Soon after joining the Inkscape developer's mailing list, I was introduced to a conference called the Libre Graphics Meeting. In its second year, the event was held in Montreal on May 4th through 6th at École Polytechnique de Montréal. Being from Ottawa, a mere two hour drive away, I felt it was practically mandatory that I make the trip to meet fellow Inkscape developers and learn a bit about the open source world.
Andrew (my fiancė) and I woke up at 5:45 a.m. on Friday morning. Understand that, for software developers, this feels like the middle of the night, so I was proud of Andrew for actually falling out of bed on time. After some breakfast for me and coffee for him, we hit the road. The drive was mostly easy, though the traffic in Montreal at 8:45 a.m. was slightly heavy, making our drive a bit longer than the estimated two hours.
We quickly checked in to Les Studios Hôtel and ran up the hill to the conference building. We made it just in time for the first English talk (many were in French), and one of the most interesting to Andrew: "Why open standards matter: The Open Document Format." I will post about this and other interesting talks later.
For most of the day Friday we listened to more talks, and then we went back to the hotel to bring our stuff up to our room. I should really put quotes around the word hotel because it was really more like a jail that we paid to stay in. The room was tiny (even smaller than expected), and the walls were concrete blocks that were painted white. The bed was probably worse than sleeping on the floor. The things we were supposed to put our heads on were the worst excuses for pillows we've ever seen. Seemed more like folded up tarps with pillow cases.
But enough belly-aching about that. We survived, and it was only $50/night.
Thanks to the "Grand Souper" being held that night, time in the jail cell was cut short. Some buffet food and a free glass of wine fueled us as we chatted with Inkscape developers and some new friends from other organizations. It was during this time that Andrew and I gained the most insight into the open source world.
The remaining two days of the conference had fewer talks we were interested in, so we took the opportunity to walk around downtown Montreal, ensuring a stop at two of the many local brew pubs.
My reflections on the open source side of things should come through in later entries about the conference's talks, but I can sum the experience up with one thought: Supporters of open source are nothing if they are not passionate.