LugRadio Live UK – LRL: IRC IRL

Popular podcast goes out with a gong but will return with a new mascot.

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Five years and more than one-hundred episodes later, the popular LugRadio podcast has turned off the microphones. The 2008 LugRadio Live event in Wolverhampton, England, was set to be their last live show. Fortunately, and thanks to its very loyal community, the annual shenanigans will continue and LugRadio Live 2009 is already in the planning stages.

LugRadio Live, the original edition, is a true community event. It does not take place in a hot zone of technology such as London or San Francisco – its home is The Midlands of England. From authentic curries and late-night metal music at The Gifford, LugRadio Live gives you the opportunity to visit a town that's off the tourist radar and well worth experiencing. The event itself is enthusiastically supported and hosted by members of the "Wolves" LUG, with additional core volunteers being pulled in from across the British Isles and Ireland.

Expect to be Surprised

Part LAN Party and part conference, LugRadio Live also boasts unique features such as The Gong-a-Thong Lightbulb Talk Extravaganza, The Mass Debate, and a live recording of the popular podcast, LugRadio. In addition to the usual amusements, LugRadio Live attendees were also treated to a new, life-sized raccoon. Although its origins are a bit fuzzy, the Chinny raccoon is well loved and is seen as a tribute to the British expression, "chinny reckon," which means, "I think you're lying." One of the listeners brought the mascot to life with a donation of a brand new furry costume. Throughout photos of the event, you will see a loyal community member in various states of undress.

Ultra-Low-Tech Features

Posted around the venue were fun, paper-based community boards. The first was a traditional sign-up sheet for the Gong-A-Thong five-minute lightening talks. The Ultra-Low-Tech Wiki allowed delegates to have a bit of fun over the course of the weekend. The photos taken by attendees act as an informal revision control system to show how the content developed over time. Near the venue's entrance was also a Low-Tech OpenStreetMap, where locals added their favorite spots for food and drink within the surrounding area.

Conference Talks

Of course, proper conference sessions took place as well! Many of the talks were delivered by experts and were of the caliber one would expect from a larger industry conference. Robert Collins' talk on bzr was well attended, and the discussion lasted beyond its alloted time. Benjamin Otte's talk on swfdec gave an excellent look into the future of the Flash plugin. The Mass Debaters, Jeremy Allison (Google), Matthew Garrett (Red Hat), Max Spevack (Fedora), and LugRadio community member Ben Thorp, gave a passionate and thoughtful look at the inner workings of the FOSS industry. True to the spirit of the event, however, some talks did veer off into the realm of the sublime (Neuro Linden's talk on Second Life had a surprise appearance by the raccoon waving a sign, "Furries for Justice").

Looking Forward

The annual LugRadio Live event will continue in Wolverhampton next year. FOSS enthusiasts looking to let down their hair, sing some karaoke, and have a bit of fun are encouraged to attend in 2009. To participate in the event and be part of the planning process, people should head to the forum and stay in touch with this true-to-life community.

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