Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. (Robert Louis Stevenson)
The first day of the FLOSS UK Spring Conference is all about meeting people who you may not have see for a whole year, joining in on a pre-conference social event, and hopefully attending a workshop.
There were three workshops run at this year's event by Tim Fletcher, Shadowcat Systems and Google.
Tim ran a workshop on Digital Forensics. This workshop was aimed at showing how much information is collected by our electronic devices as a matter of their normal functioning. Tim then showed a number of tools that allow you to extract this data and reconstruct events from the information. One of his examples were a series of nondescript images from a phone, distinguishing details were removed but the attendees were still able to construct a map of the route the photographer took across a city.
Google ran a workshop on designing and implementing large scale system design. Google has a unique position in the world in that it has had to implement a number of large-scale systems and has to design and implement new ones. This skill set is not something that is common in the world so the ability to learn the implementation, design and structure of such systems is a wonderful opportunity.
Shadowcat systems took a new approach to a workshop they have given a number of times in the past. For a few years Ian Norton and Tom Bloor have been running introductions to using Perl. This year they decided to take the attendees on a journey from Zero to Perl. This was essentially a fast introduction to the programming language and then a run through the best practices for developing, managing and controlling a Perl environment.
Ian and Tom were looking at improving the skill set of people who are familiar with at least one programming language by adding in knowledge about the mature tool set available in Perl for system administrators. At the same time they hoped to show administrators how to construct a good environment for developers seeking to use Perl.
The day was rounded off with an evening event at the Old Swan in York. FLOSS UK had secured a generous sponsorship of money behind the bar for a drink for all attendees and the aim of the evening was social bonding before the start of the main conference.
I love that FLOSS UK always starts in such a gentle fashion and combines both conference, social events and workshops.
The point of a workshop is not to deliver a bounty; not to prepare for a frugal winter; it is to sow the seeds in the hope that new growth will occur in Spring and blossom into a glorious and fruitful Summer.
This is what the first day of a Spring conference is all about, it sows the seeds in the heads of the attendees. So I think a generous round of applause needs to be lauded on the farmers.
 Always save the best until last.