I'm back from FOSDEM. Okay, I've been back since two weeks, but I still wanted to write a few words about the event.

In one sentence: it was a blast! Hardly a surprise, though, since it has always been a great event. But FOSDEM is not just about the conference: it's also about waffles and french fries (no beer for me, thanks ;-)). Oh, and people too: with my good friend Andreas, we went to the Belgian Comic Strip Center on Friday afternoon, where I learnt some cool facts about our beloved bandes dessinées; I had dinner with the GNOME french-speaking cabal on Friday (we all enjoyed the really good food), and with crazy openSUSE people on Saturday; I discussed about PhD thesis with Kris and Christian during the beer event; etc. I missed Lucas, though — but he had a good excuse to not come.

My experience of FOSDEM itself was different this year: I had planned to have meetings or chat with many different people, and it did happen. But I didn't realize that it'd make me that busy... Between GNOME Foundation-related meetings, a release team meeting, discussions about accessibility, translation infrastructure, GUADEC or GTK+, and the last-minute slide writing with Anne and Frédéric, I felt a bit short in time. And exhausted after one day.


I loved our GNOME presence during the event. It was really amazing to see so many different people step up to help with the organization and the booth, even though we really could have organized the whole thing better. The t-shirts were nice and people seemed to like it, although a few people commented that the art was printed a bit too big. The stickers were also popular, and that's understandable; still, we had many stickers remaining at the end, but they'll go straight to an event in Nigeria. I sent a small report to foundation-list with more details about how it all went.

GNOME Stickers

Footsteps in the hall ... by Itkovian (Creative Commons by-nc-sa)

Of course, Christophe tricked me into doing the opening of the GNOME devroom: he pretended he was stuck in some tramway, far away from the venue. But if you looked carefully, you could see him on the booth during the opening! Never trust french people ;-)

During a meeting on Saturday afternoon, Christophe called me to ask about the group photo. I look at the time and, hrm, well, it was supposed to happen at that exact moment. There was only this tiny issue that I was 5-10 minutes away from the venue. Apparently, everybody else had forgotten too; but still, I was supposed to be responsible for that. I guess you should really never trust french people! But I managed to sneak in the KDE group photo, though.


It was good to see the boosters again, although it was way too short. One thing I really liked about the openSUSE booth is that we had some nice big touchscreens. And they really help attract people: just put some nice game or something that looks good, and people will start playing with the computer.

openSUSE booth

The booth setup by Henne Vogelsang

For some reason, some people made fun of me because of my talks, which were interactive session. Because I was running everywhere to give the microphone to participants. However, the real person to blame there is Richard who deliberately chose to sit in the worst seat for me ;-)

The talks themselves went well. Anne and I expected to see more doubts raised about the collaboration between distribution for translation of package descriptions, but maybe we were a bit pessimistic? As for the GNOME upstream/downstream discussion, it made me realize how large the gap between upstream and downstream can be and I hope it also helped the downstream and upstream contributors feel this gap, which is the first step towards a better world. I was surprised to see some GNOME maintainers not knowing about distributor-list, for example.

It was really a busy week-end, and it's amazing how productive those two small days can be: I came home with new ideas, new plans and lots of motivation, which is always good!