Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 16:04:00 +0100 (CET)
From: Arto TERAS <>
To: AJT Travel News: ;
Subject: AJT travel news #6: Enjoying hospitality

Finnish summary:


Pahoittelut tyhjästä mailista, joka ilmeisesti ehti lähteä koko porukalle säheltäessäni sähköpostiohjelman kanssa.

Tällä kertaa juttu koskee pääosin tapahtumia, joissa kävin jo kuukausi sitten, mutta opinnot ja ensi kesää ja jatkoa koskevat suunnitelmat ovat viivyttäneet kirjoittelua.

Helmikuun ensimmäisenä viikonloppuna luistin parin päivän kursseista ja lähdin Pariisiin ja Brysseliin, syynä tällä kertaa kuitenkin tietotekniikan alan tapahtumat eikä turismi. Pariisin kolmipäiväinen Linux Expo edusti kaupallista puolta, kun Brysselin ohjelmistokehittäjien konferenssi OSDEM taas näytti, mitä vapaaehtoisuudella parhaimmillaan saadaan aikaan. Erityisesti jälkimmäinen oli myös ammatilliselta kannalta katsottuna hyvin opettavainen. Englanninkielinen matkakertomus kuvineen löytyy osoitteesta

Kirjoitin tapahtumista myös asiapainotteisemman raportin, joka julkaistiin edellisessä MikroPC-lehden numerossa (3/2001).

Toinen kohokohta oli talviloma helmikuun puolivälissä, jolloin perheeni tuli tänne käymään. Pikaisen Lyoniin tutustumisen jälkeen vietin suurimman osan viikosta isäni ja veljieni kanssa Val Thorensissa Alpeilla. Äiti ei harrasta laskettelua ja vietti saman ajan Pariisissa.

Viime tiistaina INSAn ja muiden yliopistojen opiskelijat olivat yhdessä koululaisten kanssa naamiaisasuissa hauskassa pikku paraatissa, joka kierteli ympäri lähikatuja. Kuvia jälleen verkossa:

Suomessa on kuulemma viime aikoina ollut aika talvista, mutta tuokoon saapuva kevät pirteyttä elämään, terveisin



Sorry for the unintended empty mail a few hours ago. The main events of this episode took place already a month ago, but I've had some other things to think about than writing lengthy emails. The result is therefore even longer than my previous reports.

The first week of February was packed with two events interesting both from a professional and social viewpoint. Paris hosted its third Linux Expo from Wednesday to Friday and immediately after that started the two-day Open Source and Free Software Developers' Meeting (OSDEM) at Brussels. I had an exam in Thursday morning the first of February, but headed right after it to the train station, skipping the rest of the courses on Thursday and Friday. I was traveling with Thomas Tempé, a Linux enthusiast I met here already in the beginning of the fall semester.

TGV from Paris to Lyon takes only two hours, so we were in Paris just after four o'clock in the afternoon. I hadn't succeeded in reserving any accommodation beforehand because of a few technical problems (broken fax) so I tried to call a few youth hostels at the train station: all full. The expo area was open until 18.30 and we decided to get there first and worry about sleeping later.

The underground system in Paris is normally a fast and easy way to get anywhere in the city, but on that Thursday the employees had decided to be on strike, not very rare in this country. Some lines had trains about one every half an hour but nothing was guaranteed and people were wandering around, trying to guess which would be the best bet. We were actually rather lucky and managed to get to the expo site on the other side of the city in about one hour. The plus side was we didn't have to pay for a ticket: all the gates were open.

The expo hall had some 200 stands and perhaps two thousand people but it didn't take more than five minutes to find friends. First I bumped into Pierre Jarillon, one of the organisers of the Libre Software Meeting at Bordeaux last summer. While chatting with him, Raphaello Mouse (which I also had met at LSM) came in and handed me a leaflet: "You might be interested in this". It was an invitation to the Free Software Foundation awards gala the same evening. Wow, that was a quick start.

We got another invitation for Thomas and left the expo pretty quickly - we would still have whole Friday to spend. This time the underground was really crowded, but we made it to the gala in time. Unfortunately several people they were expecting didn't, there were a lot of empty chairs in the auditorium. The main points of the gala were of course presenting the main award, which went to Brian Paul for Mesa, a few additional awards and announcement of the launch of the FSF Europe. A more complete description and even video can be found on the FSF site:

After the gala it was over nine o'clock, we hadn't eaten anything after noon and still hadn't any idea where to stay. I happen to have two Finnish friends studying in Paris, called them and basically invited both myself and Thomas in for the night. :) This left still time to go and have dinner with the people we had met in the gala. Seldom have I had days so packed with program and nice surprises.

Eventually we reached my friends' flat slightly before midnight. Before laying out our sleeping bags on the floor we could still have a salmiakki tasting party. Salmiakki is a synthetically prepared sweet very popular in Finland and unheard of in France. Just by chance, I happened to have two different sorts of it with me and Mikko and Laura (my friends) two others.

Friday morning we took the underground back to the expo, this time without any problems. I had promised to write an article for MikroPC magazine in Finland and spent a good part of the time trying to figure out the trends and interviewing the representants of big companies. My main interest were their future plans concerning Linux and other free software and their attitude towards the voluntary developer community. Thomas found some promising summer job opportunities at the same time.

The article came out last week in issue 3/2001 of MikroPC. I haven't translated it in English and it isn't freely available on the web yet (except for subscribers of the magazine). The main trend was that different kinds of server related support offers (with or without hardware) ruled the field, consumer devices were hard to find. The overall athmosphere of the event was commercial, which wasn't any surprise, but various associations had very sympathetic small stands grouped together on one side of the hall.

Some might consider a waste to go to Paris and not visit any sights but we continued towards new adventures without even seeing the Eiffel tower. OSDEM at Brussels meant two more tightly scheduled educative days, wonderful people and more generous hospitality from organisers I had never even met before. See the full story at

While the Paris / Brussels trip appealed especially to the nerd side of me, a week after that the winter vacations of INSA arrived. My family came to Lyon both to visit me and go skiing in the Alps for the first time. We spent one day here to see some main sights of Lyon and the rest of the week at Val Thorens, one of the biggest ski stations. Actually the latter included only my father, me and my two little brothers, my mother doesn't ski and went to Paris instead.

The weather was nothing short of exceptional during the whole week, sun shining from the cloudless sky. It was so warm that during the last few days the snow was melting fast and revealing stones on some lower parts of the slopes. The other downside was that finding virgin snow on off piste runs was virtually impossible. In any case we had a nice relaxing week and hopefully my mother too - she hadn't taken a vacation on her own for a long time.

The last two weeks have been mostly studying and taking care of other related things. I've made a study plan for the next year and currently sorting out summer job issues, at the end of next week I should know more about that.

One more event is worth mentioning: a parade in funny costumes, belonging to a series of events with a common theme - solidarity. It was nothing big like some techno parades I've attended before, but a peaceful event with good athmosphere. I joined in my student party overall (teekkarihaalari in Finnish) I had brought from Finland. It suited the colourful crowd nicely enough, but take a look at some better outfits on my party pages:

Let the spring come and cheer up your days,


Arto Teräs --- See for contact info

Arto Teräs <> - last update 16.5.2001.