So I’ve been in [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Budapest Budapest] (read: Boodapesht) to attend the [http://uds.ubuntu.com Ubuntu Developer Summit] for [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Oneiric Oneric] [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Ocelot Ocelot]. It was my first UDS and, having attended conferences such as [http://www.guadec.org GUADEC], [http://www.fosdem.org FOSDEM], [http://www.linuxtag.org Linuxtag], [http://www.froscon.de/ FrOSCon] or [http://www.openrheinruhr.de/ OpenRheinRuhr] the experience was very different from what I knew.
The programme is tightly composed of sessions running one hour each, starting nine o’clock in the morning and ending at six in the evening. Session here means active discussion between all participants in the room as well as people on IRC which can listen through icecast. And the tracks (Desktop, Security, etc.) are very well spread so one can almost always find an interesting session. In the middle of each daily programme there’s one hour of talks, and Lightning Talks on the last day. These work the same as on other conferences.
I have to say I’ve quickly come to prefer this style. I didn’t find myself hacking out of boredom, which honestly is a habit I formed quickly on other conferences. And even during breaks between sessions the time is used to talk about the topics raised in sessions, or meeting [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Marc_Shuttleworth key] [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thomas_Bushnell people] [https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Jono_Bacon from] [https://twitter.com/#!/lallenlowe the] [http://seilo.geekyogre.com free] [http://blogs.oracle.com/GullFOSS/entry/building_openoffice_org_with_gnu software] [http://ramnet.se/~nisse/blog/ world].
A side effect of some discussions over dinner was actually plans for implementing the biggest missing piece to [http://www.twotoasts.de/index.php?/archives/39-Reading-mail-without-distraction.html the mail reader I’m working on]. There’s a lot of inspiration and motivation in encountering massive amounts of productive energy concentrated in one place.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much of Budapest as a city or its culture. I learnt at least that Greek food there is much better than in Germany, although I can’t tell which one is the real deal. If you’re willing to follow obscure directions you’ll find great places to eat and drink. The standard beers are a Hungarian brand and Heineken, neither of which I would pick unless it’s the only option on the menu.