Saturday, June 30, 2007

BARcamp Chicago Recap

This post is a little late, but as I like to say 'Better late than never' and I have multiple blogs post that have fallen off into the never category. Also this post is a little lenghty sorry. Well enough with my rambling and onto the good stuff the BARcamp Chicago recap.

A great accomplishment was that we were larger than BARcamp New York, we had 250 people over the weekend. Some other stats: 100 pizzas, 3 kegs of beer = 52.5 gallons of beer, ~120 bottles of microbrew beer and a couple bottles of liquor. We did pretty good, we finished all but one keg which we didn't tap. So it just shows everybody that chicago techies know how to drink. Not only did we have a great supply of food and drink, we also had a great supply of good talks. So many good talks that I couldn't catch them all. The talks that I did catch were really good.

I saw An Introduction to Linux Photography by Jordan Wilberding. In this presentation Jordan describe some initial steps like selecting a camera and calibrating your monitor but also talked about tools to use to work with photos in Linux. This talk had a good turn out probably about 15-20 people or so.

After this Tim gave a talk/discussion on Old Tech. This talk was about old technology like steam power and such and showing off his homemade ballista. This was a really cool session and I think we need to have more of these at next years BARcamp.

I also got to catch Tristan's talk on Home brewing, I have already since this presentation and had the presenter as my mentor to help me get into home brewing so this presentation was mostly just a reinforcement. It appeared that a lot of people were interested in this talk as I saw a couple people taking notes during the talk.

On Sunday was the day for Gnome and rPath. The first talk was an introduction to rPath appliances by showing off the MythTV appliance. This talk by Ken had a few hiccups first the myth box wouldn't connect to the projector and neither would Ken's laptop so he just talked people through an install on the LCD monitor I brought. People really seemed to like the idea that it boot straight into MythTV and took care of the setup for you. You don't have to worry about starting up mythTV yourself or any of that fuss.

Later Ken gave his talk on Foresight Linux. This talk had a good crowd, the main room was full about 50 people. People asked a lot of really good questions and the comments I heard were people amazed at how much easier rPath appliances are and the selection we have. For instance, Nate was amazed by the wordpress-mu appliance we had and told me that is exactly what they are looking for at his company.

Right after Ken's talk I held the first ever Chicago Gnome User Group meeting. We had about 10 people there and the main point of this talk was to express my ideas for what this group should do and how we should help out upstream Gnome. We had some good discussion about what can be done with the group. Paul suggested that we have a Gnome 2.20 release party and I think this is a great idea, so look forward to that. I will give a full wrap of this meeting in another post.

The beer and food was good and the talks were great but the best part about BARcamp was the networking that I did with people there. Mainly I got to meet two great guys that I work with on Foresight and have talked with online but this was the first time meeting in person. I also got to meet some new faces to the Foresight community, Ryan that is you. But I also meet fellow chicago gnomeers and look forward to future collaboration. The ChiGLUG took up around the installfest and kegs and helped people with any Linux questions they may have had and even installed Foresight on a couple peoples laptops.

I have a couple pictures from BARcamp which can be found here. Also here is a short video of BARcamp provide by BusinessPOV.

Overall BARcamp was amazing and I would like to thanks all of the sponsors, presenters and attendees for making it so great. I am already looking forward to next years and wondering what we can do to make it even better. I know one thing we could do is get more Foresight devs there and have a mini Foresight hack session ;) but that is just wishful thinking.

If you have any suggestions for next years BARcamp or comments about this years just leave me a comment and I will respond. Also if I have mentioned your talk and you have a link to your slides online just post the link in the comment and I will add it to the post.

See you all at BARcamp2008.


Jordan Wilberding said...

Great post Kevin! You did a good job of summarizing BARcamp. I added your post to the blog, video, picture, etc, page at

Any idea when Gnome 2.20 is coming up? I would be up for a celebration!


Special Kevin said...


Thanks for added it to the BARcamp site. The release date for Gnome 2.20 is Sept 19th.