Yet Another Perl Conference Europe 2001
August 2-4, 2001

Hogeschool Holland
Amsterdam, Netherlands

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YAPC Europe


Various people took photos or wrote up informal journal entries about yapc::Europe. This page attempt to centralise them here for archival purposes.

Photos of the conference are available from Jouke's site.

Jouke also wrote a report on the conference for



Yey, wireless working.

So acme complained at us, and told us all to write journals. So you're all going to get thirty or so identical instead just the highlights in this one (oh, and I've got a laptop with pithy battery life, and abigail is about to start talking again)

  - Orange planes / Home many London Perl Mongers can you fit on one flight
  - Double decker trains. Odd.
  - Paul "Hey I've seen photos of this bit of the track before" Mison
  - Weird stampy strip things for traveling on the tube^H^H^H^Hmetro
  - Insane taxi drivers driving on tram tracks and reading at the same time
  - Random Bars. Hmm. Beer. Waiter Service...what *is* up with that.
  - Mad pizza delivery guys riding mopeds on the pavements
  - Can you see that giant Sylvester (looneytunes) ontop of our hotel too?
  - Here's the glass of only brown M&Ms you demanded for your talk richardc


  - I wonder if the wireless is interfering with the mike
  - Parse::RecDescent as a Inline and other mad schemes
  - acme? acme? Damn, I'll have to find him irl rather than on irc


[Warning - no real perl content]

Well we made it here safely, managed to negotiate security/customs at both airports and checked into the hotel fine.

Today has been spent helping people get their wireless cards working, discussing secure ways of accessing email and generally just hanging out. As I don't do perl, the tutorials would definitely be well over my head, so chilling in the canteen seemed the best option. With loads of people also wirelessly hanging out on staying in touch is not a problem.

Oh yeah, I've had two customers phone me for support calls!

Tonight is the meeting. Tommorrow I intend to actually attend some sessions.


Having wireless networking at a conference rocks. It's a shame how badly it depletes battery life, though. (On a train I usually squeeze two or two and a half hours out of a battery. This morning, I think it was looking more like an hour and a half. Might have to do the richardc solution and run two. Media Bays also rock.)

It's nice that all our mobile phones (mainly) are working, too. Most of us even got welcome SMSes from the local operators, too. They must really want us to use their information services. (Those of us on the vaguely branded trip to NY really missed them.)

Kevin's opening talk was rapid but useful; the bags of goodies are pretty, well, good; Abigail's talk made my head hurt, but was good while I could cope, and now it's lunch, and I'm draining juice (muttley gets bonus karma for bringing the UK four plug strip, so we don't have to lug about power adapters). Mind you, given the laptop he's using, he should be able to haul boulders by the time the conference is over.

This afternoon? Well, being lazy sounds good. (And yes, that is a talk, not just sitting in the cafe area. Insert smileys as required.)

This afternoon saw most of the Londoners sitting around the edges of the O'Reilly room, so their laptops were umbilically powered (well, mine is now; I've checked, and it can eke out 2 hours, just, but that's fairly hairy) and they can sit on or #$talk and discuss stuff.

The talk itself was pretty nifty- Schwern's an amusing speaker, and he made good use of the slides (which we viewed on our laptops, as all of us seem horrifically short sighted) as a starting point for the talk, rather than the be-all and end-all. We also got an insight into things that had actually happened at $company, which is also a good thing. Well, it's certainly entertaining. In a way it's all obvious, but it's also stuff that it's too easy not to do. Ah well. (I really need to work out how to make my stuff work with this, now.)

He's overshot his talk time horrifically, but that's OK as it's interesting. seem to be gearing up already for the pub event tonight (for those of us who aren't speaking, anyway). Hopefully I'll get to see a little more of the city proper. Maybe I should have stayed over until next week like some of the others. Ah well. I don't imagine the city's going anywhere.



yapc::Europe has started here in Amsterdam and all is going well!

