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Ubuntu Distro Sprint, Norway

  • 5th Feb, 2007 at 8:49 AM

Good morning, London
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I'm a tad slow to write about things these days, I think I'm suffering from writer's block. But I'm finally able to sit down and write about my trip to Norway.

On 20 January, I hailed a cab and asked the driver to take me to Dorval. Instead of the normal ridiculously early flight, I had managed to book one for the evening. This was a welcome change and I was positively cheering going through airport security. I arrived early, so I sat about in the lounge, surfing the Internet, until the sun went down and we boarded the aircraft. I fell asleep immediately. When I woke up, we were just landing in London and I groggily collected my possessions.

I tried to get my bearings and stumbled into a queue. I went through airport security again, because the English don't believe that other countries do proper checks. Then I was spit out into some concourse shopping area. Heathrow is a very busy place, with people scurrying around and looking harried.

I pulled out my cellphone and tried to call Kyle. That's when I felt someone bump into me and I sped up my pace. Then another bump and I turned around to face my assailant. Oh, hi Kyle. We found a spot and waited for video screen to announce our gate to Oslo.

Are you where you are?
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I dropped off again once we boarded the aeroplane and woke up for a snowy landing in Oslo. But it was 10°C warmer when compared to Montreal. I watched the luggage handlers unload our bags as people grabbed things from the overhead compartments. When we got out, I immediately noticed that the airport looked like a giant IKEA. We walked down a hallway with modular units, I ducked into a modular toilet, after passing a modular firehose, modular storage closet, and modular ventilation shaft. It was so modern that even the graffiti emphasized good design.

We found our way to the Flytoget, the airport expresss train, and bought some tickets using the automated teller. Then I tried to go through the turnstile but was defeated by my own stupidity. The security guard, who looked like a Valkyrie, took pity on me and waved me through. We got on the train and had just stowed our luggage when Daniel boarded our car. Hurray for chance meetings! We chatted as the train sped through the countryside and past snowy stations. I stared out the window as the bullet train made streaks out of tunnel lights.

An Ubuntu distribution sprint happens midway through the development cycle of each release. This one, for Oslo, concentrating on some last minute issues. Developers worked together on various features that required co-ordination, showed each other the bits they were working on, and had conversations about things that needed to get done. This was all done in the Scandic KNA, which is in the National Theatre district of Oslo. This was a short walk from the train station and we checked in with a minimum of fuss.

Hotel KNA
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

The next day, we got up bright and early. I spoke with Henrik about his idea for getting more people involved in testing the CD images we use to distribute Ubuntu. For the past couple of releases, we stop all development for a week before we release the distribution. Everyone stops and tries to install Ubuntu on all of their machines. The big problems with this method are that we stall developers for an entire week and we don't test the installer on enough diverse machines. His plan involves working with the Ubuntu Forums. Instructions for how to help out are there in a sticky thread.

The area around the hotel is pretty and relatively new. I think there's some kind of school or university across the street, students were always going in and out at around lunchtime. They had wrapped an entire building in plastic wrap and were doing some form of renovations. Tollef informs me that this area used to be the docks, but those got shut down and now it's full of condos. That's why everything is so convenient and hip and trendy. It reminded me of Canada, specifically Montréal, and alleviated some of the homesickness.

I also talked with Robert about bug triage and how to get more volunteers. Although the BugSquad and Ubuntu QA are growing at a steady pace, we still don't have the critical mass that keeps #ubuntu-bugs busy all the time. One of the suggestions is to create an announcement-only mailing list that tells people how to participate in new QA endeavours. People on the BugSquad should expect to be signed up soon.

Monte Carlo Rally
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

On Thursday, to our surprise, the Monte Carlo Car Rally started just outside the hotel's front door. Car enthusiasts invaded, classic cars were parked in the garage, and we saw them queue up to start racing. Lovely, lovely machines.

We're definitely going to do things that make triaging easier and more exciting. For instance, bughelper is something that Henrik and Daniel have been hacking on. Bughelper is designed to help sift through bugs in the Ubuntu distribution and find what you're looking for. Be they duplicates, crashes, or a particular type of bug, it can help you in your searches. It's almost like a bug-grepper actually. And it's very, very helpful.

That evening, we went to Henrik's house for dinner. Phillip, who's working on his genetics Ph.D. made us all a very lovely meal. It was my first exposure to fishpudding, which appears to be something that Norwegians like serving to foreigners. A practical joke, perhaps? After dinner, we discovered that the neighbourhood football pitch had frozen over. After locating a tennis ball, a group of us went outside and played a variant of hockey. Until we lost the puck in the snow.

Cosmic bowling
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

By now, people were starting to show signs of fatigue. Both Robert and Scott attended linux.conf.au right before they showed up. This meant they were disease vectors, which is what happens when you bring a whole bunch of people from all over the world into one big petri-dish of conference hall. Their particular plague seemed to be brutal, but not very contagious, as only some of us got violently ill. As usual, I happened to catch it.

On Friday night, we walked down to the fjords and stared out at the sea. They really are lovely, but there were a lot of people down by the docks so it was difficult to examine them properly. Tollef had made some reservations for us at a local Indian restaurant and we were treated to a lovely meal. Everything was cooked perfectly and left us happy and satiated.

