do.

I managed to catch Matthew Garrett’s talk “License compliance in Open Source business” talk. The fact that the very first store he walked into after arriving in Australia was selling a device that violates his copyright is, well, not a good sign.

At the end of the Monday I managed to catch about the last half of “Training Allies” that was the last session in the Haecksen miniconf. This was a pretty good session with a rather packed room (standing room only). This is rather promising I think.

Data Storage miniconf for 2011

Today I’ll be running the Data Storage Miniconf at 2011. See the Tuesday Schedule on the LCA Website for the up to date schedule for today (the one in the badges probably out of date).

We’ve got some great talks today, so be sure to catch them. There’s also plenty of opportunity and time for discussion.

Monday 2011 plan

It’s currently my plan to really try and make it to the following sessions:

The middle of the day will probably become “Stewart goes and panics over talks” kinda time.

Should be an awesome day.

Data Storage miniconf Lightning Talk CFP

Going to ?

Use storage, have tales?

Admin storage system, have stories?

Hack on a storage system, have software to promote?

We want your Lightning Talk!

Databases, file systems, cloud storage, network storage, my-insane-mythtv-storage all welcome!

Send me email if you’d like to present (stewart at flamingspork dot com).

Tuesday, from 4:15pm at

Video editing with Free Software

Way back when, for coming to Melbourne in 2008, I edited together a promo video for it. IIRC the raw video was shot by Kelly on DV tape, imported in and I got a CD of some massive 400MB MPEG file of a bunch of questions. Using Cinelerra and some graphics package that I forget (very early Inkscape?), I managed to get this done in 2006. I understand things are a bit less segfaulty these days.

See it on YouTube or download the Ogg Theora video.

Amazingly enough, this is the last time I actually did any video editing.

You should also go to 2011 in Brisbane this upcoming January.

LCA Miniconf Call for Papers: Data Storage: Databases, Filesystems, Cloud Storage, SQL and NoSQL

This miniconf aims to cover many of the current methods of data storage and retrieval and attempt to bring order to the universe. We’re aiming to cover what various systems do, what the latest developments are and what you should use for various applications.

We aim for talks from developers of and developers using the software in question.

Aiming for some combination of: PostgreSQL, Drizzle, MySQL, XFS, ext[34], Swift (open source cloud storage, part of OpenStack), memcached, TokyoCabinet, TDB/CTDB, CouchDB, MongoDB, Cassandra, HBase….. and more!

Call for Papers open NOW (Until 22nd October).

HOWTO screw up launching a free software project

Josh Berkus gave a great talk at 2010 (the CFP for 2011 is open until August 7th) entitled “How to destroy your community” (lwn coverage). It was a simple, patented, 10 step program, finely homed over time to have maximum effect. Each step is simple and we can all name a dozen companies that have done at least three of them.

Simon Phipps this past week at OSCON talked about Open Source Continuity in practice – specifically mentioning some open source software projects that were at Sun but have since been abandoned by Oracle and different strategies you can put in place to ensure your software survives, and check lists for software you use to see if it will survive.

So what can you do to not destroy your community, but ensure you never get one to begin with?

Similar to destroying your community, you can just make it hard: “#1 is to make the project depend as much as possible on difficult tools.

#1 A Contributor License Agreement and Copyright Assignment.

If you happen to be in the unfortunate situation of being employed, this means you get to talk to lawyers. While your employer may well have an excellent Open Source Contribution Policy that lets you hack on GPL software on nights and weekends without a problem – if you’re handing over all the rights to another company – there gets to be lawyer time.

Your 1hr of contribution has now just ballooned. You’re going to use up resources of your employer (hey, lawyers are not cheap), it’s going to suck up your work time talking to them, and if you can get away from this in under several hours over a few weeks, you’re doing amazingly well – especially if you work for a large company.

If you are the kind of person with strong moral convictions, this is a non-starter. It is completely valid to not want to waste your employers’ time and money for a weekend project.

People scratching their own itch, however small is how free software gets to be so awesome.

I think we got this almost right with OpenStack. If you compare the agreement to the Apache License, there’s so much common wording it ends up pretty much saying that you agree you are able to submit things to the project under the Apache license.  This (of course) makes the entire thing pretty redundant as if people are going to be dishonest about submitting things under the Apache licnese there’s no reason they’re not going to be dishonest and sign this too.

You could also never make it about people – just make it about your company.

#2 Make it all about the company, and never about the project

People are not going to show up, do free work for you to make your company big, huge and yourself rich.

People are self serving. They see software they want only a few patches away, they see software that serves their company only a few patches away. They see software that is an excellent starting point for something totally different.

I’m not sure why this is down at number three… it’s possibly the biggest one for danger signs that you’re going to destroy something that doesn’t even yet exist…

#3 Open Core

This pretty much automatically means that you’re not going to accept certain patches for reasons of increasing your own company’s short term profit. i.e. software is no longer judged on technical merits, but rather political ones.

There is enough politics in free software as it is, creating more is not a feature.

So when people ask me about how I think the OpenStack launch went, I really want people to know how amazing it can be to just not fuck it up to begin with. Initial damage is very, very hard to ever undo. The number of Open Source software projects originally coming out of a company that are long running, have a wide variety of contributors and survive the original company are much smaller than you think.

PostgreSQL has survived many companies coming and going around it, and is stronger than ever. MySQL only has a developer community around it almost in spite of the companies that have shepherded the project. With Drizzle I think we’ve been doing okay – I think we need to work on some things, but they’re more generic to teams of people working on software in general rather than anything to do with a company. 2011 CFP Open!

Head on over to and check it out!

You’ve got until August 7th to put in a paper, miniconf, poster or tutorial.

Things I’d like to see come from my kinda world:

  • topics on running large numbers of machines
  • latest in large scale web infrastructure
  • latest going on in the IO space: (SSD, filesystems, SSD as L2 cache)
  • Applications of above technologies and what it means for application performance
  • Scalable and massive tcp daemons (i.e. Eric should come talk on scalestack)
  • exploration of pain points in current technologies and discussion on ways to fix them (from people really in the know)
  • A Hydra tutorial: starting with stock Ubuntu lucid, and exiting the tutorial with some analysis running on my project.
  • Something that completely takes me off guard and is awesome.

I’d love to see people from the MySQL, Drizzle and Rackspace worlds have a decent presence. For those who’ve never heard of/been to an LCA before: we reject at least another whole conference worth of papers. It’s the conference on the calendar that everything else moves around.