This weekend I went to FOSDEM, an open source conference in Brussels, with Henrique and I thought I ought to blog about it. Let me prefix this with explaining that it was my first time, which meant I did not really know what to expect.
We quickly learned that attending a room wasn't as simple as just going there. There was an interesting talk announced for the Networking room, and after getting a coffee we went there to be just in time, only to find a giant queue of people in front of a door that said the room was full. This pattern repeated itself throughout the weekend.
As Henrique is a train nerd (yes) we got ourselves into the 'Railways and Open Transport' room, for talks about how to count passengers using open source software. It's great how this conference can provide such niche talks and get so many people interested in them. It was not easy to get into the Transport room.
I must admit that the niche also made me feel lost a few times. Everything is so zoomed in, it makes it hard to pick a place to attend, especially since getting into a room is always an investment. The trick is then to just pick a room that sounds interesting and just stay there, let the serendipity hit you.
Since nobody bought a ticket to the event, nor even did have to register, it is quite impossible to know the exact capacity of the event. It was really crowded, but that was mainly a good thing.
A few personal highlights:
- a thing about state machines in the Erlang/Elixir room (which was next to Transport, so H. stayed there)
- all the examples of how Liquid prompt provides a better thought-out presentation of information in the terminal
- the idea that we should design our security features for a person who just had a baby and has a cat who pukes in the corner – we aren't paying perfect attention all the time
- drinks in Delirium, but also the other nice foods, meeting nice people
- the motivational talk by the guy who maintains curl, that piece of software that is in almost everything, including most apps, your car and on Mars
- all the git commands I did or (mostly) did not know about
- the various tweaks in my dotfiles or other workflows just because someone mentioned something
- the weird LED-screen badge that everybody had and we finally bought too
It was also really nice to talk almost exclusively in Dutch with Henrique all weekend. It's really amazing how far he has come with learning the language and I am glad I could help him in his efforts by providing casual conversations with an occasional gentle correction.
So all in all, yes, this was a very good weekend and I would go again.