Linux Conf Au 2009 Hobart – Day 4

January 30, 2009 Technical, General

Day 4 of Linux Conf Au began with a hangover for many after the “Penguin Dinner” for professional delegates, and an equal number of empty wallets. The open source community generously gives a lot of their time to free software, and they are equally generous when it comes to other good causes such as the plight of the Tasmanian Devils. An auction was held for an impressive nature photograph print and other valuable items, at which we were able to raise an impressive $40,000+ figure. Awesome!

The presentation on CELT: A Low-Latency, High-quality Audio Codec by Timothy Terriberry was an eye (and ear) opener. It lives up to the claims made in the title, and then some, with amazing quality. A live demo was given and I think it surprised a lot of people. I wouldn’t be surprised if this codec starts turning up in commercial products before long.

I briefly attended The Joy of Inkscape by Donna Benjamin, a tutorial on the ins and outs of this fantastic vector-based graphic illustrator. I was already familiar with the application to some extent as I’d used it for generating the diagrams in my presentation last year, but it was nice to pick up a couple of tips before darting off to another interesting presentation in the same timeslot.

The afternoon yielded some extremely satisfying learning. Jeff Arnold presented Ksplice: Rebootless Kernel Updates to a very large, expectant audience (in a very small and stuffy room). Ksplice promises to revolutionise the way we handle security updates. Given the very active community based around discovery of security vulnerabilities in open source software, we see updates for the Linux kernel quite frequently (often multiple times per month). Reboots are inconvenient for us and clients, and any possibility of reducing the number of reboots we have to perform on our growing flock of servers is welcome. If Ksplice can earn the support of commercial software vendors, it should give a large chunk of time back to us lowly sysadmins 🙂

And of course, the day wouldn’t have been complete without seeing a robot-powered clarinet running on Linux!