Life on the conference circuit

On Thursday November 1st, I left home on a very autumnal morning. It rained all night so the roads were at their worst. Got to Heathrow Airport for the BA flight to Sofia – no problem but I am still wondering why we had to sit over half an hour in the plane before taking off. Made it to Sofia without any other problem and left my luggage in my hotel – sorry I meant in the flat of the organizer of OpenFest, Marian Marinov and his wife Toni Marinova – Once again I stayed with this kind couple.

After setting up the O’Reilly table with the many books, I was invited to listen to a talk on GitHub by Brian Doll at the University of Sofia. It all started very well – I was learning fast and then catastrophe!  I lost it and once again I realise that technology is not for me. I did discover how GitHub make money but I am sure you are all aware of that so I will not bore you with the information. From there we went to one of the oldest restaurant of Sofia, wonderful local food in a very special setting.

The making of TUX

OpenFest has been going on for years – I believe since 2003 and has been growing ever since. This year there were more attendees than ever and it offered 6 or 8 talks in English – so OpenFest is becoming an international event with speakers from:

  • Germany – Harald Welte, famous for his work on the Linux kernel, GPL enforcement – see GPL-violations.org and Openmoko
  • Croatia – Tonimir Kišasondi, Junior researcher at Faculty of Organization and Informatics in Varazdin, Croatia and Vlatko Košturjak

I am always surprised to see how well our books are doing in Bulgaria when the average salaries are so low. I feel also sad that the books are not readily available and that not only do the book buyers have to pay a lot of tax but also the heavy cost of shipping.

GitHub invited everybody to a  “Rock Party” on Sunday night – probably not the right music for me but I thoroughly enjoyed the people and their enthusiasm to music, beer and peanuts. It was also nice to hear some typical Bulgarian songs among the heavy rock stuff.

This was my 6th visit to Bulgaria, I am very impressed to see how Sofia has changed during the  last 6 years. Of course the communist blocks of flats are still there and will be there for a long time, but I found the city a lot cleaner, the grass was cut and there are a lot less potholes  on the roads.

Marian taught me how to take night pictures so please enjoy my favourite church – the Russian Church near the Aleksandar Nevski – two beautiful buildings.

 I still need to work on my settings…..

 

Monday 5th, I was back on the road or should I say back in the air – travelling to Malmo for Øredev 2012. There was no direct flight so had a stop in Vienna, just enough time to eat a Goulash Suppe – that brought back 40 years old memories.