Fosdem 2010: the aftermath

One campus, 2 days + some nights, about 250 sessions and +5000 geeks. The European meet-up for the open-source people!

What was my part? Following sessions, supporting in one session and talking a lot to all the people I know and don’t know within the community.

What I took away from it? 4 t-shirts, 5 buttons, loads of stickers, new knowledge/information, new ideas and lots of new cont(r)acts.

The short story is: arrive Friday around 5pm, get to the Renaissance Brussels hotel, get something to eat before going to Delirium, finding people to talk/drink with, get to bed, wake up and get myself to campus, follow some sessions, support on the CBAC session, get myself to the joostians (former Joost Technologies employees) dinner, have some drinks with the joostians, get to bed, wake up and check out of the hotel, get myself to campus and plant myself in the back of the mozilla room, follow some other sessions afterwards!? and get my ass back on the train home.

Wanna know more?

The report

Arriving:

Oke… the train. The train ride was oke, there was some hold up during the ride as some pickpockets were active but we arrived around 4:45 (as my twitter showed ;-)). After the train ride I had a nice walk with Bert & Maartje to the renaissance. Refreshing to do after a 2 hour train ride. At the hotel: check-in, getting my stuff in the room and getting to work! Work on the CBAC presentation that is. We did do some work on the train but the presentation itself needed to be designed and worked out a bit more. About 80% done we got hungry so we walked back to the center for the Friday night beer event.

Night 1:

Before beer it’s a good idea to get some food. So, we got some first at one of the places near the Delirium café. The beer event was as busy as hell as usual but it seemed to impress Bert to see so many geeks on one street! After some walking around and talking with fedora and red hat people I found some joostians sitting in the back. This turned out the be an assimilation game… we had one table, then we claimed 2 and we even grew to almost 4 tables and added 2 small other groups to our big one! After a while we discovered that there were joostians that were avoiding us. The only solution was to go to them! ‘Theatre de Toone‘ it was… got some rounds of drinks but I headed off for other pastures around 2am. I lost everyone at that time so I found me some new! socialized a bit with people from Mozilla and fedora and I even found some Ruby folk! The conclusion was… 4 am to bed, 8am rude wakeup by my phone!

Day 1:

So, I woke up at 8am to have some time adjust and actually wake up instead of sitting at the sessions like a zombie… At breakfast I found back Bert & Maartje and, what would you expect at the renaissance, bumped into fedora folk and supplied kanarip with some coffee. I actually left Bert & Maartje behind as I wanted to be at the welcome keynote. Took a cab with kanarip to get there.

cbac-logo-480.png picture by yopefonicSessions! I took the keynotes (the first three) and went on to the embedded room to get something about mobile UI, that got canceled. I did take the embedded software development practices talk later that day. It was decent but not shockingly new to me. After that I took two Mozilla sessions, hackability and HTML5. These two sessions were really nice, they gave a nice picture of the ideas of Mozilla on “user generated features” and the implementations of HTML5. After my sit down at Mozilla I moved my ass to the Ruby+Rails room to assist Bert in the CBAC presentation. I did catch the session: “25 good practices in Ruby on Rails development” as it was a decent filler to fill to our presentation on CBAC. The room was not filled for our presentation but it was good enough to get some response on what we’ve done.

Night 2:

During the day I spoke with almost all of the joostians that were there. We decided beforehand that we were having dinner together on Saturday, only we did not have the details yet… We tried to get a big table at como como but it was full. Through the powerful world of social networking and the internet it was possible to get together a large group to gather at the “grand café” near the “beurs”. We had some conversations/drinks with some delicious Belgium food! We got kicked out (ofcourse) and moved to another café to get some drinks, that closed around midnight so we had to get on the road again… I took it on myself to get a good nights sleep (instead of the short night the day before).

Day 2:

after my wonderful breakfast at the hotel I checked out and met with kanarip and scored a free ride to campus. I walked a bit with them but planted my ass fairly quickly in the Mozilla dev room during the mozmill session about that specific testing framework (not my cup of tea). l20n switched with the thunderbird session. So I took the session by ludo who I know from my time at joost.com and I was surprized to find myself installing a email client for the first time in my life (probably he hypnotized me to do it). After that Mozilla presented their plans for firefox mobile (not interesting enough to keep me away from my computer). But the last session I took at Mozilla surprised me! I already read something about the l20n localization system but I did not understand it in detail yet. The l20n system is not a straight life for line translation line l18n systems. l20n uses meta data about the phrases to translate them, it is half dynamic in that way. It’s not fully specced out yet and not even close to completion but the initial ideas and research looks really good!

I left the Mozilla room to go to the main hall (jason) for the presentation about scaling Facebook and as a bonus I walked into the last part of the Hadoop data analyses talk. Both sessions were interesing and inspiring. New stuff was told about the underlying architecture and the choices that were made to get to that result. And of course some of the dazzling numbers the people at Facebook need to deal with every day. After that I took the train back home with the joostians Jinn, aussie Andy, little Thomas and Onno to arrive home around 8:15. Good weekend.

Special mentions

Joostians found:

It seems to be a habit to run into these people nicknamed joostians (former Joost Technologies employees). This year there was a surprisingly big group I bumped into. Simon, Drikx, Alex, Tom, Jinn, aussie Andy, little Thomas, Onno, Claudia, Rick, Richard, big guy Willem,  Bas, Jonathan, Ludo, Maxf, Tatiana, Jens, Finne, Dan, Zoja and Eddie.

Interesting projects:

In an opensource meeting like this your bound to talk to people about projects… so?

  • onilabs: something about javascript based webserver and framework (keep an eye on this as it is not open yet)
  • Mozilla Hacks: display of new technology with the browser but also an effort to keep the web open!
  • CBAC: of course a project I’m participating in
  • l20n: L20n is the codename for a localization architecture taking existing approaches one step further
  • and other stuff I might not be able to talk about…
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