by Suw on August 22, 2005

I spent much of my evenings and mornings this weekend watching the video feed from BarCamp, the impromptu open source alternative to FooCamp.
For those of you who don't know, FooCamp is a camp-out organised by publishing house O'Reilly. (In case you're wondering, 'foo' = 'Friends Of O'Reilly', but is also used in programming as an example variable name, e.g. $foo to mean $whatever_variable_goes_in_here. (Additionally, c.f. Foo Fighters and UFOs.)) It's an cosy little event (just 225 attendees, so terribly, terribly cosy. Specially as they all have to share a sleeping bag) which works on a strictly invite-only basis. Trouble is, you simply can't fit in all the people who want to go (which is always more than 225 people), so inevitably some get left off the list.
A couple of weeks ago, if that, Chris Messina, Andy Smith, Tantek Çelik, Matt Mullenweg, Ryan King and Eris Free thought that it'd be sort of cool to do a BarCamp for all the people who wanted to go to FooCamp but didn't get an invitation. No animosity, no competition, just an open source version. Only rule: If you come, you present (or help).
They got a venue from SocialText, and a whole bunch of really cool people to come and hang out and talk about geeky stuff. It was great fun watching the video stream, chatting in the #barcamp IRC channel, and generally wishing that I'd been able to be there. (Well, there and at FooCamp. I'm not too proud to say I would have loved to have been at both.)
Whilst I was talking to Chris, I rashly suggested that I start the ball rolling on BarCampUK. Not that I don't have enough on my plate already, but the guiding principle behind BarCamp is self-organisation. That is to say, there's no finding speakers or setting up a schedule – people just pitch up and present. Or hang out. Or hack code. Or whatever.
One of the things that I loved about San Francisco is just how often and how easily the geeks there seem to get together. Hacker parties where geeks sit around coding. Tag Tuesday were geeks sit around talking about the tagging. These get-togethers seem to happen so easily there. Why not here?
So, who's up for BarCampUK? We need a venue. A date. Wifi. Maybe some T-shirts. And a bunch of geeks who want to just get together and throw ideas around. (Of course, if there's anyone who wants to help me with the unavoidable logistics side of things, so much the better.)
Sign your name in the comments on the wiki if you want to come.
(PS Sorry for all the parentheses. (It's just a temporary affliction.))

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Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 12:17 am

I want to come! Not sure what I could do to help out with the logistics side of things, but in theory I'm up for helping too 🙂

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 2:32 am

Suw (who writes (in chocnvodka (a blog filled with enthusiasm ( bubbling enthusiasm, actually (i.e. for the $arbitrary_topic))))) has taken to writing in Lisp (i.e. judging from the number of “(“s and “)”s).

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 6:15 am

I'm up for it. And I can help with logistics

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 7:18 am

I'm up for this.

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 7:42 am

Count me in

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 8:32 am

cool idea, could such a thing be organised an evening alongside an event like LinuxWorld.

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 9:04 am

Yep I'm up for that as well – may I suggest Edinbnurgh as a venue asd we have much nicer beer, better licencing laws and I'm pretty sure a massive talking space can be found for a really good rate…

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 9:04 am

THat one above was me btw, Ewan (

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 11:26 am

Sign me up. I'd almost suggest Cardiff – free wi-fi across the city, after all. And only two hours from London. 😉
Having said that, given the London-centric nature of the geeks around us, I imagine it'll be London…

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 12:58 pm

I'm all for Cardiff-centric geeks, I'm Cardiff based myself, so no complaints from me. And a venue could be found, everything depends on numbers expected.

Anonymous August 23, 2005 at 2:56 pm

See the wikipedia entry on Foo

Anonymous August 24, 2005 at 1:01 pm

Oh, is this supposed to be just another UK thing? You know, there is a nice big continent full of geeks near you, and we do speak english too. :o)

Anonymous August 24, 2005 at 6:30 pm
Anonymous August 24, 2005 at 10:04 pm

Ooh! Thank you Anonymous!

Anonymous August 24, 2005 at 10:06 pm

Anyone can come, regardless of where you are from. It's just that my desire is to organise something in the UK, simply because it's easier for me to do so (and less expensive). It's not an exclusionary tactic, so feel free to either come along, or organise something more local to you along the same lines.

Anonymous August 25, 2005 at 12:04 pm

I was just teasing. :o) Otherwise I also would not attend Podcastcon UK.
It is just interesting, that so many things happening in the UK tend to brand it as “UK only”. There is a small difference with something happening in the UK and for the UK.
Most of the UK stuff seem to be keen on marking it *for* the UK. 🙂

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