Quickly post-FOSDEM

Four days of Brussels: eat, sleep and be nerdy. I learned many things at FOSDEM 2019, although not in areas that I expected. Koalas, silicon and testing strategies, yes.

I stayed with friends at a wonderful bed-and-breakfast near the university. A cat was provided for conversational purposes at breakfast — and breakfast was beautiful. A ten minute walk to the venue along a park makes the start of a FOSDEM day a very different experience from, say, a packed and smelly bus 71. Thank you, June, for making our stay a memorable one. Thanks to Rohan and Roman for being good roomies.

The FreeBSD mini-devsummit was a good one. It was kept on-topic by Benedict. Thank you to Deb for organizing in the shadows. It was a particularly valuable meeting for the “desktop stack” part of FreeBSD. We had KDE people there and the X11/mesa stack, and also met GNOME-FreeBSD outside of the devsummit. That means that we got to align everyone on “what needs testing and where should we go from here”. There will be more FreeBSD-desktop activity this year.

FOSS-North will be one such activity; both the KDE community and the FreeBSD community will be there. I’m looking forward to being torn in half so I can attend both community day events there.

Photo of booth with monitor and T-shirts

Ivana running the KDE booth

FOSDEM itself might be described as “same old, same old” but only if you abstract that to “unable to get anywhere because you keep meeting all these incredible people”. Alexios, Amanda, Bernard, Camille, Dan, Dave, Ed, Federico, .. good to see you all again. I had time — or the presence of mind — to take only one picture this weekend. The sun is shining, so this must have been on Sunday. Ivana, thank you for being one of the constants at the booth. David, good to meet you for the first time, and Jonathan, you too thanks for being the backstop to our demonstrations. In the photo you can also see our two taglines: Plasma everywhere (from Pine64 to RISC-V to x86, from mobile to large-screen desktop) and Come home to KDE (your data and your computing should be like your home: customizable, secure, private).

We had a constant stream of people stopping by for stickers and information and T-shirts (next time, also bring some baby sizes). The live demo’s are a favorite — also for me, because then I see applications that I don’t usually use.

Photo of Pine64 booth with laptops

Pine64 Hardware Exposed

Lots of people were asking about Pine64 hardware, so we referred them to the stand over in building AW. Here’s a picture with everything tidy — it must have been Saturday during set-up, before the crowds arrived. I didn’t have much time with the Pine hardware — the phone, the new laptop, and all the other gadgetry. They are showing off a huge number of little gadgets, all very open and inexpensive to boot.

In the background of this photo, the Espruino and MicroPython projects are showing off their devices. Especially the MicroPython is a beautiful little machine in its aluminum case.

Thanks to the Pine64 people for a wonderful after-hours get-together as well. Among others, the PostmarketOS people were there — I’ve never seen so many N900s at one table since 2008.

Unlike previous years, I stayed one night extra to have a relaxed journey home. And now I’ve got a pile of business cards to go through and a long list of technologies to try.