My first-ever FOSDEM; it was awesome

I came back from FOSDEM on Tuesday but got busy with my day time job at Crossbar.io. Finally, today when I got to write something, I found my blogspot based web page to be really uncomfortable to navigate and manage, so I spent the last few hours trying to move my blog over to wordpress. I also had to update the planet ubuntu bzr repository for my new blog to show up on Planet Ubuntu.

Having been part of the Ubuntu community, I have had the chance to travel to different software events, mostly Ubuntu specific. While at Canonical, my travel was for Ubuntu Developer Summit and for internal Canonical sprints. Post-Canonical layoff in 2017, I didn’t really travel much for conferences, though last year, while visiting Crossbar.io GmbH’s HQ in Erlagen, Germany, I used that opportunity to plan my trip as such that it coincides with UbuCon Europe in Sintra. That was a great event and I got to meet really great people, the social part of that event was on par or even better than the talks/workshops.

So when FOSDEM’s date was announced, I was yet again excited to travel to a community event and since its known as the biggest FOSS conference in Europe and the fact that lots of super-intelligent people from the wider open-source community attend it every year, I knew I had to be there. To that regard I applied for the Ubuntu community donation fund and guess what I got the nod. Rest is just details.

Talks were great

I attended lots of great talks (lighting as well) and one of the great and a "must watch" talk was from James Bottomley of IBM titled "The Selfish Contributor Explained", according to him that to unleash the true potential of an employee, companies should make an effort to figure out what interests their employee and if a developer is working on something they enjoy, they will likely go out of their way to make things work better.

From future’s perspective and something that affects us all is how the web will transform in the coming years; for that Daniel Stenberg (curl creator) gave an informative talk about HTTP/3 and the problems that it solves. Of course much of the "heavy lifting" was done by the new underlying transport QUIC (thanks Google for the earlier work)

Behold HTTP/3 is coming

I gave a talk

DeskConn is a project that I have been working on in my free time for a bit and I wanted to introduce that to a wider audience, hence I gave a brief talk on what could potentially be done with it. DeskConn project enables network based IPC, allowing for different apps, written in different languages to be able to communicate with each other and since the technology is based around WebSocket/WAMP/Zeroconf, a client could be running in any programming language that has a WAMP library.

For simplicity sake: Its a technology that could enable creation of projects like KDE Connect but something that runs on all platforms like Windows, macOS and Linux.

My talk about the DeskConn project

Met old colleagues and friends

FOSDEM gave me the opportunity to meet lots of great people that I truly admire in the Ubuntu community, people I hadn’t seen or talked to for more than 3 years.

I met quite a few people from the Ubuntu desktop team and it was refreshing to know how hard they are working on making Ubuntu 20.04 a success. Olivier Tilloy and I had a short discussion about browser maintenance that he does to ensure we have the latest and greatest versions of our two favorite browsers (Firefox and Chromium). Jibel told me about the ZFS installation feature work that He and Didier have been doing; I hope we’ll be able to use that technology in "production" soon.

from left to right: Martin Pitt (from RedHat), Ian Lane and Jean-Baptiste Lallement and I

Conclusion

My first FOSDEM was a great learning experience, navigating around the ULB is also a challenge of sorts but it was all worth it. I’d definitely go back to a FOSDEM given the chance, maybe next year šŸ˜‰

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