After 2 years, FOSDEM is finally back in ULB. So has this biggest Open-Source conference changed?

Friday - Fringe events

I arrived early on Friday early morning but it seems FOSDEM has already started! There are a lot of open-source events - which are called fringe events - already happening the day before FOSDEM. It is easy to see why - there will be several thousand folks who are interested in open-source software being there.

Originally, I planned to attend CHAOSS con, which is a conference that my colleague Dave recommended. So I went to Bedford hotel, where the conference is after arriving in Brussels. However, I went to the wrong room and accidentally attended a workshop and licensing and security. The organisers kindly welcome me in and I sit for a talk by James. It is an interesting presentation.

After that, I got the message about which room the CHAOSS con is, so I went there. I met my friend Lorna and Inessa there. I am so glad to learnt something about CHAOSS project.

When it’s lunchtime, we head to one of my favourite restaurants for lunch. We exchange information about what is going to happen on Saturday and Sunday in FOSDEM so I can get myself prepare to do what I want to do. FOSDEM is so big that if you do not have a plan, you will be overwhelmed.

After lunch, I head to check in at the hotel and take a short break. After that, I headed to the Python sprint meet-up organised by local organiser Hugo, who is also the host of the Python Dev Room this year.

When I arrived there, there are not many folks, I guess there are so many things going on people like me just hopped in and out of different events. However, I was lucky to meet one of the organisers from Tai Wan, Peter, and happen to know that he will be having dinner with my friend Sammy, organiser of PyCon Hong Kong! So I decided to tag along and have dinner with the Tai Wan Hong Kong group. It was fun!

Saturday - Day 1

It is exciting to come back to FOSDEM after so many years. I decided to volunteer at the cloakroom in the morning as there will be many people arriving and there will be many suitcases, and in our case because of the rain, coats to be stored so folks attending can enjoy the conference. During my shift, I met many people I know - including friends that I made at PyCon Italy. I am glad that they came to FOSDEM.

After my shift, I am finally free to explore. I went to say hi to my friends’ booth, they gave me a lot of swags, I am glad that I did bring a bag. I also came across a lot of promotions about other interesting events. I bought a lot of hackable gadgets from various booths as well.

I also bump into an old friend Gerben who I met years ago at a Mozilla event in Berlin. We took a picture at one of those vintage photo booths together and I still keep our pictures.

I had a shorter day as there is so many exciting things going on and I got tired before the event finished. I didn’t go to any Dev Rooms as the ones that I am interested in will be on Sunday.

Sunday - Day 2

For day 2, I planned to split it between Community Dev Room and Python Dev Room. I arrived early in the Community Dev Room to attend the first talk by Matt. It is very useful for us as it is about building external evangelists. Then there are talks followed by my friend Floord and Inessa. After that, I head out with Floord and make some new friends - including Faruk whose team developed a lot of cross-platform open-source software for scientists.

After that, I scout for the location of the Python Dev Room, as I don’t want to be unable to find it when it’s time for my talk. Outside of the Python Dev Room, I met Anastasia, who is another speaker in the same room. But it’s not time for her talk yet, so, joined by her colleague, we head to the food truck to find food for lunch.

After that, we head back for her talk. Then I took a short break to prepare for mine. My talk is the last in the Dev Room and it’s challenging - I am already very exhausted by everything in FOSDEM. But I managed and some folks came to me after the talk to ask more questions and I got connected to a few of them on LinkedIn. I hope they will try our PyScript and provide valuable feedback for us.

I met Victor at the Python Dev Room. He has been a friend for years and during the pandemic, we only chat occasionally online. I am so glad to meet him in person. Later in the day, we have dinner together with other friends including the core maintainer team of Mecrial. Some of them will be at PyCon FR in 2 weeks and I am sure we will have more time to chat.

And that concludes FOSDEM this year. It is officially a 2-day event but because of its scale of it, it feels like a week-long event. This is an event that I am so glad to be a part of because that is where everybody goes and it is where you can meet anyone.

You can also catch up on my talk online:

After having a career as a Data Scientist and Developer Advocate, Cheuk dedicated her work to the open-source community. She has co-founded Humble Data, a beginner Python workshop that has been happening around the world. She has served the EuroPython Society board for two years and is now a fellow and director of the Python Software Foundation.