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FOSDEM 2018: What Are the Highlights to Remember?

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sebastienblin

On February 3rd and 4th, two members of Ring’s development team took part in FOSDEM 2018 in Brussels. FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting), a major event for free software developers, is held annually since 2000 during the first week-end of February at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Sébastien Blin, a Ring project’s developer, shares with us his recent discoveries made during his visit to the free and open source software world of FOSDEM.

FOSDEM 2018

Sébastien says: “This year was my first experience at FOSDEM! When I arrived in Brussels, I took the opportunity to visit this beautiful city before going into two days of talks, presentations and meetings.”

Some Highlights

FOSDEM is the place to meet countless free software experts, to attend plenty of talks and to explore the most interesting and recent free and open source software projects.

In this event, I represented Savoir-faire Linux and gave two talks: one on Ring Project and the other on OpenDHT with Adrien Béraud. I also seized the chance to personally meet some very interesting developers whom I would not have been able to get acquainted with easily outside this event. All of this kept me quite busy and engaged so much so that I could not attend all the talks on my shopping list! However, here is a brief overview on those talks I participated:

  • Python 3: 10 years later: Python’s history and developments in the last 10 years.
  • GStreamer for tiny devices: some tools to optimize the size of the GStreamer binary (or other binaries) for platforms with little memory space.
  • Anonymous Whistleblowing with SecureDrop: a talk about a software which allows journalists and their sources to exchange anonymously and securely.
  • Speech-to-Text in Jitsi Meet: I was a little bit disappointed by this talk, because they use Google Speech API to do that, and I wanted to discover an alternative to current proprietary solutions. It is still a nice project to follow. It is planned to replace Google Speech API by a solution similar to Mozilla’s Common Voice.
  • Qt GUIs with Rust and GStreamer & Rust: It still good to see big libraries coming on Rust.
  • Tizen:RT : introduction to the Tizen ecosystem and Tizen:RT 

Also, I’m currently waiting to watch the videos of these talks:

It is a different feeling to watch these projects live! You also can attend a lot of talks in the Decentralized Room such as Contributopia (by Framasoft).

Other News

Based on my experience, I believe, one of the best spots to discover new projects was Building K which housed many stands showcasing the most recent projects and novel features of the existing projects. Plus, it was a great place to meet new interesting people! Here’s what I discovered:

  • Godot 3.0 is out!
  • VLC 3.0 is coming out!
  • Krita is now compatible with Python scripts!
  • I discover GitMate.io, I’ll try it soon!

I also discovered many other new features on Fedora, Mozilla, Qubes OS, Nextcloud, SecureDrop, Tor, etc.

My Talks

In FOSDEM I delivered two talks with my colleague Adrien. The details of them are below:

  • Ring as a free universal distributed communication platform

A conference about the state of Ring Project in 2018. The video is here and slides here . In order to explore more resources please check out the GitHub here.

  • OpenDHT: make your distributed project

A conference about OpenDHT. I mainly talked about the proxy feature and push notifications support. Watch the video here.

It was the first time I gave presentations in English in front of more than 200 attendants. It was… awesome! The public was receptive, questions were precise and they led to interesting discussions.

Final Remarks

First, I would like to thank Savoir-faire Linux for offering me the opportunity to talk at FOSDEM. I would also like to thank FOSDEM’s organizing team. They did a fantastic job of organizing about 10,000 participants along with logistics and operations such as scheduling, recording and publishing more than 100 talks online just in a matter of 2 days. It was indeed impressive. My own personal experience organizing tech events made me further realize and appreciate the efforts of the team behind the scene especially as the final outcome wowed the crowd!

Probably the only flip side of FOSDEM 2018 has been the lack of diversity in terms of gender and regions represented in the event. Perhaps, it would be great to encourage more female developers to join the event in 2019 and provide some further support to bring in the free software enthusiasts from less privileged sides of the planet. Free software community is an all inclusive crowd with no boundaries and for this reason we must do our best to celebrate diversity and empower those who need our support.

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