In January 1994 a group of Amiga fans in Karlsruhe organized the first Meeting Karlsruhe, or in short MeKa. The meeting was a get-together for Amiga users and software developers. During MeKa programs were written in collaboration, freely distributable software was exchanged and a computer network got set up.
Setting up a network was quite a challenge back then. We had to fight with software problems (lack of congestion control in Amiga Envoy, unfinished IP routing support in the Linux kernel), hardware problems (Commodore ARCnet cards with the wrong network chip), cabling problems (too many long Thin Ethernet cables, sometimes mixed with a rogue RG59 cable) and power outages (too many desktop computers and CRT monitors). But when it was finally working we could enjoy a permanent, fast Internet connection which was quite a luxury at that time.
Fifteen years after the first event another MeKa took place last weekend. A lot has changed since the early days. The attendance has gone down and the average age of the participants up. There are still a few Amiga computers (among a lot of notebooks and the odd and often exotic desktop) but it is no longer about them. It is now a reunion of a bunch of old friends who only manage to stay in touch via e-mail or IRC for most of the year. But for one weekend in January we all come to Karlsruhe and meet again.
Over the years a fair number of NetBSD developers have joined the ranks. Just like in the previous years we managed to organize a BSD dinner on Saturday and Silke and I were happy to meet a few NetBSD developers for the first time.
Over the years there have only been two problems with MeKa:
- It is always over too soon.
- You never get enough sleep.
But well … that never stopped us from coming back the next year. 🙂