Well, Buzzwords is over and my primary conclusion is that I wish I had come last year as well as this year. Isabel and Simon are really making Buzzwords into a major open source conference and with the demise of the European ApacheCon, Buzzwords is probably the the first or second most important open source conference in Europe. If you only can choose one, I would strongly recommend geeking in Berlin. It isn't just the conference; there are bunches of related events such as informal dinners, bar camps and hackathons. Since Buzzwords makes such a strong effort to include North American participants you may even have a better chance of connecting globally by going to Europe than going to a conference in the US or Canada.
The conference itself consisted of two days of scheduled events anchored by keynotes each day. Doug Cutting gave the first keynote and covered a lot of the history and current state of Hadoop. As always, his talk was very well done and contained quite a bit of technical information which is refreshing in a keynote. I gave the second keynote and talked a bit about the state and future of Hadoop, related Apache projects and the burgeoning commercial marketplace. Some of what I said stirred up a bit of talk, which is good since my primary thesis that we aren't talking enough about how the world of Hadoop and related software is rapidly changing in ways that aren't well recognized. Stay tuned here for a blog edition of my talk.
There were quite a few excellent technical talks as well. Among the scheduled talks, Jonathan Gray gave a talk which his usual and customary dose of excellent technical information about how Facebook is using Hbase. A notable moment came when he was asked about the state of Cassandra at Facebook. Check out the upcoming video for details on his answer.
Dawid Weiss gave an excellent talk on finite state automata and the difference between deterministic and non-deterministic variants. The only defect I could see in his presentation was that we couldn't see the eagles on the coins. Based on the fact that the room was packed (I sat in the aisle on the floor) and the very eager audience questions, I would say that there is a surprisingly strong market place for information on foundational algorithms like finite state transformers.
The lightning talks at the end of day two also had some gems. Thomas Hall's northern accent blended charmingly with the frank assessment of some of his experiences with certain technical approaches. I can't possibly convey the tone and content so, yet again, you will need to refer to his slides and the video on the conference web-site.
Frank Scholten also had a lightning talk that contained a very nice walk-through of Mahout document clustering. What he showed is a work in progress, but already what he has provides a highly requested set of recipes to illustrate a lot of the software in Mahout.
Outside of the conference there was an (excellent) barcamp run by Nick Burch. I think I learned as much about how to run a barcamp by watching him as anybody did from any of the technical discussions and the technical discussions were pretty excellent.
I have to say that if you want to see me next year in early June, there is a high likelihood that you will have to be in Berlin to do it.
See http://berlinbuzzwords.de/wiki/linkstoslides to get slides from talks.