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debian party; an eyewitness report

Fellow Debian-Geeks,

I tore my ligaments this afternoon playing volleyball, but the doctor seemingly didn't understand when she called me crazy to go to a party. Well, I did -- on crutches -- and I am glad I did. In the hope that other sites will share a short report of their event, I am herewith reporting on what happened this very night in the wonderful city of Zurich (Switzerland). The party was a blast!

http://www.etoy.com/debian
We were hosted by etoy.com, who apparently has some experience with event management. It started at 19:30 on the roof of a building that's home to two clubs along with three rather big companies (suppliers of dairy food derivatives to Switzerland). Etoy, along with 10 other sponsors had reserved a space and put up inflatable seating tubes (which were, uh, not sooooo ergonomic). The mingling was eased by the free beer and free sausages they served, and everyone was having a good time -- everyone being about 180 registered and another 60 previously unregistered guests.

In addition to the free food and drinks, Etoy also provided two DJs that definitely caused the ocassional rockin' hip, but all in all did not hinder the social aspect of being together amongst interesting people. And it was interesting to see how diverse geekdom can get. We had WLAN access up there, but only a few had laptops, and the usual geeky behaviour seen at conferences did not surface. After all, we had nothing to prove to each other (isn't that what geeks are all about) and noone to convert. Instead, everyone was having a good time, and it was impossible to get bored.

Of course, the main topic was Debian in all its forms, and while, apart from some ideas that might be worth pursuing, we didn't get productive, it was a joy to see so many people brought together because of the belief in a project. As the evening progressed, of course the topics broadened, and by midnight, the space was still superfull with people chatting and enjoying their time... that's a pretty good indicator of success, no?

But wait, not so fast. There were also organised contents in the form of presentations. A short podium discussion was held on the question of how to make money with Open Source, and talks on other topics which evaded me because I had to leave for a while and rest my foot.

I was, of course, back in time for the obligatory "happy birthday" chorus... I am telling ya: world class... we could have recorded that song and shot straight into the top 10!

Thereafter, we held a keysigning party where 35 participants were joint by a couple of late comers, and the usual chaos emerged from people following a simple set of rules. Btw: even though keysigning is O(n2), the fact that you have n "processors" let's you approach O(log n), given that all do exactly as they are told. I think that's right, but then again I was surely drunk at that time.

A nice addition to the event was the presence of the government of the Transnational Republic (www.transnationalrepublic.org), which issued official passports to old and new citizens at the event. If you haven't heard of this before, check it out. It's a cool idea (which I find to be not at all incompatible with Debian).

Shortly after midnight, a sweet smell tingled our noses as the organisers revealed the culinary highlight of the day: Thai vegetable stirfry with the optional duck breast (which was really damn good).

I left the party at 01:00 mainly because my ankle was throbbing. Unfortunately, there was also a (thunder)storm building up, so at least the electronic infrastructure was moved inside. I doubt that a few drops of rain tore that party apart, and even if, the choice of venue results in about 10 Zurich clubs reachable within a 5 minute stroll. The show will go on.

All in all, a great party. I would herewith like to thank the Etoy crew for organising this splendid event (and hope that a future cooperation might evolve). I hope that in the other 26 locations, the fête was at least as cool.

And now, I am falling into bed. Screw that bloody ankle. A night out in Zurich, good music, cool people, food and drink, and all that for free. Hell yeah, now I know what this "Free Beer and Free Speech" thing is all about...

/me out

PS: I didn't take pictures, but a couple of Debian developers passed out our email addresses to folks pressing the shutter here and there. Hopefully we'll be able to assemble a gallery of shots from that night.

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