Adventures at FOSDEM 2015

    It is strange that no one writes about this in the Russian-language media, but a few days ago in Brussels the largest European event FOSDEM 2015 was successfully held.

    I already attended it earlier (in 2007 I gave a talk about ReactOS , in 2009 - the ReactOS stand ).
    And, compared to what it was before - the popularity of FOSDEM is growing from year to year.
    According to official statistics, in 2014, 8 thousand unique MAC addresses were connected to the FOSDEM network, and in 2015 - about 15 thousand!

    You can choose your device ratio per person, as an option:
    1.5 devices per person: 10 thousand people .
    0.8 devices per person: 18 thousand people.

    And it really felt.

    For example, taking a tram (yes, I sometimes use public transport! :-)) in the center of Brussels (and this is far from the venue of the University of ULB), in each carriage, on Saturday and Sunday, you could meet several people traveling by FOSDEM. Not to mention the fact that all hotels, hostels, beds & breakfasts, overnight accommodations were completely sold out.

    The number of visitors is sometimes stunning and literally. I barely managed to get through the crowd in the exhibition corridors of FOSDEM, to at least somehow show what was happening there:

    The event itself is quite unique in its kind:
    • Free participation for everyone (and the speakers are even compensated for the cost of accommodation and travel)
    • No registration required for visitors
    • ULB University provides FOSDEM with most of its space for free
    • 551 different events (reports, certification, etc.)
    • A live broadcast of all reports has been organized.

    And at the same time:
    • Volunteers everywhere, help, friendly
    • Cleanliness of the rooms
    • Not a single incident - everything is peaceful, no cries of “Down with Pottering!” or "Unnecessary!"
    • Free buses to help thousands of people go home peacefully
    • IPv6-only WiFi :-)

    Most of the rooms in which the reports were held were fully occupied. Queues were lined up for some in order to get into the vacant seats.


    Our neighbors in this building are:


    A fairly well-known project, located on the left side of us. Formerly called LinuxBIOS. During the exhibition itself, there was no time to communicate with them, but on the other hand we caught up on Sunday night.


    A relatively new project, located on our right. A fork of ChromeOS, every application runs inside a docker-like container. I think that it is the most popular and famous due to the distributed configuration storage etcd developed in it .
    On Sunday, their table was empty, and visitors asked me if I knew what had happened to them. Receiving a negative answer, some said "likely a hangover from saturday night".


    Where now without 3D printers ?! The guys printed without interruption for all two days. We agreed that they would print our ReactOS logo, but unfortunately, we could not draw the three-dimensional model so quickly. It would be great!


    A life-size elephant doll walked around the area and lured everyone to the PostgreSQL booth. During breaks, she approached the stand and arranged wonderful photo shoots with geeks.

    Our stand

    The last time we participated with ReactOS at this event five years ago, and now - we are back there!

    From our team came:
    • Giannis "smiley" Adamopoulos (Janis)
    • Aleksey “Fireball” Bragin (I)
    • Colin Finck
    • Pierre "HeisSpiter" Schweitzer (Pierre)

    Colin was the first to arrive at the scene around 11 o’clock on Saturday morning and discovered the lack of a ReactOS table. I looked on the left, looked on the right and got into a snowdrift to find out that our colleagues from the Coreboot project at the next table decided to take a little more space by chance :-) The guys from Coreboot quickly restored justice and just at that moment I came, brought all the attributes made in advance in Moscow - banner and flags.

    Having hung and arranged all this - laptops, leaflets, flags, a banner, our stand is ready to receive visitors! And we are ready to tell on which version of the Linux kernel ReactOS is based on our successes.

    Janis and Pierre came up later, during the day, and the four of us talked to visitors. On the selfie, left-to-right: I, Janis, Colin.

    Our banner was clearly visible both from the inside (it was illuminated with light from the street) ...

    And from the outside of the building: A

    hundred CDs, carefully made by Hermès Bélusca-Maito and Colin Finck, parted even before it got dark on the first day of FOSDEM . This was completely unexpected, from the experience of previous exhibitions and conferences, and indeed the fact that CDs are already out of circulation.

    Apparently, running Microsoft Excel in ReactOS attracted too much attention:

    But, ReactOS would not be ReactOS, if we could not come up with a way out of the situation! That same evening, Colin and Pierre went to the center of Brussels in search of a store working on the weekend and selling blanks and stickers on them. And they did! Having bought another 100 discs, we used all the writing drives of the laptops that we had at our disposal (Pierre and Colin partially recorded at night, and already with me all day on Sunday). And the FOSDEM staff helped us a lot by giving us a printer on which we were able to print stickers on the disks. So, in the end, we handed out a little less than 200 discs.

    Pierre sticks a sticker on a freshly recorded LiveCD ...

    ... puts it in an envelope, meanwhile Janis writes the next disc, and Colin answers visitors' questions with German punctuality:

    We give special greetings to the Kolibri project, it is a pity that this time they did not have a stand at FOSDEM, but we met their representative yogev_ezra and had a nice chat.

    Somehow gathered Russian, German, French, Portuguese and Singaporean ...

    On Saturday night, we planned a meeting with friend Nuno Brito, who kindly booked a table for us in a beautiful tavern at Grand Place. There I met Harish Pillay (Global Head of Arch and Leadership at RedHat). Once again I was convinced - nationality, Linux / BSD / ReactOS preferences do not affect the friendly atmosphere. Although we talked a lot about the theme of national color - about stereotypes of perception of different nations, about languages, life in different countries, and other interesting things.

    Friday was the Friday Beer Event, but it wasn’t accepted to do reports from it :-)

    I’ll be happy to answer your questions!

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