All 13 entries tagged Freesoftware

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March 03, 2007

Obligatory FOSDEM post

It’s been a week since FOSDEM, so I think I’ve recovered just enough to be able to talk about it. :)

Looking back, a sizeable amount of work and planning went into making it a successful trip, both from the WUGLUG side (sorting out passports, EHIC cards, insurance, flights/trains and hotels), and from the FOSDEM organisers’ side – this was the first year with working wireless, and the conference as a whole ran very smoothly. Thank you to everyone who joined in to make a great weekend.

I travelled on the Eurostar, which was a pleasantly relaxed experience. We bumped into Josette Garcia, the O’Reilly UK marketing manager in the same carriage as us, which was serendipitous, as WUGLUG is involved in a user group scheme which she oversees. We were dropped in the centre of Brussels, with convenient tram and metro connections – but the four of us who went by train chose to walk into the city centre at first. We quickly learnt that the Brussels road system seems to work differently to over here; but fortunately none of us was run over during our stay. As an aside, it seems that the metro ticket machines run Windows XP, as we saw (and photographed) one of them crashing.

Having made it to the Grand Place, we happened to bump into Alasdair Kergon, who we had met at LinuxWorld 2005. He very kindly pointed us towards a cash machine and place to buy lunch. We bought baguettes in the traditional English tourist style, and then caught the metro towards our hotel.

The hotel wasn’t too bad – personally, I’m not convinced it was three stars, let alone four, but it didn’t really matter. We Eurostar people met up with the people who had flown, and then headed back to the Grand Place for the Beer Event. It involved beer. The beer in Belgium is great. We bought chocolate afterwards. Mmm. :)

The next two days were conferencey. After the first few keynote speakers, we split off to whichever devrooms interested us – I spent most of my time in the GNOME room, where I’d cunningly registered to get a name badge and T-shirt. There were a bunch of interesting people, and some good talks – I missed only one, the ‘bling’ talk, because it clashed with the keysigning. Particularly good were Dave Neary’s talks, titled ‘Marketing GNOME’ and ‘Why do we do it?’ – there were some good university-related ideas in the first one, and I spoke to him briefly on Sunday, asking about how we students could help. The other contact I made was Thomas Wood, who’s organising GUADEC in Birmingham this July, so I need to chase that up and find out how we at Warwick can help out.

Apart from having made all these contacts, bonus points of the weekend include now having a whole bunch of signatures on my GPG key. Even without these perks, just being able to experience some of this ‘community’ thing that people keep talking about was well worth the trip.


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From 20th August 2007, this blog is no longer being updated. For something more recent, please visit Tim Retout’s website.

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