Fosdem 2018 - Event report

FOSDEM, the biggest gathering of Open Source enthusiasts, developers and hackers in Europe, was held last weekend like every year in Brussels. This year’s FOSDEM was a big deal for Fedora, as we wanted to engage more with other developers and contributors. For this reason, we agreed bring more developers and experienced contributors on board, and have a few of them at all times in our booth. That also meant that we had to double our budget for this event, and therefore ask for a raise in the EMEA regional budget from the Fedora Council.

With that extra money we managed actually to double the staff for our booth, and bring great Fedora contributors on board. Tom Callaway for example, who is the head of the Fedora Legal team, and former Engineering manager and packaging committee chair for Fedora, and Sumantro Mukherjee from the Fedora QA team, that came from India.

Our booth was full of goodies, like every year. We had plenty of stickers for all participants, along with pens, and pins. This year we also brought with us the introductory booklet about Fedora workstation. This 20 pages booklet is aimed at beginners, and explains with screenshots detailed instructions about how to get started with Fedora. This great effort from the Czech community, which originally wrote the first version of the booklet, was eventually translated into english. This year we also worked together with the centOS community to print some hand bags that carried both of the centOS and Fedora logos! :)

I brought with me apart from three huge Fedora roll-up banners, one Fedorator and the OLPC X0-1. The Fedorator is the next big cool must-have-in-a-fedora-booth thing. It’s a 3D printed box with a Raspberry PI, a touchscreen and two USB ports exposed on the front side of the device. The basic use case is the user inserting a flash drive. The screen then provides a menu where the user may select a Fedora release, including the Workstation or Spins and Labs. Upon selection a bootable image is written onto the flash drive. The schematics and the code are available online. The X0-1, which belongs for many years to the greek Fedora community, “wears” Fedora 18. Many people came at the booth after being “lured” in a way from these devices. Some people showed particular interest to the Fedorator, and it was a great way to learn more about them.

Overall I can say that all contributors did a great job. We had a lot of people this year at the booth and we talked to many people. It was also fantastic that we had contributors from many different areas of expertise. We had contributors from the Fedora legal team, many packagers, contributors from Fedora QA, from Community Operations, from Marketing, from diversity and inclusion, from the Council, translators and sysadmins. We are also a very diverse community. It’s great that 30% of the sponsored contributors were women.

Last but not least, a big thank you to the organizing committee, for making FOSDEM once again a great conference. Hope to see you all next year!