Fosdem 2020

Today I returned from Brussels, where I attended FOSDEM. It was my first time in Brussels and it was my first FOSDEM.

The days before FOSDEM, from Wednesday to Friday, there was a MiniDebCamp in the local Hackerspace. The Hackerspace is located at Studio CityGate, a collective space which was apparently an old factory for textile and medical equipment and can now be used by cultural projects (though I think its only temporary). There is a Bar at the ground floor, a recording studio in the basement, a skate park and a climbing wall and much more. The building and the yard reminded me a bit of the collective art space Fux, where the Hamburg MiniDebConfs 2018 and 2019 were located.

I only visited DebCamp on Friday and did a bit of work on the debian timeline (researched dates/events to be added) and on sway related packages.

The two days of FOSDEM were very interesting, although draining. There were talks and discussions all the time in multiple rooms of every size. On Saturday I found the policy debates in the Legal and Policy Issues devroom to be very interesting and entertaining. The culture of debate competition is something I didn’t know at all before (besides from movies) and it was a fascinating experience to see people so eloquently defend views they actually don’t really hold. There were also some points raised about ethical licensed that gave me a lot to think about.

On Sunday I started the day by watching a short introduction to hard disk encryption in Linux suspend mode with cryptsetup-suspend which I’m looking forward to try out (though I’ll need support for suspend to RAM on the Pinebook first). Later that day I watched a couple of talks in the Community devroom. There was a great talk about Building Ethical Software Under Capitalism by Deb Nicholson from Software Freedom Conservancy and Megan Sanicki from Google gave a talk about Leadership in Open Source (“Every contributor is a leader”). The last talk of the day I watched was Who will Decentralise the Fediverse? about Mastodon et al and the challenges of decentralization in federated networks.

I actually planned to do some tests of the Pinebook Pro during FOSDEM, but in the end I only opened the notebook once a day for a short time. I even forgot to stop by at the Pine64 stand.

All in all, it were interesting days. Apart from the talks I met some new people, some old friends and had inspiring discussions. What I’ll definitely skip next time is the Beer Event, that’s not my kind of evening activity but I’ll plan to spend more time at the DebCamp (if it happens again).

debian fosdem