4 Mar 2006
(updated 4 Mar 2006 at 11:38 UTC) »
This year, the days before FOSDEM were the stressful ones, as I got to organize
accomodation. Initially, we wanted to have similar appartments as last year,
but by the time I was less busy at uni to actually look into it, most of them
were already booked, so we had to put up with a youth hostel instead. The
positive sides of this were the much lower expenses and a location in the city
centre, making us actually look at Bruxelles a bit in detail this time.
"Us" were the Hurd people, including Martin "earliest Hurd adopter present"
Michlmayr. I got to FOSDEM by car again, picking up Marcus Brinkmann, Neal
Walfield and Olaf Buddenhagen on the way in Cologne. Finding the youth hostel
seemed to be pretty hard as we just had a street address and a map without
street names, but we managed to find it pretty quickly to my great surprise
(driving around in Bruxelles usually ended up being a complete disaster over the
last years). After a strange encounter with a Guillem Jover lookalike in front
of the hostel, we met the other guys (Thomas Schwinge, Marco Gerards, Stefan
Siegl and Ognyan Kulev) and had a discussion about Neal's and Marcus' plan to
move to a persistent system.
After dinner, I met the other Debian people in the Roi d'Espagne and hat some
longer chats with Jeroen van Wolffelaar, Rob Bradford, Martin Michlmayr and Jordi Mallach, who I finally met for the first time and who did not cop out of FOSDEM this year as usual... The pub is getting more
and more crowded each year, all the hackers barely fit even though they opened the balustrade this time as well. It was great to see everybody again and have a few beers. Martin and
I then managed to find the way back to the hostel by foot.
We had no developer room, and no talks in the Debian room either, so FOSDEM was
a pretty relaxed event this year. I met some more familiar faces like Noel
Koethe and Andreas Mueller and listened to a couple of talks, most notably
Richard Stallman's and Jeff Waugh's keynotes and Hanna Wallach's talk about
FLOSSPOLS. Stefan Siegl also managed to get GNU Mach working for both my 3Com
PCMCIA NIC and my Orinoco PCMCIA WLAN card, confirming his title as Hurd "hacker
of the month".
On Saturday evening, we (at this time, Guillem Jover, Gianluca Guida, Bas Wijnen
and Jeroen Dekkers had joined) had dinner with the french Hurd guys (Manuel
Menal, Marc Dequenes, Richard Braun, Arnaud Fontaine and others) in an italian
restaurant. At 10:40 PM, the waiter told us in a rather unfriendly tone that
they would close at 11 and presented us with the bill, along with handing out
the menu again so that we could look up our share. By the time the bill arrived
the french part of the table (at 10:55 PM), the guys were pretty surprised by
this whole business and complained loudly that they did not have a dessert yet
and insistent on having one. After some more minutes of discussion, the waiter
gave in and served their desserts, after which each of them paid his share with
his carte bleue. I believe we left the restaurant around 11:30.
On Sunday evening, we had dinner again (the french guys had left Bruxelles
already) and then drove back to Germany after having desserts and coffee in a
bar. We left Bruxelles at around midnight and arrived in Duesseldorf at 2:30
PM, so we were glad that Neal offered us to stay at his place. We had breakfast
the next morning with him and Isabel and then I proceeded to drive back to
Frankfurt in the early afternoon.
FOSDEM rocked, as usual. After being with the Debian crowd for the first three
years or so, and mostly sticking with the Hurd crowd last year, I think I
managed a pretty good balance between the two this year. This will not have
been my last FOSDEM.