I drove down to Amsterdam from London (taking the tunnel under the Channel), which turned out to be a little further than I thought. We got lost around Rotterdam due to lots of closed roads but made it in to the conference venue in time to say hi and register, before heading off to the campsite where muttley and I am staying. We headed into town, bumping into more and more Perl people who apparently thought I had a Plan. I was reminded of the Life of Brian: "He's not the messiah, he's a naughty boy". Turned out fine though, and we caught the last metro back.

The conference is amazing. Ann, Jan-Pieter, Jouke and the rest have done a great job. Everything looks professional, organised, and well branded. I am so impressed. Last year's yapc::Europe was very much more random and done on the fly. The schedule is super. The venue is great. Have you got the impression that I like it so far? ;-)

I was a session chair in the Iterative Software room for the entire day, with Tim Maher's "Minimal Perl for the Impatient" and Johan Vromans' "Object Oriented Programming in Perl". I especially liked Tim's idea of trying to teach a small consistent subset of Perl to do awk-like things. The OO Perl thing was good too, nicely covering the basics of OO and how it is done in Perl.

I've somehow convinced lots of people to write up journals on what they're doing during yapc::Europe - check the website for details. This is great, as people can see what's going on during the conference. Today the talks start proper, so I'm going to try and pay attention during sky's talk now...


Well, Day One was fun... spent the entire day in the canteen chatting and being pointed at as the 'wireless guru' :-) Just because I pimped WiFi cards to half of people seem to think I know what I'm doing... if only they knew the truth!

The evening was the monthly social meet, we had fun, didn't get thrown off of the tables at the bar, managed not to upset the waiting staff and watched lightning storms on the way home... all in all quite a quiet evening by our standards.

A swift beer back at the hotel bar and it was off to bed (for Natalie and me at least).

Up a little earlier this morning, made breakfast just after 8am... had to catch the CNN headlines to find out the details of the bombing in London last night (BBC News Online).

Decided to skip the keynote (reports were it was "disappointing") and having checked the schedule, the first session I'm interested in is Skud's talk on emsith which is straight after lunch. So for the morning it's hanging out in the canteen and on irc (, and #ye-ora-room).

Just been to my first talk at YAPC::Europe - Skud's presentation of e-smith (

Excellent little product, not too technical a presentation (Skud kept asking if anyone had any perl questions) and definitely worth a check out.

A quick break (for me anyway) now follows and then I'm off to Ingy's Polluting Perl talk... I might not understand much of it but Brian is a very entertaining speaker.

Sitting in the canteen you can hear the laughter and applause from the lightning talks in the O'Reilly Room. Probably a good sign.

Sitting in the O'Reilly Room listening to Brian Ingerson's Inline talk. First heard this last year in Seattle but it's moved on quite a bit since then. Still going completely over my head but I can at least appreciate why it's cool.

One of the guy's who helped Brian a lot was another Neil. It's really weird hearing your name and then realising it's not refering to you.

Excellent talk, full of really weird stuff. Applause from the audience at the appropriate moments, though the reaction to PERL was suprising, I'd have thought more people would have heard of it.

No more talks for me today... time to chill out by the bar.


Those of you who frequent will know I occasionally get stupid ideas about organising stuff. In that spirit, I've picked up an a topic plea on #perl to take a #perl photo, which will be at 5.30 pm. Congregate in the reception area. If anyone has a good camera , bring it along, and if the sun comes out, we can even go outside instead.

Forgot the photos. Unfortunately the indexer's not ready yet, so you just get a directory listing, but it's here. If anyone can explain why there's a giant papier machier cow in Schipol, I'd like to know. blech on the Usual Channels.

... but first, a report on yesterday night. Beer at the venue is *astoundingly* cheap: it's 2 guilders a bottle, so we stayed in the venue then found a local (Philip from, hi!) who led us around the city to a nice little cafe/ restaurant where they knew his name and we had really nice snails, prawns, lamb, chicken, bread and tiny little potatoes. Reports suggest it was nicer (foodwise) than the speakers dinner. Yay!

