LOADays: the follow up

This weekend i was in Antwerpen for the Linux Open Administration Days. Or Handwerpen as Bert Desmet puts it so fondly. I was there to present puppetmanaged.org and some practical discussions on how to migrate to it's sometimes not so user friendly structure. For the rest, i went in with an open mind.

When Jeroen van Meeuwen and I arrived at the hotel, we ran into a small group of what were obviously sysadmins. It seemed there was also some kind of wedding or party going on because there were alot of people coming in with all sorts of musical instruments, dressed in a very middle eastern style, with robes and multicolor gowns and bustling all over the place. In contrast, four guys sitting in a circle with laptops out is not hard to spot.

We went downtown for some dinner, at a restaurant where a polylingual waiter served us in practically every language we wanted. After going around the table in three languages, English, French and Dutch, he finally looks at me and says, "oh good, at least we have one Belgian". So i said where i was from and that i'm living in the Netherlands, and that set off a 'oh, you poor thing.' Over dinner, we had a really great conversation about what we see as the future of configuration management and all sorts of other fun sysadmin-y topics.

My presentation went ok, though it was my first iteration of the slides and presentation. I think because of the unique way i positioned the presentation, i put too much information in and made the classic mistake of not having the perspective to see it. I'm hoping the next time i do this, i can do puppetmanaged.org better justice.

After my presentation, i spent the better part of an hour talking to Dan Bode from the newly minted PuppetLabs about some of the issues we are both trying to solve. The conversation went over how puppetmanaged.org deviates from the official recommendations from PuppetLabs and the differences is approach to our solutions. My big takeaway from the conversation is that it's very easy to make these things complex really fast. It's going to be an interesting challenge to keep these tools simple, which is what made them so attractive in the first place.

After the first day, the LOAD team treated us all to beer and pizza, first outside by the pavilion at the school where the event was held, and afterwards, we moved to a nearby pub for even more beer. Given my previous experiences in Belgium, namely Fosdem, i took it easy and left around 12, so i wouldn't regret it the next morning.

The second day was a little bit more relaxed. I started with two round table discussions, the first on "Open Core" vs. "Open Source" projects and companies. The second was on the general topic of configuration management. It was really good to be able to discuss the future of Configuration Management in general without it turning into a flamewar on who's tool was better.

After the lunch break i sat in on two more sessions, one on how to do configuration management entirely with RPMs, and the second was on the LSC project, the LDAP Synchronization Connector, which i'm pretty sure we will be using in the future internally.

I want to thank the LOAD team for putting together the event. It really went smoothly, there were no issues getting around and getting things done. It was a great pleasure to have the chance to meet many people from all over Europe and even a few from the US who are looking to solve almost all the same problems i am. I can see alot of potential for this event in the future.