First, what’s a Bar Camp? Well, in 2005 Tim O’Reilly (the computer book publisher) founded an invitation-only “camp” in Sebastopol (the O’Reilly HQ) for people he thought were cool. He called it FooCamp – “foo” supposedly standing for “friends of O’Reilly”. As Tantek Çelik tells it, a couple of attendees decided they wanted something more democratic, so they formed BarCamp as a response.

The names come, of course, from the nonsense terms so beloved by hackers, foo and bar, which in turn come from military usage. FUBAR: fucked up beyond all recognition.

Wikipedia has more background. And there is a BarCamp site; here’s the Portland event’s wiki. BarCamps are a form of open space technology.

Now that BarCamp Portland 2007 is over, I suppose I should say something about it. I brought my laptop with me but never turned it on – there was too much going on, and it’s old and a pain. I wish I hadn’t brought it. So I didn’t do any “live” reporting from the scene. That’s probably obvious. In future it might be nice to have something like the Panasonic let’s note (known here in the US as a Toughbook). Someone at BarCamp showed me hers, and it was pretty sweet. The size of a large paperback, and weighing a mere 2lbs.

I had a great time! Even though I went to some of the “wrong” sessions, and even though there were people there who I didn’t meet (hey, there were ~250 people!), it was really fun, and I’m looking forward to the periodic meetups that are planned (BarCamp without the talks).

The highlight? Why, meeting Ward Cunningham, of course. ;-)