This post is mere for myself. I tried to plan ahead of what I want to do at FOSDEM this year. With the option, that I might skip some of the talks for talking with people I so far had relationships with online. In that case, this post serves as a reminder, which talks I want to watch recordings of. Expect updates every now and then.

Without further ado, here we go!


On my day of arrival I noticed, that there was no snow this year. Like, not at all. Tweeting about this I received a reply that it was meant to rain this weekend.

Of course I forget an umbrella at home.

On the hunt for pralines

But not also that, I also promised to bring pralines. So I looked for a shop which opened earlier than 9 o'clock. Not easy in Brussels, but OpenStreetMap said, there was one two streets away. I went there. Lights on. But door closed. No clerk whatsoever.

Okay, then try to find that street corner, which is shown on Wikipedia for having a comic scene on the wall.

I put the phone in the bag because of the rain. And got lost. In the end I piqued a tram to make it on time to the ULB.

Arriving at ULB

What's the first thing you do after arriving at FOSDEM? Correct! Lining up for a hoodie or shirt (or both). They are sold in no time, but I got lucky. Early birds will encounter a short queue.

Looking around for the O'Reilly booth I found … nothing. (In some break in between I got a Belgian comic from the University's bookstore).

Instead the job board was a bit more elaborate than usual. Since I am on the lookout at the moment I grabbed some of them.

The doors connecting building H and Janson were locked, so I took a detour to start my conference watching marathon.

Below you'll find my list of talks I either planned to attend or watch afterwards. Actually I skipped some of them in order to meet with friends like Andre Garzia. I couldn't find all of them and some even stayed only for Saturday. But I guess, there's another FOSDEM coming next year, eh?

Next to talks, the booths constitute the face of FOSDEM. I'm always confused, where certain ones are because it changes from year to year. Perhaps it depends on the order of registration?

I found the regular suspects like KDE, GNOME, CentOS and Gentoo but also some new ones. Since the stickers aren't updated every so often I did not grabbed much. During the day, someone mentioned, that there are umbrellas at the PostgreSQL booth. So I went there and bought one. Plus a plush elephant because awwww!

On my way there I also saw a booth of Susi.AI having some programmable LED badges. I got one, but now wonder, whether they contain spyware. Anyway, the member there informed me, that the app on F-Droid may be buggy. Let's see…

I met Andre in the afternoon and skipped every talk afterwards in order to seize the opportunity at max :-)

Afterwards I was stumbling to Brussels to find a place selling pralines. When I finally got some, it was so late, so I went back to my hostel.

Attended talks

Welcome to FOSDEM 2020

This is the opening keynote taking place on Saturday. It took place 9:30 - 9:55.

It was my first time I was able to attend the opening keynote, because normally I either arrived to late in Brussels or had some delay with the public transport. In the end, it just summarises the rules which govern the conference. I think, I'll skip it next year.

Threat Modelling for Developers

It took place 10:30 - 10:55.

I'm interested in how to write better code. In this case, more secure code. However, since the talk was full of UML diagrams, I'm rather buying a copy of a book by Bruce Schneier on the topic.

It is important, but I lacked the background to take away much from the talk.

DEBATE: Should FOSS licenses be enforced at all?

It took place 11:00 - 11:50.

I was expecting something akin to the ActivityPub panel of previous year, but got really disappointed.

First, no slides. Not even with the question and format! Then, audience was asked to „shout the speaker down“ with applause when time limit was reached. Third, the quality of the speaker fell quite apart. Some where hardly recognisable, because of mumbling.

Hopefully they came up with some improvements. Otherwise I'll skip those next time.

What's in my food ? Open Food Facts, the Wikipedia of Food

It took place 12:40 - 12:55.

I recently downloaded the app and was a bit puzzled, because I couldn't enter data like in OpenStreetMap. Turned out, that this was considered an advance mode :-)

AMENDMENT Weblate: open-source continuous localization platform

It took place 13:40 - 13:55.

Basically like Transifex, from what I can say after a quick look. But they're on the sweet spot between Django and JavaScript, which I find exciting personally.

Also, I have some experience with software translation, so I might contribute here.

DEBATE: The 4 Freedoms and OSD are outdated and no longer relevant in 2020

It took place 14:00 - 14:50.

Another debate. The audio quality was a bit more entertaining and the speakers more entertaining, but the person I wanted to see didn't show up.

Protecting plaintext secrets in configuration files

It took place 15:00 - 15:25.

Basically prefer environment variables over plain text values. Store those values in a Vault to secure them.

Quite disappointing. Nothing new to me since I worked on Heroku.

Watched talks

To be filled.

Talks to watch

Building a distributed knowledge base with a Linked Data powered CMS

This talk took place 10:30 - 10:55.

I'm interested in Linked Data since the announcement of SoLiD by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Before that, distributed techniques piqued my interest.

I'll update this section once I watched the record.

Improving the culture of automated testing in FOSS

This talk took place 10:30 - 11:00.

I'm quality-oriented, so I write tests. Since there are different levels of tests (also known as [Test Pyramid][test-pyramid]), I want to learn more about how to write resilient code.

I'll update this section once I watched the record.

Integrating Julius Speech Recognition Engine

This talk took place 10:30 - 10:55.

Voice UI are becoming more and more important. There are different approaches to handle the input, so I'm curious to learn more about it.

