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Journal of pudge (1)

Thursday April 13, 2006
12:15 PM

The "Perl" Conference

[ #29314 ]

So I am looking at the Perl track for OSCON, and I am wondering where the technical sessions are.

No offense to any of the speakers or topics, because I am only speaking personally, but I don't really care about most of the non-meaty topics, like Perl Bliss and so on. And I don't care about Perl 6. Feed Aggregation is so 5 years ago. I never pay extra for the tutorials.

Setting aside the standards -- Lightning Talks and The Conway Channel -- that leaves me with What's New in Perl DBI, Devel::Cover, Plagger: Pluggable RSS/Atom Aggregation, Mason Components for Ajax, A Relational Object Driver That Doesn't Suck, and Perl Hacks You Never Knew Existed.

I don't care about feed aggregation (well, I do, but not in any new tools to deal with it), I don't use Mason (although maybe I could learn something more about how to deal with Ajax), and I sure as hell don't need another DB abstraction layer (although it might be an interesting talk anyway, at least get me thinking about issues with our own custom layer?).

So being very generous with my interest, I could go to all the above sessions, which means four sessions Wednesday, three Thursday, and one Friday.

And that's with no options for other possibilities. So if one was a dud or I decided I really didn't care about a new syndication aggregation toolkit, I'd have nothing to go to.

Of course, I might very well find sessions in the Apache and MySQL tracks. And I will likely go to OSCON and do just that, and not feel like I've wasted my time or money.

But I want to go to a Perl conference, and frankly, I don't think OSCON qualifies.

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  • There's this little get-together called YAPC that will definitely be worth going to, Pudge. :-)

    http://yapcchicago.org/ [yapcchicago.org]

    --

    --
    xoa

    • Yeah. But I hate travelling. And my boss only lets me go to one of these conferences a year. And Portland is closer and has my relatives there.

      Maybe.

      I wonder though if there shouldn't be a YAPC::NA::West, and have it the few days before or after OSCON, in the same city. Much more stripped-down, since it can piggy-back on OSCON.

      Or heck, use the BOFs at OSCON for a YAPC. :-)
      • Rather than a YAPC::NA::West some of us are trying to get YAPC::NA to move west of the rockies. Given the relative lack of perl content at OSCON I think that the previous prejudice against having YAPC move west is now unwarranted.
  • I don't have any insider information to share, but my impression is that because no one will be going to OSCON for the Perl talks this year, there won't be very many Perl talks. It's the same reason not to publish books on Perl; no one bought the new Perl books not published in 2003 and 2004.

    • Except that I know a lot of people won't go to OSCON *because* it's been getting weaker in Perl content every year.

      I don't know all the numbers, and am not blaming anyone. Just saying that it's unfortunate that The Perl Conference is, effectively, dead.
      • Yes, and people stopped buying Perl books when publishers stopped publishing them, thus proving that people don't buy Perl books. You (not you as in Chris Nandor, but you as in my evil private corporate overloards) can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true, as long as you're willing to confuse cause and effect.

      • I went last year, because it was the first chance I had to get to the US, and so I could present. I really enjoyed it, and I thought there was quite a bit of meat there. I even ended up flitting between three Perl talks at the same time at one point.

        I'm not going this year, not because of the talks, but because I can't afford to be out of the country for BOTH of OSCON and YAPC, and so having done one of them I decided I should probably see the other. Also, Chicago is a new place, and I like new places.

        But n
  • I never really go to the talks because things like "What's New in DBI" are in the Changes file. Damian's talks are interesting if you haven't seen them before, but it's mostly entertainment.

    I go because I know interesting people will be there. I take over a table in the hallway and hang out with old friends. :)

    But then, I don't have to pay to do any of that. If it cost me anything, I wouldn't go.
    • But then, I don't have to pay to do any of that. If it cost me anything, I wouldn't go.

      Exactly.

      I might go, but only because a. I am not paying, and b. I would see stuff other than Perl sessions.
      • Indeed...paying money to hang out with you guys?! :D Maybe it's only us freeloading pub track people who go to TPC anymore...and that doesn't exactly pay the bills.
      • I think of it like this: if all you program in is Perl, and you never have to mess with Apache, MySQL, Linux, Javascript, Ruby, or PHP--then definitely go to YAPC. It's the best Perl conference there is, with a lot of great Perl content.

        But if you deal with a lot of non-Perl topics, and you find them interesting, then consider coming to OSCON. We cater to that kind of diversity of interests and needs. There'll always be a better conference for every topic we cover, but those conferences only cover that

        • Gnat, I basically agree with you, except that while you think OSCON should not have more Perl content, I think it should. However, this is not what I do for a living, so I would not even think of telling you that you're wrong: you certainly know the economics (both fiscal and social) of this stuff better than I do, by far. But to answer your query:

          I'm not sure why you're harumphing.