Then came the bowling. Ben wanted to see just how many of us would lace up in smelly, rented shoes and embarass ourselves. I thought this was a marvellous idea. The first frame I ever threw was sort of a strange disaster. That's because I had never bowled before. So I tossed the bowling ball, which was far too heavy, backwards into my team. I managed to do reasonably well, for a beginner, by the end of the night. We stumbled back to hotel, tired but happy.

Early the next morning, Kyle and I woke up and headed to the airport. We caught the same flight to Heathrow, met Ben at the terminal, and then parted ways. I landed in Montréal feeling very tired and grumpy, but brightened up when I got out. Instead of my usual routine of catching the bus, I was swarmed by a group of friends. They had come, on my birthday, to whisk me away to a surprise party. I love you guys!

I had a very long bath and slept for a very long time.


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
5th Feb, 2007 15:14 (UTC)
Scandinavian design can be startling when seen in large amounts. I remember when I landed in Iceland, my first thought at seeing the airport was "what if they had a war and Ikea won?".
5th Feb, 2007 19:09 (UTC)
There'd be a lot more common sense.
5th Feb, 2007 15:50 (UTC)
OSL Gardermoen is a very new airport, and I think it won some awards for its design. I actually did find it, Douglas Adams be damned, rather pretty. Lots of nice wood accents.

And while I'm here, "the Flytoget" is redundant, since the "-et" ending is a definite article. Not that I speak Norwegian or anything.
5th Feb, 2007 19:10 (UTC)
The wood is a nice touch. It reminds me of living like a yuppie, as opposed to living like a prisoner.
(no subject) - dcoombs - 5th Feb, 2007 19:26 (UTC) - Expand
5th Feb, 2007 15:54 (UTC)
Awesome graffiti.
5th Feb, 2007 19:10 (UTC)
That's not graffiti, it's actually brass inlaid into the paving stones.
(no subject) - dcoombs - 5th Feb, 2007 19:27 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 5th Feb, 2007 20:23 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dcoombs - 5th Feb, 2007 20:27 (UTC) - Expand
5th Feb, 2007 17:42 (UTC)
your posts are always so good!

but you should talk more about gaysians! also, NOT ENOUGH BICEPS!
5th Feb, 2007 20:24 (UTC)
That is because I am not working out at the gym, so I don't have the biceps for you to admire. However, I've been inviting bicep-advantaged fellows to my parties, doubtless you've noticed them!
5th Feb, 2007 17:54 (UTC)
I was sad that your trip to Norway coincided so neatly with my trip to Ontario. But I'm glad you enjoyed it and are back safe.
5th Feb, 2007 20:28 (UTC)
It is too bad. It would have been lovely to see you again, if I were in town.

Actually, I live in Québec, so I'd still have a little ways to travel.
(no subject) - relisabeth - 8th Feb, 2007 04:25 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 8th Feb, 2007 17:25 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - relisabeth - 10th Feb, 2007 02:38 (UTC) - Expand
5th Feb, 2007 19:43 (UTC)
Thanks so much for the postcard! Sounds like you've had a great trip. :-)
5th Feb, 2007 20:29 (UTC)
You're quite welcome. The trip was interesting, as usual, but it is good to be back home.
5th Feb, 2007 19:44 (UTC)
You're other birthday party was too awesome, and I had a great time (I think K did too :) I drank too much, and I'm sure I was quite silly a few times. And the cakes were amazing! I loved dressing up too. There are just not enough opportunities for that when you're an adult.

It has been too long sine I last saw you, and we hardly talked at all. K and I were planning to gift you with a wee cactus to brighten up your place, and so you don't have to worry about it needing water while you're away. I also need to return your book. Is there an evening this week when we can stop by for a bit?
5th Feb, 2007 20:31 (UTC)
It looks like my Sunday is still free. Would you like to meet then?
(no subject) - baprime - 6th Feb, 2007 22:22 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 8th Feb, 2007 17:25 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sfllaw - 5th Feb, 2007 20:32 (UTC) - Expand
5th Feb, 2007 20:03 (UTC)
Fjords in Oslo? HAHAHA! There are no fjords in Oslo!

As a norwegian, I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in Oslo. However, almost all norwegian (about 95% I guess) consider Oslo to be boring, flat, polluted and ugly.

For your next visit, try the second largest city: Bergen!
5th Feb, 2007 20:59 (UTC)
I'll keep that in mind the next time I visit. Thanks!
Re: FJORDS??? - (Anonymous) - 5th Feb, 2007 22:13 (UTC) - Expand
5th Feb, 2007 23:46 (UTC)
sounds like a lot of fun.
6th Feb, 2007 16:19 (UTC)
It was!
6th Feb, 2007 04:04 (UTC)
Wow! I really like the cosmic bowling photo. Some of your photos are truely amazing. Just wondering ... do your sell any of your work?
6th Feb, 2007 16:23 (UTC)
Thank you!

I actually do sell my photographic work. I do photo shoots and am more than happy to sell you prints. Did you have something in mind?

Of course, you're more than welcome to print them yourself, if you follow the copyright license attached. The most common one on my photographs is the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license, if you're unsure, just ask..
13th Feb, 2007 15:07 (UTC)
nice :)
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )