A measure of growth is most apparent when scaled across a span of different times and situations. That applies to folks getting to see you after a long time, to vegetation left alone to spread and of course, to communities having their first meetup after a prolonged spell of online-bound interactions. FOSDEM 23 happened to be one of the first times after around three years that community members from across the world met in person with each other in Brussels, Belgium. With new and old faces alike, their time was well spent representing the community, exhibiting to the wider free and open-source communities the good stuff that they have been keeping themselves busy with and most importantly, bonding with their Fedora friends.
This year FOSDEM took place on 4th February ’23 and 5th February ’23 at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Campus du Solbosch, Avenue F. D. Roosevelt 50, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium. This free event was participated by over 8000 software engineering enthusiasts from across the world, had around 36 lightning talks and around 771 talks spanning 55 designated devrooms. Contributors from our community did not restrict their participation in the event as just attendees but they also enthusiastically volunteered to be stand keepers in the Fedora Project booth, speakers for a variety of talks and lectures, organizers for a set of devrooms and even as ground staff for making FOSDEM 23 a grand success.
Representation in booth
Fedora Project had its official booth in Building H of the Université Libre de Bruxelles campus, near the booths belonging to our friends at CentOS Project and GNOME Project. The desks were set up on time with a display showing the FOSDEM 23 attendee badge QR code and an assorted set of Fedora Project swags for taking (like keycaps with the Fedora logo, USB flash drives with Fedora branding, stickers and clips with the branding of Fedora subteams/SIGs/workgroups like NeuroFedora and Workstation, webcam covers with the Fedora logo and much more). We were also thankfully provided with a jar of jelly bears to offer to our booth attendees and a set of stickers from our friends at the AlmaLinux community.
With a designated booth duty schedule planned beforehand by our community members, the booth was constantly looked after by at least three staff members at any point in time and attended to hundreds of booth visitors throughout the course of the event. The booth visitors were excited to interact with our booth staff members, shared their own fun experiences of using Fedora Linux for a purpose of their choice and asked questions about participating in the community. We also teamed up with our friends from CentOS Project to combine our efforts into managing our booths together and moving our resources to/from the FOSDEM locker room. To sum it up, we really appreciate the community’s participation in our official booth.
Speaking about innovation
Contributors participating in the Fedora Project community were eager to share what they know about what they have been working and that took place in the form of multiple talks/lectures for a variety of devrooms during FOSDEM 23. Ranging from the latest Fedora Linux remix running on Apple Silicon hardware to improving the experience of video gaming on GNU/Linux distributions, from summing up the helpful outcomes of one of the first open-source creative conferences to building a web-based installer for Fedora Linux, our members were involved in providing a great deal of quality content and were met by wide acclaim from halls filled with enthusiastic attendees.
The delivered talks/lectures were not only useful in letting others know about all the cool things we have been working on but also instrumental in garnering feedback from the wider free and open-source software communities as to how we can do better. The attendees were eager to ask their questions at the end of the respective talks and curious to know about the directions that our projects, activities and developments were headed, thereby helping the speaker establish their network and also, potentially onboarding contributors. The following is the list of talks/lectures associated with the Fedora Project, the links of which can be followed to access the recordings and shared presentation assets.
- Fedora Asahi
Delivered by Eric Curtin
- Fedora CoreOS – Your Next Multiplayer Homelab Distro
Delivered by Akashdeep Dhar and Sumantro Mukherjee
- DNF5 – The New Era in RPM Software Management 1
Delivered by Nicola Sella, Jan Kolárik and Aleš Matěj
- Creative Freedom Summit Retrospective 1
Open Source Design Devroom
Delivered by Emma Kidney 1 and Jess Chitas
- Linux Distributions’ State of Gaming
Delivered by Akashdeep Dhar
- From Linux to Cloud to Edge and Beyond: Evolution of women contributors in distros & FOSS 1
Delivered by Amita Sharma 1 and Justin W. Flory 1
- Building a Web UI for the Fedora Installer
Delivered by Martin Kolman
Helping with devrooms
Being a volunteer-driven conference with only a few people working around the year to make it happen, FOSDEM entirely relies on free and open-source enthusiasts to contribute their efforts to organizing and running a variety of devrooms. FOSDEM has set up internet connectivity and projectors to ensure the teams can meet, discuss, hack and publicly showcase their latest developments in the form of lightning talks, news, discussions, talks and lectures. These devrooms cover a wide range of diverse topics, giving all enthusiasts a platform to show what they have been working on, learn what is current in the field of their interest and benefit from the discussions that take place about their topic.
Ranging from language-specific devrooms to those about community governance, contributors participating in the Fedora Project community got involved in not only delivering talks/lectures in these devrooms but also volunteering to make these a grand success. From running a live microphone for attending to popping up questions to flagging flashcards to show speakers how much time they have left, from setting up the wireless microphone for every new speaker coming to the stage to cleaning up everything after the event is wrapped up – FOSDEM appreciates the community participation and we are all about it. Following is a list of devrooms that were helped by Fedora Community members.
- Distributions Devroom
Justin W. Flory, Shaun McCance, Akashdeep Dhar and Sumantro Mukherjee
- Public Code and Digital Public Goods
Making FOSDEM successful
Donning the bright orange FOSDEM volunteer tees are our proud force of FOSDEM ground staff who devote their time to making sure that everything goes smoothly while organizing the conference. From introducing speakers before their talk/lecture begins to running cash registers at the counter selling official FOSDEM tee, from attending to the FOSDEM cloakroom containing booth and devroom assets to providing directions to the lost speakers rushing to their devrooms – needless to mention that FOSDEM would not have been possible without them. Here as well, one of our long-time Fedora Project contributors, Bogomil Shopov volunteered during FOSDEM 23 as their official ground staff.
Beyond FOSDEM 23, the contributors participating in the Fedora Project community participated in a bunch of meetups happening around the same time which further helped enrich the networking opportunities for our members. This not only led to our community spanning far and wide to those of others like OpenSUSE, GNOME etc. but to also learning and adapting from what the other communities do best while collaborating with them. We participated in the day-long CentOS Connect event on 3rd February ’23, Google’s FLOSS Foundations Dinner 2023 on 3rd February ’23, Google’s Mentorship Meetup and Fedora & CentOS Friends Dinner on 4th February ’23, and GitHub’s SustainOSS Meetup on 5th February ’23.