This year’s LibreOffice conference was held in Rome. I’d already been in a LibO conference last year, so this time I had a guess on what to expect. This time, I went as a software engineer of Collabora Productivity, which made the conference more interesting. I spent six days in Rome, in which there were three conference days, one day for Collabora meetup and team-building and I had two days for sightseeing too (the first and the last day).
I arrived to Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (which is called simply Fiumicino by the Italians) on Monday afternoon. The airport is near to the sea, so I had to take a train to go to the city center. The ticket is quite expensive (€14), but the fun fact is that if you don’t validate your ticket with the quite unnoticeable ticket validating machine, you have to pay an extra €50.
After I had arrived to the train station and I had taken over the accommodation I went sightseeing. The first thing I wanted to see was the Colosseum, which I found enormous and fascinating from the first glance. It was interesting to stand on a building which I’ve heard a lot about but I’ve never seen it with my own eyes. One thing which was a bit annoying was the countless litter thrown away at the foot of the building and actually all over the streets of Rome.
After that I wanted to visit the Forum Romanum. Then, I headed to the fountain of Trevi through piazza Venezia, the Church of the Gesú (which is often said to be the first church built in baroque style) and the Pantheon. I found an unreasonable number of tourists in piazza Trevi (piazza means square). I know that it’s famous, and I agree that it’s a beautiful fountain, but even so… I couldn’t get to the edge of the fountain because of the crowd.
It was time to meet the colleges, not through the screen of my computer this time. We played airsoft, so I had finally the opportunity to shoot the unsuspicious colleges in the back. 🙂
After that, we had a pretty good lunch in a nice Italian restaurant, and had a team-meeting with brainstorming in the apartment.
First day of the conference. The conference building was in the hearth of Rome, in an unbelievably fancy museum, university or something in between.
I had a talk in the evening with the title “Quantum computing with VBA”. It is still a bit stressful for me to present for an international audience which is probably full of developers more experienced than me. However, the talk seemed to be welcomed with great enthusiasm and it was successful after all. I think it is an important thing to practice public speech, especially by software development, where sometimes the key of success is mostly about communication skills.
In the second day the most interesting thing was the hack night after the conference. This event is about programming in groups, while you can eat sandwiches and drink beer. For me, it meant a great opportunity to see how others approach a LibreOffice-related problem, how they use their computer, and how they set up their environment. I learnt a bunch of useful stuff in just one night.
Last day of the conference. I listened to some fascinating talks, e.g. “Cursing Compilers” from Stephann Bergmann, and “Brute force clang plugins” from Noel Grandin (I’ve always loved thoughts about compilers, without any explanation for that). After that I had a little talk in the Lightning Talks session about JODConverter, which is a java based document format converter program that now can use Collabora Online for converting the documents. Finally, we got to know that the next conference will be in Tirana, Albania. My day ended with visiting the Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican.
I had a really good time in Rome, and I am waiting for the next conference in Albania. There are a lot of bugs to fix until that of course.