"BeGeistert isn't structured but very nice to be. I think that's because the BeOS users are originally people from the creative side, graphics and music and stuff, and those people aren't very organised. In comparison, the majority of FreeBSD convention visitors are system administrators and are much more routined and very much on their own," a first-time visitor to the event replied to my question how he liked it around there. It wasn't really possible getting you some info straight from BeGeistert, so here is what's been going on at BeGeistert in a nutshell.

Apart from this review I will post a few interviews I performed at BeGeistert. Unfortunately, Nicholas Blachford wasn't there this time, since I wanted to ask him a few small questions about it. They were basically answered by Axel D?rfler when he showed his OpenBeOS-PPC port as far as it booted. Friday started out pretty calmly, although there were far more people than there ever were on Friday before. Of course people knowing one another a bit better (for instance yellowTAB, OpenBeOS, the Italian invasion... later on I found out that there also was pretty much a Dutch invasion with over 10 Dutchmen having been at the event spreaded over the entire weekend) got grouped up a bit, but I feel it happened less strongly than at the previous events, although everyone just gets along with everyone basically... there is just a real good atmosphere hanging around here (the "BeGeistert atmosphere" which just cannot be described).

That night, eleven people (usually there were about 2) stayed up without sleeping, okay one of them fell asleep in front of his computer, and another also passed out for a little while - don't worry, we have pictures *evil grin* - and for as far as I know this is the first time somebody brought his BeBox. It's from the first series of BeBoxes, the 67 mHz ones, with this one originally belonging to Chris Herborth. Also, the SANE port for Zeta turned out to work well (so that thousands of USB scanners are supported under Zeta). As usual, the presentations and everything were held on Saturday and Sunday.

10:00 - Zeta presentation
13:15 - Beam
14:45 - Refraction
16:30 - OpenBeOS driver system
17:45 - WonderBrush

I got pretty sleepy after having stayed up all night, so I went to bed straight after breakfast. This made me miss the user-end Zeta presentation, since I wasn't awake before noon. I did catch the Beam presentation, which was pretty interesting. I suddenly became much more interested in working with it myself. It's fast, stable and makes much use of attributes. There are a number of things its developer has in mind for the nearby future, such as an indication of the number of emails in the folders, a simplification of the Preferences, added spamfilter (linked to SpamAssassin and others) and of course a couple of bugfixes. For the more distant future, IMAP is on the to do list.

After Beam, Frans showed bits of his image editing tool Refraction, of which there will be a short review later on. The OpenBeOS gathering of Saturday was very technical (I wasn't there, though) but I did attend the WonderBrush presentation. Development for this drawing pad application was actually started at BeGeistert 009. Half a year later, at BeGeistert 010, Stephan Assmus was already able to show a real bit of progress, and I certainly was impressed. It took till August for Stephan to fix all known bugs and post the first version of WonderBrush to BeBits. Ever since, there has definitely been progress.

The two things Stephan has always been very proud to have in this application are the so-called "non-linear modifier stack" (multilayer integration) and pixel-precise drawing. Not much seems to have changed about those features, but WonderBrush does have a number of extra features, among others the "fill" feature. Existing drawings can be filled up in a very original and difficult to describe way, with the filling also being moveable, away from what it originally was supposed to fill up. In order to move it, you will have to use the also newly implemented "move tool", an also very remarkably implemented move tool. Stephan expects to post a new version of WonderBrush in a couple of weeks, but first wants to get rid of all the known bugs. A last thing that has changed since the previous BeGeistert is that Stephan decided to make it a paid release after all, although I think 7.50 Euros is an extremely reasonable price.

09:45 - OpenBeOS media kit
11:15 - BePascal
13:00 - Python
15:00 - Java games (actually I think this one got cancelled)

After a rather short night and a good breakfast, Marcus Overhagen held a presentation about the OpenBeOS media kit he has been working on. He mentioned that in fact, the basic media kit can be expected to be ready in one month from now. Meanwhile he will especially need to work on the codec interface. After that, there would still be the need for codecs. What he did this time was replacing the existing media kit of his BeOS installation with the one he just compiled. He showed that the mixer already works great, and that music and video can already be played, provided the application performing the playback uses its own codecs (e.g. SoundPlay, CL-AMP).

On Sunday afternoon I was distracted or occupied way too much to go to the presentations. I have heard that many people are very happy there is now Pascal for the BeOS platform. The Python presentation also seems to have been quite interesting and bringing many people some interesting information they did not yet know (which is mostly what presentations are good for). I believe the Java games presentation got cancelled, but I'm not sure.

Those who were still there on Sunday evening, of which the majority were the 8 people staying till Monday. It was actually Axel D?rfler's intention to show whatever he had of his OpenBeOS-PPC port, specifically done for the Pegasos machines. He was making great progress on the boot loader. When that part is done, a tough part is already over. It will take at least a couple of months to show something really workable, according to Axel.

Late on Sunday evening, there was a very deep discussion in which almost everyone of us joined. Obviously, these kinds of chats can only occur with a far smaller group of people together. However, during the rest of BeGeistert everyone has something to do most of the time, and so there isn't really much time to talk very long to the same people. Everyone was pretty much worn out after the weekend so we all went to bed for a change, and we had to get up and turn in our keys by 9 AM the next morning.

Maybe it is nice to mention that the trip back home was just weird. A lot of things went wrong so that I got home far later than I had hoped. The weekend on itself was simply perfect. The network was set up way better this time although, like I mentioned, it wasn't really possible getting you some info straight from BeGeistert. Really I would like to invite everyone to come to the next BeGeistert. I personally start to enjoy them more every time I go there. It's an addiction.