I need to confess something. I was surprised to find out how big FOSDEM is. I was aware of its relevance, but seeing it in first person is mind-blowing. This was my first time attending; it won’t be the last.
Traveling from the north of Spain to Brussels means a 7 hours trip, 5 hours of flights in total with 2 hours waiting between flights. I’m used to it at this point. Noise-canceling headphones and a book helped tremendously.
I wasn’t aware of the size of the event yet. While waiting in Madrid for the second flight, I noticed that most people around me were also attending FOSDEM.
Talks and events
Before the event, several people told me that I should only aim to attend some of the talks. Mainly because it’s impossible, the tracks happen simultaneously, and meeting people in 3D is way more important.
I also went to the Fedora contributor dinner with Mikel.
Meeting new people
This was the most important thing on the whole trip. And it’s the saddest part of my job. Even though I’m not the most social animal in the world, I like the people I work with. But we are a fully remote team, and we couldn’t meet for 2 years due to travel restrictions. When I joined almost 4 years ago, I attended my team’s annual gathering. Still, several of the people I work with couldn’t participate.
I hung out with new people, but most of my beers were with those teammates. It is bizarre to talk daily for years with someone through video calls and chats and see them in the flesh for the first time. But those moments were by far the funniest ones.
Also, I had the opportunity to put a face on some people I talk to on public projects. In particular, I enjoyed having dinner with the two maintainers of Delve.
Shower thought: The number of people from relevant projects at FOSDEM was so huge that, luckily, nothing terrible happened. A lot of projects would have suffered a lot.
Reflections and conclusions
What can I say? It was a great experience. A weekend abroad, too many beers, and the opportunity to talk to awesome people. I can’t wait for the next event.
Also, why did I travel with a 15" laptop? My kingdom for an iPad where I can work like a human. I reviewed two packages while waiting in the airport at 4am and answered several emails. Next time, I’ll bring my phone only.