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2014 February 7

fosdemThe two-day long biggest Open Source meeting in Europe is over! As you know, FOSDEM is a free event that offers open source communities a place to meet, share ideas and collaborate. It is renowned for being highly developer-oriented and brings together 5000+ geeks from all over the world.

O’Reilly has sponsored FOSDEM since 2002 when it changed its name from OSDEM to FOSDEM. So since 2002, I have been attending FOSDEM – not attending the talks but selling numerous O’Reilly books with my colleagues. Our table(s) is still in the H Block but the location has improved, we are now a few metres away from the doors which means it is no longer so cold. Even though we are very well looked after by the members of the organisation and by the delegates, providing us with tea and coffee, we still cannot have lunch until 4 pm as we are so busy. Please note: this is not a complaint just a fact. Thank you guys for bringing us food and drinks.

For the last couple of years, I started the weekend by going to the Delirium to meet some friends. The Delirium is a huge pub, two minutes from the Grand Place. I believe most of the drinks are sponsored so you can imagine the amount of people going there – it is not big enough to cater for everybody so lots of people are drinking, talking, greeting each other in the street. After an hour or less and a long wait for a coke, I had to leave as I was already thinking of getting up early to set up for the next day. This year we were incredibly lucky. Our 51 boxes of books were at the other end of the hall – not good. Our luck changed with the arrival of 3 guys coming from South Germany – unfortunately I do not know their names nor even the town they came from.  At around 7 am  on Saturday morning they came in the hall and said something like “it is cold outside and it is raining, can we stay in?” “But of course, no problem,” was the answer, “but you might have to help us with these boxes.” And those 3 great guys put the boxes on a very dilapidated trolley (several trips), brought the boxes and opened them for us. To me these three gentlemen epitomise FOSDEM – helping each other. For some of you FOSDEM is the meeting of great open source minds, for me it is the meeting of friends – some I see only once a year, some more often but always very happy to see each other. There I learn about your achievements, your dreams (one moved to Facebook in San Francisco, another one had a baby and so on).  One man very proudly showed me one of the first O’Reilly/FOSDEM bags that we created years ago. With a lot of pride and very carefully, he got the bag out of his pocket and filled it with new books.

I will not bore you with a description of the content of FOSDEM, you can see that on Philip’s ( video below.

Saturday evening we had dinner with the Perl mongers – again a very multinational gathering. As the dinner was for 50 people, I will only mention a few –  Liz and Wendy, the famous Dutch duo who always sponsor these dinners; Ovid Poe, O’Reilly author; Laurent Boivins and Marc Chantreux, Perl France; Sawyer X who I hope will be interviewed soon about Dancer and published on this blog; Marian Marinov, from Sofia, who is organizing YAPC::Europe 2014 (22nd-24th August). I think I only talked about YAPC and how to make it an even greater conference.

Two of our authors came to see us:

zero mqreal world ocamlPieter Hintjens, author of Zero MQ

Anil Madhavapeddy, co-author of Real World OCaml

Pieter and Anil, should you be reading this post, I can confirm that we sold all the copies of your books – thank you for the marketing assistance during your talks.


I met Sarah Novotny, co-chair of OSCON for the last couple of years – unfortunately being at FOSDEM, we did not have a chance to talk apart from a very brief greeting and see you later. I was also extremely happy to meet Constantin Dabro who is the leader of the Burkina Faso Java User Group.

On Sunday evening, after packing 7 boxes of leftover books, somebody told me that I was the mother of FOSDEM, then I thought I am not the mother but I feel like great-grandmother or somebody who had run a couple of marathons in two days :))

2 Responses Post a comment
  1. avatar
    Constantin permalink
    February 10, 2014

    It was a great meeting you for the first time.
    Merci beaucoup !
    Constantin Drabo

  2. avatar
    February 7, 2014

    It was great meeting you again, as always, Josette. It’s always good to see you there :)

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