20 April 2005

OpenOffice.org MiniConf Downunder

After only three weeks at home (during which I failed to catch up with the accumulated snail mail, among other things), I set off on another trip. This one is relatively short: only 11 days, and all within Australia. I'm starting in Canberra with the OpenOffice.org MiniConf, associated with linux.conf.au. The Linux conference runs from Monday 18 April through Saturday 23 April. The first two days are for a series of miniconferences, of which OpenOffice.org is one.

This conference is quite different from the RegiCon in San Diego, because it has no associated trade show; it's all talks, held in lecture halls at the Manning Clarke Centre, Australian National University. So I had no place to display and sell my collection of books about OOo. In fact the conference did not allow book sales, on the grounds that they had an official bookseller. This argument would have been more convincing to me if the bookseller had actually been there during the two days of the miniconf (they didn't show up until Wednesday) and if the bookseller had any books on OpenOffice.org on display (they didn't). Not to worry... I displayed my books on a table outside the OOo lecture hall but did not sell them. Lots of people expressed interest in the books, and no one from the linux conference came by to complain.

The talks ranged from case studies of companies switching to Linux and OpenOffice.org, to macro programming, to discussions of the work of the OOo developer community, and much more. I gave my talk on technical and academic writingusing OOo.

A highlight of this conference for me (as in San Diego) was the chance to meet people whom I knew only from email and the lists, and the chance to talk more with Ian Lynch about his INGOTS (International Grades in Office Technology) certification scheme, which is expanding rapidly from its UK base into other countries. After hours we retired to a nearby pub and continued socialising until far too late; an important part of any conference!