Sunday, February 07, 2010


Today I visited FOSDEM 2010, hosted at ULB in Brussels. It was a long day, but very interesting and rewarding. This is an overview of the talks and events I attended :

  • State of phpMyAdmin : overview of what phpMyAdmin is and what features will be included in the 3.3 release. Nice talk, good speaker, perfect to start the day with.
  • AHAH crash course : Matthias Vandermaesen, aka Netsensei, did this talk and announced on his blog that it would be a difficult subject.
    He was right : I managed to understand the major concepts - it's a bit like AJAX, but then with HTML being sent by the server instead of XML that is parsed by JavaScript in the browser - but some things I didn't grasp fully (mainly the actual implementation in Drupal).
    This was probably due to me not being up to speed with the Drupal API (but that will change soon, now that I'm starting to develop my department's website in Drupal), being the first time I heard about AHAH and the many interruptions of people who walked into the room during the talk.
    In the end I think Matthias did a good job, and it was nice to see him in real life for the first time. Until now I've only communicated with him by mail and other electronic means.
  • Tor: Building, Growing, and Extending Online Anonymity : A talk about the current status of the Tor-project and why you should use it (and stay anonymous when using internet).
  • Keysigning Party : Summary : about 150 people checking each others identity, during 1,5 hours in two rotating lines, outside in the cold, in front of the main building. Goal : expanding the GnuPG Web of Trust.
    Funny experience I must say. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer next time.
  • Apache Hadoop : Very interesting presentation about processing large datasets.
  • Scaling Facebook with OpenSource tools : Basically an overview of all OpenSource tools (MySQL, PHP, memcached, ...) and technology that are used to make Facebook work. And what they have improved about it, what they've created themself (HipHop, Hive, Thrift, Haystack, ...) and how they returned it to the community. Very informative.
  • Debian Secrets: power tools for power users : A talk mainly about tools to make your life easier when installing and deploying packages. The auditorium was packed, good speaker.
  • Write and Submit your first Linux kernel Patch : The last talk of my day and effectively the last talk of FOSDEM edition 2010. Greg Kroah-Hartman was very good speaker and showed during the talk how to make a small change in kernel sourcecode and submit it as a patch. He showed how easy it is and send us home with the message we were now all capable of doing it ourself. :)
I'm glad I went, I learned some new things and was quite amazed by the number of people that were present. Unfortunately there were some talks I couldn't go to, because they overlapped with others. But I'm sure I'll learn more about those topics in the future.
I'm already looking forward to next year's edition. But for now I'll have to finish signing some keys.