Monday, August 22, 2011

» Back from FrOSCon

Back from the FrOSCon conference (the only one that has even weirder capitalization than openSUSE ;D).
Mixed feelings. While it was a bit boring during the day as there was pretty much no one passing by the stands (not just ours), I'm not really convinced it's that useful to have a stand there... Of course, the great weather didn't help, as most non-contributor-people who would might have come to the conference out of curiosity will most definitely have preferred making good use of the sunny weather that weekend. Understandable :)

Mind you, I definitely had a good time, as the organization is very well done, the catering is nice (at least for speakers and booth personnel, didn't try the other options), the barbecue with DJ on Saturday evening was excellent, and, of course, I got to see quite a lot of people I know through openSUSE and FOSDEM (quite a lot of people wearing the ultimate street cred t-shirt of FOSDEM supporters, btw ;)), and a few I didn't. Got to chat a lot with core Mageia contributors as well, which was definitely fun and interesting. Hence, lots of great FOSS people around, awesome.
Was obviously also great in the evening/night, chatting around beers (even if it was Kölsch (yellow water with a tiny bit of alcohol and some bitter)) with fellow contributors across different projects. Also got to meet Jan Krings for the first time (as well as Marcus Möller, Jan Krings and Jan Weber, which I've met IRL before).

If you've never been at such events (even more striking at FOSDEM methinks, because there's a huge crowd, with lots and lots of projects there, and a lot of discussions and cross-pollination going around), and are mostly on the "user" side of things, then just stop the hate. Forget about distrowars, competition, and all that. That's just totally not how it works for almost all the people who actively contribute to their projects. Even between BSD and Linux. We may have our differences and preferences, but we all respect the work, brains, excellence, and love everyone is putting into their respective undertakings.

But in terms of audience, I wonder whether FrOSCon shouldn't have a sharper focus. At least, the focus wasn't all that clear to me, it seems like the target is "everything". There are stands of distribution projects, which are typically for the non-Linux/BSD-users-yet to grab some DVDs and play with it. There are stands of vendors, who pay for their stand, and whom are either selling books, or showcasing their services and solutions to potential customers, or hunting for highly qualified hackers. That's a pretty different audience already, at least when compared to the more entry-level distribution showcase stands. Then there are tracks and "devrooms" (yes, they really call them the same as at FOSDEM :)), which is .. dunno.. depends, some did sound more advanced, for developers, and some were a lot more entry level (e.g., paraphrasing, "openoffice.org is open source, what does that mean for me, user ?").

Just my 2 cents, but I'm under the impression that it could serve a better purpose to be less general purpose and have a slightly sharper focus in terms of target audience. But hey, maybe it was just the weather (heard from others, e.g. from fellow openSUSEr Jan Weber) that there were clearly a lot more people the years before), and maybe the organizers are just fine with the amount and type of audience that was there.

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