THE-CAMP 2008 WAS a repeat of the success from last year. Again this year 40 people, in all ages, from all over Denmark (plus an North America from Norway, plus a Dane from Holland) rallied for 7 days of of open source. TheCamp is the perfect opportunity for doing some serious nerding and spending time with others of same interest.

Again this year I had a lot planned for this year, but as expected I didn’t get though it all. Firstly I downloaded the latest Subversion revision of Boost 1.35.1 and did some Asio socket and thread programming. I’ve been using Mercurial for a while but planned a switch to Bazaar, so I got that install and moved my projects to a new (local) repository. I’ve bought a new Lenovo 3000 N200 laptop and planned for getting wireless lan up and running on it. That however, was surprisingly easy as everything was supported right out of the box on a Debian Unstable installation. I finally managed to check off a long time waiting TODO item of learning how to use CScope from Vim. I installed Aros on my spare laptop, an old Asus A1000, but Aros kept crashing on me, so I gave that up. Wednesday was more a chill-out day with drinking a few cold beers, taking to people generally enjoying that the sun had finally appeared ;-). I did get some Python programming done with libnotify though. Otherwise I played around with some programming with the Clutter-project toolkit along with it’s Python bindings Pyclutter. Additionally I also tried a bit of Docbook, but decided that LaTeX was better.

As per tradition at TheCamp there was plenty of guest speakers. There was three presentations a day, but of course attending was voluntary.

Sunday, the highlight was when Vim guru Preben Guldberg reran his Vim/regular-expressions presentation from last year. Preben is an expert user in Vim and is also seriously proficient in regular expressions (I think he’s got the black ninja belt in both categories). This year I grasped somewhat more that I did last year, so a great rerun ;-).

Monday Poul-Henning Kamp of FreeBSD/phkmalloc/Varnish fame gave a presentation on developer habits and tools. In essence his was tired of things like having to write linked lists or decide what hash-trees to use. He wished that the software industry would do for them selves, what they have done for all other industries – make the computer do the work. As always an interesting PHK speech, but I think the audience didn’t fully agree; as one argued: “There are being made progress with tools like Eclipse and frameworks like Ruby On Rails, but if you insist on using Vi and writing low level C, then your not really making it easier on your self”. In the evening, Linux multimedia enthusiast and game graphics designer, Rene Jensen held a Blender workshop where he gave a live introduction to Blender.

Tuesday Jørgen Olsen from Sun Microsystems Denmark presented OpenSolaris 2008.5 (sprinkled with Solaris comparisons as a few of the audience run Solaris at work). Jørgen may be an old guy that looks like a hippie with his headband and log grey hair – but he definitely know his Solaris/OpenSolaris stuff. We got a demonstration of the SMF (Service Management Facility) that is an attempt to replace the old system initialization scripts. Other topics was ZFS, Containers, virtualization and DTrace. Later that day Bjarke Walling gave a demonstration of Lego Mindstorm. It was a great run though of Lego Mindstorms hardware, software and historic. He had built a couple of robots and created a program upon feature request from the audience.

An interesting speech Wednesday was Flemming H. Sørensen’s presentation on the Syllable operating system. Flemming had been in the Syllable core group for a couple of years, having responsibility of the locale system. He, and a group of fellow Syllable friends, just forked Syllable to do development that they’d felt had been neglected far too long.

Thursday Preben Guldborg held another session of Vim tricks where one could ask questions or get help with.

All in all this voluntary driven TheCamp was just perfect again this year, and I will surely return next year.