Tuesday, February 08, 2011


So FOSDEM 2011 is over, at last, and it was a huge success, as always (mind you, I'm one of the organizers, my opinions might be just a little subjective here ;)).

From the organizational point of view, I was less active this year compared the the 7 previous ones (yes, it's already the 8th time for me, and I noticed how annoying it is to say "8th" in English quite a few times during the weekend): lots of procastrination and my "spare time" being vampirized by other activities, most prominently work on the openSUSE Board (which I am now no longer part of). Definitely something to fix for next year, and a big mea culpa to my mates on the FOSDEM organization team.

That being said, it was still a lot of work, as it is for every edition, and while I suppose that most if not all the visitors are sorry that the event is already over, we're pretty happy it is, I'm sure you can understand why :).

All in all, it was very successful. There were more visitors, as each year, and I believe that we've really reached the limits of the infrastructure we're using at the moment. That means we'll have a few "interesting" challenges ahead of us for the next edition (no, we won't move away from the ULB nor from the Solbosch campus, we'll just have to stretch the space used by FOSDEM a bit more to use more and larger rooms). But more about that in a few months' time.

It was also very smooth for everything else. Having so many volunteers to help us out during the weekend, including for the very tedious task of setting things up, was really ${deity}-send. Thanks to the support of the ULB networking team, Belnet as well as Cisco made FOSDEM provide what must be the best possible wifi infrastructure at an event of such size. Our usual collaboration with LPI went great as well (was awesome to meet my good friend Fabrice Mous again) as it provided the opportunity for ~130 exams to be taken by FOSDEM visitors.

We even managed to fill up our largest room, Janson, which is one of the largest auditoriums in Belgium with 1400 seats, up to the limit and even a bit more for the keynotes. That was impressive, to say the least.

It was a great pleasure to meet so many fine people and friends again (including, but not exclusively, Henne Vogelsang, Peter Linnell, Andrew Wafaa, J├╝rgen Weigert, Will Stephenson, Bruno Friedmann, Pavol Rusnak, Michal Hrusecky, Vincent Untz, Michael Meeks, Daniel Seuffert, Frank Karlitschek, Delphine Lebedel, Tristan Nitot, William Quiviger, Tom Marble, etc etc etc... -- sorry if I forgot you, I'm just too lazy and tired to keep pulling names out of my brain at this point, too many to list :)), even if it was usually only for a short chat as I have to keep running around all over the venue to get things done.

That's usually the point where one realizes again that it is so much about the people, more than anything else (you are fine to disagree here, dear reader, it is just my very humble opinion). So many FOSS projects are driven by so many great people, I'd just love it to last for a couple of weeks to have the time to have beers (or coffee) with every single one of them, at the very least the ones I already know. I'm really happy and thankful -- to FOSDEM, I guess -- to be so lucky to have been in touch with so many interesting people, and obviously hope to still be in the future.

And FOSDEM is also a very inclusive event, where projects and initiatives covering the whole spectrum in terms of technologies, domains and (OSI compatible) licenses get together to have a great deal of fun. I believe that every single visitor would agree that it is the most effective way to get our motivation batteries loaded to spend our spare time, energy, love, sweat and blood into doing such great things.

On the cross-pollination front, which is more and more of a priority for us, I'm happy to see the Crossdistro developer room clearly evolve into the right direction (thanks to Wouter Verhelst (of Debian fame) to take care of that); where not quite there yet, as intentions need to be followed by much more action, but it is a step forward already, and such things do take a good deal of time, as much as many of us would like to see it happening as soon as possible, especially at openSUSE. FOSDEM is such a great opportunity to get together with other projects and people, as so many of them are on the spot.

For a couple of final words, my big "thank you" goes out, in no particular order, to the volunteers who helped us during the weekend, to the sponsors that support the event, to the visitors who have donated money in order to keep giving us the chance of remaining independent, to the people and projects who were there at the stands, devrooms, lightning talks, to the speakers who accepted our invitations, obviously to the other members of the FOSDEM organization team (we did it again! :D), to the ULB and CI for providing us with their infrastructure, and, of course, to the people who attended.

On a side note, if you were at FOSDEM 2011, please take a minute to fill out our census as well as our feedback form.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Will await the videos' posting anxiously!


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