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.