Monday, 7 February 2011

PostgreSQL @ FOSDEM 2011

I returned from Brussels with Dave Page yesterday where I attended FOSDEM. It was my first time at this event and had a great time. Loads of organisations were represented there including Mozilla (promoting Firefox), LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Debian, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, FreeBSD, Perl, FSFE, Mandriva, Gnome, KDE, CentOS, CAcert, and many others.

And of course, PostgreSQL, where I was helping out, selling various items and talking to people about Postgres itself. All the plush blue elephants were sold (and there were quite a lot), all the stress balls sold, many t-shirts and backpacks sold, and all the pins and pens were given away too. In fact the last pin was taken by a friendly Monty Widenius (creator MySQL and now MariaDB) which he put on there and then. Perl, who were our next-door neighbours, bought one of the plush PostgreSQL elephants and placed it atop their massive Perl camel, which we then declared made it pl/Perl. And one person even bought a batch of 100 stress balls which were placed in a PostgreSQL backpack for him to carry them off with. We also introduced a promotion which stated that if you could prove that you're an Oracle employee, you got a stress ball completely free of charge. Sadly no-one took us up on that offer.

Unfortunately I didn't make it to many talks. I only attended three which were Heikki Linnakangas from EnterpriseDB talking about creating custom data types and operators in PostgreSQL, Tatsuo Ishii from SRA OSS Inc introducing pgPool II version 3, and Damien Clochard of Dalibo explaining PGXN. I had hoped to make it to at least one of the LibreOffice talks and get to talk to their guys at the booth, but didn't get round to it, and there was also a talk from folk at Sirius about open source software and whether the UK government is backing it, which I had hoped to see but was too late for. But the whole thing was a complete geek-fest, and I'd definitely want to go again.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

FOSDEM, here we come!

FOSDEM is running this weekend in Brussels, and there are a plethora of talks to attend. Naturally I'll be very interested in the PostgreSQL-related talks, and they are as follows:

Sunday - 10am

PL/Parrot - David Fetter will be giving his talk about this new procedural language addition. I don't actually know much about this, which is why I'm especially interested.

Asynchronous Notifications for Fun and Profit - Marc Balmer's talk on asynchronous notifications in PostgreSQL will cover message brokering in distributed environments. This is, annoyingly, at the same time as David's talk.

Sunday - 11am

PostgreSQL extension's (sic) development - Dimitri Fontaine will be sharing his expertise on extension development, hopefully covering the subject of what he's been hard at work on: extension management within PostgreSQL itself.

Sunday - 12pm

Writing a user-defined type - The scarily clever Heikki Linnakangas will explain how you can create your own data type, create operators to work with it, and methods to apply indexing to them.

Sunday - 2pm

Introduction to pgpool-II version 3 - Tatsuo Ishii will be coming all the way from Kanagawa in Japan to talk about the all new version of pgPool II, and how it takes advantage of the new built-in streaming replication feature introduced in PostgreSQL 9.0.

Sunday - 3pm

Get ready for the PostgreSQL Extension Network - Damien Clochard will talk about the exciting new PGXN project (PostgreSQL Extension Network - kind of like Perl's CPAN) which David Wheeler has been developing.

Sunday - 4pm

Using MVCC for Clustered Databases - Marcus Wanner's talk will be on utilising MVCC (Multi-Version Concurrency Control) in the cluster, and how Postgres-R (a multi-master replication extension to PostgreSQL) uses it to effect.

Besides PostgreSQL-related talks, other ones I'm interested in are:
  • Sirius: Is the UK Government backing Free Software?
  • flashrom: Run your BIOS/EFI/firmware updates under any free OS
  • Happily hacking LibreOffice
  • The Document Foundation - four months in the making
... and no doubt I'll find others that'll pique my interest too. This will be my first time at FOSDEM, so I'm really looking forward to it.