          Because I think it is sad that The Perl Conference is effectively dead. I liked it, and am sorry to see it gone.

          Perhaps you
    • While I agree OSCON06 seems to be a bit "fluffy" wrt Perl, there's definitely a reason to be in Portland [oregonbrewfest.com] for the week (and weekend!):

      BTW: Who picks from the submitted topics ? Is the issue a lack of interesting submissions, or a preference for O'Reilly authors ? (not a knock, just wondering aloud...)

      • BTW: Who picks from the submitted topics ? Is the issue a lack of interesting submissions, or a preference for O'Reilly authors?

        That would be me. I don't get to decide how many Perl talks the conference will have, but I rate them by preference. The talks you see there are the best of the lot. Best in the sense of interesting Perl developments, in the sense of well-written proposals (a good sign that the speaker can put together a reasonable session), and in presenting a good balance of subjects.

        That s

        • A question on money if I may.

          I've been to a couple of YAPCs, and I've even done a CeBIT (as an exhibitor).

          But OSCON is probably the first time I've done a conference priced at that level (even though as a speaker I did not pay).

          What I was really amazed about was that there were SO many conference workers that were just standing around doing nothing. I don't mean the O'Reilly people, who were just as busy as usual.

          I mean the people on the doors. There was one or two at every room, and for the most part they
          • I'm not affiliated with OSCON in any way, but I do organize a few conferences, and can speak about costs a bit.
            The biggest expense is generally catering, followed by A/V (unless like us you do it all in house), followed by the cost of the space, and then finally the cost of the the people standing around. Assuming catering is about $20 per head for each meal, plus $10 per head for coffee/breaks, you can see that is an assload of money. Compare with $20/hr * 12hrs * 5 days * 40 people. Still an assload
            • Mock's absolutely right about the order of the costs. I make it a point not to look at the conference budgets (I want to be focused on the program), but from the conversations I've had with the conferences staff the food and beverage budget is the biggest. To have an event in a big venue means you are forced to take the venue's caterer and their gouging rates. The Oregon Convention Center's rates are less gouging than a hotel's, but still well above what you'd expect to pay based on your shopping trips t

        • Hmmm. I know this organization that does technical conferences of this size and might be interested.
  • (To those of you new to OSCON, I'm the program chair--I herd the committee that selects the talk and the buck stops with me over the quality or otherwise of the program)

    As Allison said, the talks in there were those that the program committee voted for. The methodology this year was to put all the proposals into a big pile, vote on those that were relevant to you, and accept those with the best average vote. There was a problem last year (ironically!) with the quality of talks in some of the tracks, so

    • Gnat, maybe this question should be on your journal, or a story on the front page, so more people can have the opportunity to answer?

      And I don't want to be presumptuous, but did you really mean that the conference organizers picked topics that were relevant to *them* personally? Because it seems to me that might be a rather flawed way of doing it.
      • I'll wait for the front-page story until I am in a position to do something with the answers I get--the Perl track this year is set, I can't throw it out and start again. So in November or December, let's ask that question as a story.

        But until then, I'd still love to know what you would consider good talks in a Perl track. I like to keep criticism constructive.

        The program chairs picked talks that they thought the audience would be interested in. Often there's overlap between what a program chair want

        • But until then, I'd still love to know what you would consider good talks in a Perl track. I like to keep criticism constructive.

          Well ... keep in mind, I was not so much saying that you should have done things differently. I told you some general notions I had, that I wanted more meaty topics, for example. But aside from my lack of interest in meaty topics, what you have there seems OK to me. I just want more.

          Or are you saying you didn't have more because there weren't enough good topics? If so, then I'
    • To satisfy my curiosity, what topics would you like to see?

      It might be helpful to stimulate discussion if you posted a list of the submission titles ? (no names, and maybe scrubbing a few titles to protect the innocent).

      Much of the following is general to OSCON as a whole...

      I'd certainly like to see more useable content. PBP and HOP are swell and all, but I suspect most managers will find it hard to justify the expense of sending an employee to Portland for a week - including conference fees, trav

      • It might be helpful to stimulate discussion if you posted a list of the submission titles ? (no names, and maybe scrubbing a few titles to protect the innocent).

        No, that'd be figuring out what you wanted from what you were offered. But a key part of being program chair of a track is figuring out what you should have and reaching out to get it. So I really want to hear what you would want to see in a Perl track. That way we can get it next year. (In general, having this discussion buried deep in Pudg