Thence we found the Wildemaan (muttley takes the credit here- I still don't 'get' the navigation; radial cities are strange, as Norwich proved to me when I moved there five years ago) and the heretics outside the Bon Ton. Nice (cheap, again) beers, before we headed off back to the hotel. It seemed a bit cloudy, but I wasn't prepared for the thunderstorm we had to hack through on the way back to the hotel. Soggy, but on the other hand seeing the entire sky flash was cool.

Talking of sky (grief, I'm worse than a Radio 1 DJ) the first talk I really paid attention to today was his POE tutorial. It was a good recap of how I thought it was working (I was vaguely right, but as I mainly use stuff through a component sitting atop it, I don't need to worry overly about the internals). It prompted me to (once more) see if it works on Mac OS, so I can carry on working on my not terribly super-sekrit IRC bot a bit more.

Meanwhile I sat on IRC with a bunch of people, who seem to be filling people's driftnet caches with American WW2 propaganda posters, and wondering just how orange one man (acme) can be.

After sky's POE talk, I stayed put for mod_perl 2.0, which mainly whizzed past me but the calling perl from php and vice versa sounded, um, interesting, especially from work's point of view, as did the autobuild concept. Might have to have a look.

At lunch the laptop took exception to sudden removal of the wireless card (so I won't do that, then) and POE revealed a burning need for a makefile, so I need to figure out how to pull all the bits together to make that work. I'm sure there are tutorials linked somewhere off, so it's probably just Google and grokking. I hope...

This afternoon I've been shuttling between $room[2] and the O'Reilly room for the lightning talks. Upstairs, that meant H. Merijn Brand's ebullient espousal of getting involved in p5p (and the use of format statements, which feels like such a throwback these days <smiley/>) and Hugo van der Sanden's look at tainting and regular expressions, which was a little utilitarian as talks go, but useful, and it's nice to see people driving vi well- gives me incentive to get better.

Downstairs, the pick of the lightning talks was probably Jeremy Gurney's anti-security parody (although of course including Acme::Buffy was always going to convert the London posse), while Ingy's Larry Wall and YAML talks were a recap of stuff from Monday (for me) but still good. (His Inline talk, which I passed up because I'd seen a version on Monday, seemed to get a good reaction, from what I saw at the end.) Nicholas Clark made good use of not using a computer, and I think I vaguely got the hang of what the C core does, a bit, for arithmetic. Oh, and Marty did another scary Quantum module, but then I'd previewed that one too. ( is a Good Thing for technical meetings.)

Pub crawl and #perl photo tonight. I might not make an entry tommorow morning quite so early...



More ramblings from YAPC::Europe. Still no perl mentioned here, as everyone else has done a much better job in other journals.

- Look over your *left* shoulder before crossing the road
- Argh, what are YOU doing here...even non YAPC people turning up
- who do I have to kill to get a proper cup of tea in this county?
- Greg "What's that drink you have that starts with G" McCarrol
- Pub crawl eq pub hike, still fun, film at 11.
- Pony! (and crazy golf, and sheep)
- What's up with all those people on bikes anyway
- The crazy guess why Barbie is called Barbie game
- Speakers writing slides ten minutes before speaking

Talk in four hours. Must. Not. Panic.

More in brief style

- Talk went fine but bad powerpoint.
- (auction) The day after the first wednesday of the month
- Virtual bids over IRC for virtual items
- How come I bought another copy of Perl DBI Programming
- .plan for tonight: hotel, hacking and mini golf
- Erk, about to turn off wireless


Yesterday kicked off with Daniel Karrenberg explaining the beginnings of RIPE, leading on to a great talk by sky of POE (no, I'm still not sure I understand it) and an overview of Apache 2 and mod_perl 2 (which'll never come out, right? ;-)

The highlights of the afternoon were the lightning talks, a series of quick talks from a wide range of people. Some were technical. Some were fun. Some were unprepared. I did warn everyone that slides were probably overkill, and there were a few technical problems. However, most were excellent, especially Nicholas Clark's presentation of floating point/integer conversion using large props. And davorg's of course.

My journals are getting shorter and shorter. Apologies, all these conferences are tiring me out. Luckily I have a couple of days in Amsterdam to relax. It's all wonderful! Another successful Perl conference!


