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Surviving FOSDEM '24

open-source fosdem

This past weekend I went to Brussels for FOSDEM with Sebastiaan, who has already written a bit about it. FOSDEM, if you don’t know, is the largest open source software conference in Europe - or in the world, not sure. This was not my first time attending, but it was positively chaotic as usual.

I’ve been to FOSDEM before, in 2018 and 2019, with some coworkers. However, I would say that at that time it was not as memorable. Perhaps I was just following people around in general, and my English was probably not as good as now, which gives a different sort of flexibility.

During this weekend, not only did I speak a lot of Dutch with Sebastiaan, but also with some other people from Flanders. Out of a coincidence, Thor happened to be in Brussels and we’ve met. I also met with Dietrich, who I haven’t seen in some months. Go follow them.

🚊 Saturday

Saturday was the day to relearn how FOSDEM works: everything everywhere all at once, just like the movie. This year’s edition counted with almost 1000 speakers, almost 900 events, and an astonishing amount of 67 different tracks.

With so many things happening all at the same time, it is extremely difficult to figure out what to do. We wanted to see Daniel’s Curling the modern way talk, but clearly we weren’t the only ones. We did not manage to see it since when we arrive the auditorium was already fully packed.

Instead, I decided to go to the Railways and Open Transport devroom. I don’t know much about public transit and open source, but I find it nevertheless fascinating. I have thrown some notes of things I want to look at, but haven’t had time yet. This devroom also proved to be extremely popular and was hard to get inside. My strategy was to remain inside once I got a seat.

At the end of the day, we visited the Open Source Design devroom, where I learned about the Modos paper laptop, which sounds like an incredible project. Also got to get an insight of designer’s works in the open source community, how it goes, difficulties, what could be improved, and so on.

β˜•οΈ Sunday

Sunday went fast. There were last people I think. It was likely partially caused by many people spending what-perhaps-is-considered-too-much-time at the Delirium CafΓ©. With a quieter day and a better strategy in place, we entered the room for You too could’ve made curl ahead of time. It worked out fine, but it seemed the affluence for this talk wasn’t definitely as large as the one on Saturday.

Two other talk highlights of this day were the Sequoia PGP project, which I did not really know about. It seems cool. I wish the GPG tools were easier to use and it seems that this project is precisely that.

So you think you know Git?
So you think you know Git?

So you think you know Git is a talk I recommend rewatching. I’ve made a few updates to my dotfiles after this talk. And what a great talk it was! We were there in advance, but not on purpose. And such a good decision that was! The room got 100% full and many people were not allowed to stay since no one is allowed to sit on the stairs due to fire safety rules.

πŸ§‡ Other Notes

Vlaamse Suikerwaffle
Vlaamse Suikerwaffle
Fascinating Lime Beer
Fascinating Lime Beer
Deadly Airbnb Stairs
Deadly Airbnb Stairs

There are still some things I want to note, but they don’t make their own paragraph - I think. So I’m just leaving you with a bullet point list of what I hope are going to be quick notes:

  • All talks are live-streamed and also recorded, so you can watch them wherever you are. After the conference, they start getting published online. I’m not sure about the timeline for this, but I do hope it’s soon as there’s one or two talks I want to watch.
  • Always go to the room of the talks you want to see way earlier than you think is early. You’ll be surprised by how many other people also want to hear about the same thing as you, even if it sounds like the tiniest niche ever.
  • Fresh suikerwaffles have completely ruined my waffle experience from now on. I don’t know what I’ve eaten during the rest of my life, but I think I had the most delicious waffles I’ve ever had this weekend. And they were plain suikerwaffles.
  • The Airbnbs I choose in Brussels also have creepy stairs. I don’t know how I do this, but it’s not the first time. I always think I’ll die there.
  • Lime beer is an oddly fascinating beer. I was a bit surprised it was green, but I honestly have no idea what I was expecting. Very tasty I must say. Always try something different.

I should learn how to take better notes next year. I’m not sure on how to act on the notes I have taken. I just noted down the links for the things that looked the most interesting to me, and I definitely want to see there’s anything I can do with the maps/transports/railway-stuff.

Until next FOSDEM!