Day 2 of the conference finished with beers in the bar and some interesting discussions.

We decided not to venture on the organised pub crawl but instead have a quiet night at the hotel. Had dinner with a bunch of fellow london pmers, more interesting conversation ensued including discussion on the viability of Schwern's CPANTS idea. Service was so slow the hotel gave us free drinks but the food was okay.

Retired to the bar and entered discussion with jns, Dean Wilson and Michael Stevens about the lack of documentation of how to write tests and testing and how to go about having a perl documentation repository. Seeing as I don't (yet) do perl, it was good exchange with lots of good ideas. Now to see if anything can be made of it.

Decided to crash relatively early (10:30pm), but I understand some people were still going at 3am, some of whom have talks to give on Day 3 and in at least one case, still had their slides to write. Oh boy!

Just been to a very interesting keynote by Hugh Daniel on The Current Tragedy of Common Free & Open Source Quality which covered some very contentious subjects, none of which I'm going to list here as it could get use.perl closed down :-)

Hugh is speaking at HAL2001, so if you are going to that do try and catch his talk.

Next up - Perl as a Hacking Tool by Stephanie Wehner.

Wow! What a great talk! Stephanie showed some really cool stuff, quite a bit of which made the audience think twice about trusting what they see over a network.

The slides for the talk can be found at

Next up - Security-aware programming with Perl

Security aware programming with Perl was very interesting. A good source of material for the oft asked question... "So what exactly is so wrong with Formail?"

This was followed by quick dash downstairs to get to pdcawley's 12 Step Perl programme. Much hilarity followed, helped in part by the projector displaying the contents of #12step from, which was being added to live by people both in the talk and elsewhere. Highlights were probably davorg's Symbol::Approx::Sub confession, abigail's 800 line regex, the poor french guy who's girlfriend thought he was cheating on him when he was spending so long on line learning perl and, actually no a confession, abw releasing a new version of Template Toolkit and announcing it on channel!

The afternoon has seem me attending Wax On Wax Off by richardc and 2shortplanks which was really fun. Programming teaching using karate movies! Nuff said.

Now I'm in Security Bloopers which is about how bad we've all been at keeping our stuff secure whilst at the conference. Time to be very afraid.

Hi, my name's Neil... I bought Learning Perl 2 years ago and I'm still not past Chapter One

Well, YAPC::Europe is over, great conference, superbly organised. Mucho thanks to everyone involved.

But before it all came to an end, we had the auction. Lots of books and t-shirts were sold, and some silly items were put up as lots. Signed pictures of Buffy and Willow did very well, but top item was the right to decide the date of london pm meetings which after much sillyness went for 800 guilders to the consortium headed by Greg McCarroll! As Dave Cross said in defeat, "It's only a date".

So that's it for this year... until next time... goodnight and thanks for listening.


The pub crawl was last night. We went back to the Wildemaan, except this time there were about 50 of us, and half of us didn't dissappear into the neighbouring Bon Ton, so we completly blocked the hall. Pictures of the pub crawl (numbers 62+) and the #perl photo (55-61) are at the usual place. It was nice to sit and hear sky and richardc discuss internals.

Unfortunately richardc's laptop died last night. I joined the mourning (it used to be mine- long story) but I did gain two batteries today, which gives me six hours, more or less. I haven't plugged in once and have been online more or less all day. It's nice. Shame they're so heavy.

This morning, I made it in for the keynote, which has been covered elsewhere, then Greg's 'Stone Soup' talk, which was fairly amusing and interesting. Skud's Reefknot talk was interesting, too; despite being unfinished, it was the highest quantity of Perl this morning, and it mentioned, which is a mailing list for, um, Perl people with an interest in date and time. Thanks to I can catch up with it, which is nice. Then pdcawley's 12 step, where I was self-appointed URL fetcher. Interesting confessions, but I wasn't brave enough to do mine.

We also got to see the infamous (on #perl, anyway) Steve Ballmer dance, monkey boy, dance video on the big screen- you should check it out (and the preceeding paragraph) at NTK. Interesting, especially at a conference- we've been thanfully free of monkey dancing...

After lunch, when I found out how much I have to learn about makefiles and with binky's help, downloaded to hack on. Then up for Wax::On, Wax::Off which went pretty well. As the appointed video editor, it seemed to come out well enough; the Quicktime captures from last week were OK, nobody noticed the edits (I think) and the only video to fail was a DivX. Heh.

Then a run across the conference for, which is interesting, but not quite what I expected, and then down to the Security Bloopers talk. This was scary. There were 100-odd plain text passwords sniffed. 37 of these were POP3 (which I hopefully dodged due to SSH tunneling traffic), 27 telnet (misconfiguring PuTTY or idiocy? you decide!), 8 ftp and, um, 30 http. I'm sure one of those was my password. There is no, and the password isn't even vaguely encrypted in the cookie that I use to authenticate myself. I can't change the password without, um, entering it in plain text. Consider this a feature request <g/>

The analysis of the sniffed passwords was interesting too. More disturbing than the 30 passwords based on dictionary words were the 3 that were username eq password. It also seems we had two Code Red infected web servers. sigh.

Just the closing speech and auction left tonight. After that, I may not have bandwidth, so I'll probably not write again until cough I have some perl programs or modules to share. Ahem.



OK, I said no more non-perl content, but I typed this in during the auction, but it got lost, so I'm recreating it from memory, even though binky's covered some of it. I'll go quiet after this. Honest guvnor.

So after the final talk, there was the farewell, with lots of well-deserved applause; my particular thanks go to Jouke for organising the hotel, which was very helpful in getting a lot of the Londoners over, involved, and, um, drunk too. Greg McCarroll started a raffle for t-shirts and cards, with typically British pronunciation of the foreign names (and no, I wouldn't have done any better). Then came a rather involved explanation of Dutch bidding and Redvers Davies GTK app, and the sale of lots and lots of books.

However, there were several odd items interspersed within the shirts and books. Firstly, Greg himself competed with davorg for the date for the official meeting date: first Thursday of the month, or the day after the first Wednesday of the month (see the FAQ for more). After getting out of their depths, each side attracted a posse of supporters; davorg had the numbers, but Greg had the money, and cunning- promising beer to defectors then pulling an IRC bid out of the air to win the day.

Also auctioned were dedications of modules and japh/obfuscated code, and (naturally) signed pictures of Buffy and Willow. Greg also sang, which drove up profits enormously. Anyway, all good fun, and I'm glad I was there.



In and around dam

More quickfire comments

- Everyone so, so, so tired.
- Waking up at 10.45 for 11am meeting not recommended
- Yum, Yum, Dimsum.
- That Van Gough guy was obviously nuts. Would have been a good Perl programmer.
- Signac painting pixeltastic
- Odd shaped buildings, paths at angles, stop playing with my mind.
- Giant Chess and Naked Rope Climbers
- (thai food)++
- easyeverything++

Hmm. No one's taken up our challenge for free beer on the Wax On Wax Off mailing list to find a film we can't shoehorn a teaching metaphor into. Pah!


Day three of yapc::Europe was crazy. After fully noticing that I had no speaking to do on the last day, I stayed up for most of the night and ended up wandering around Gaasperpark looking for my campsite.

Highlights of the day included dumrat's "Stone Soup" talk, where he tried to explain the stone soup story in Perl. With Actors. I think people may actually code intelligent Perl agents to play with this idea... I also liked all the crazy stuff going on in the Iterative Software room, from martial arts to making music (via making all other programming languages illegal)!

The security track throughout the conference was strong, and it ended with johnpc pointing out all the security bloopers people had committed throughout the past three days. The people using telnet on an open network ought to be ashamed of themselves!

I'm staying in Amsterdam for a couple of days (ENOBANDWIDTHATCAMPSITE), will be taking part in my first meeting for ages and then heading off to HAL2001 with muttley. I'm recovering, but it's all gonna be soooo cool.

(yapc::Europe 2.0.01 organisers)++ # excellent job


Last modified on August 9, 2001 by
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