When picking this talk, I confused it with the Julia Programming Language.

I'll update this section once I watched the record.

Technology challenges for privacy: the case of decentralized social media

This talk took place 10:35 - 11:00.

I feel, that we need to reign on our data. One solution can be decentralisation. But it is not easy, so we should exchange our gained experiences on the matter.

I'll update this section once I watched the record.

Civil society needs Free Software hackers

This talk took place 12:00 - 12:15.

Since an EasterHegg in my town I started thinking about how to use my knowledge for good. I hope to get some more ideas from this talk.

Why is Django 3.0 a revolution for building websites with Python?

This talk took place 12:00 - 12:25.

I used Django 1.7 back in the days and would like to get an update.

Freedom and AI: Can Free Software include ethical AI systems?

This talk took place 13:00 - 13:50.

AI is deployed more and more. It is a field, where I could apply some of my studies, I think. But I'm deeply worried and would like to share my thoughts.

Web3 - the Internet of Freedom, Value, and Trust

This talk took place 13:00 - 13:15.

I'm currently all in with IndieWeb, since I learnt about it! Before, I was eager to use microformats2, because it is community-driven. To me, it is about reclaim the power, we as tech community have.

Discover Static Code Analysis in Python with Coala Framework

This talk took place 13:00 - 13:25.

Static Code Analysis can have some advantages. Take the raise of TypeScript for example. I'm eager to learn, what Python has to offer in this regard.

Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research

This talk took place 13:00 - 13:30.

I've learned about Frictionless Data via OpenKnowledge Foundation. Since I'm out of academia, I don't have direct use for it. However, I can imagine, it might help in Data Science.

AMENDMENT Designing for Failure

This talk took place 13:00 - 13:25.

I'd like to write better code. Code, which can handle outages and other failures. So let's see, what I should keep in mind.

Decentralized collaborative applications

This talk took place 14:00 - 14:25.

I'm interested in getting more into DWeb.

FOSS Virtual & Augmented Reality

This talk took place 14:00 - 14:55.

I played around with Aframe in the browser and found the Python AR project really interesting. So there's something sitting halfbaked on my website, where I could apply lessons learned here.

Asyncio: understanding async and await in Python

This talk took place 14:30 - 14:55.

I'm happy to see async coming to Python! For me as JavaScript developer, it is common since a while.

Encrypt your collaboration with CryptPad

This talk took place 14:40 - 14:55.

My party is using EtherPads resp. its successor since a while. Likely good to know how to secure it.

Protect your data objects, not your network connections

This talk took place 15:00 - 15:15.

Another talk I hope makes me a better engineer.

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

This talk took place 15:00 - 15:35.

I've heard of Boomerang.js since a while. This talk could help me apply it to other areas like Web Analytics.

One test output format to unite them all

This talk took place 15:00 - 15:30.

Basically I'm curious what the difference is to the Test Anything Protocol.

Introduction to Reactive Programming with RxPY

This talk took place 15:30 - 15:55.

I haven't grokked RxJS and now it's coming to Python. Great!

Metrics and models for Web performance evaluation

This talk took place 15:40 - 16:15.

Performance matters. But measuring can skew the results, so better learn how to get it right.

The Neo4j Graph Algorithms Library: An Overview

This talk took place 15:50 - 16:15.

I'm interested in Graph databases since a while. But they don't seem too popular for some reason.

Lexemes in Wikidata

This talk took place 16:00 - 16:30.

I heard about Lexemes once I attended a Wikimedia event close by. It could come in handy with some projects I have in mind.

Comparing dependency management issues across packaging ecosystems

This talk took place 16:00 - 16:30.

Similiar to package management, dependency management is tricky. So … fascinating. Let's learn more about it!

DEBATE: Does FOSS need sustainability?

This talk took place 16:00 - 16:50.

This seemed to be one of the big topics at FOSDEM this year. Hopefully, the format got better over the course of the day.

Building Confidence & Overcoming Insecurity

This talk took place 16:30 - 17:00.

Personally, I find security challenging, because you have to defend on my fronts, while an attacker just need to find one loophole. So better learn what to watch out for.

AMENDMENT Weblate! Localize your project the developer way: continously, flawlessly, community driven, and open-source

This talk took place 17:00 - 18:00.

When translating software, there are some things to think about. Basically, the process once the text leaves your application. I've seen different approaches, but most of them painful.

Precise, cross-project code navigation at GitHub scale

This talk took place 17:00 - 17:30.

Since I plan to build my own git web UI, I'm willing to learn, what GitHub did here. Perhaps I want to adapt it?

Monads in Python: why and how?

This talk took place 17:00 - 17:25.

Monads are a concept of functional programming. Personally, I find it not that easy in Python as compared to JavaScript. But perhaps, there's a neat trick I just haven't heard of.

The pool next to the ocean: How to bring OpenSource skills to more people

This talk took place 17:40 - 17:55.

Innersourcing means to bring OpenSource principles into companies. Not as easy as you might think, because it deals with humans.

Thoth - a recommendation engine for Python applications

This talk took place 18:00 - 18:25.

Recommendation engines don't sound too hard. I'm curious, whether they are.

What you most likely did not know about sudo…

This talk took place 18:00 - 18:25.

I'm a GNU/Linux user since years, but have so much more to learn here.

Poio Predictive Text

This talk took place 18:30 - 19:00.

I'm interested in both, Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Generation since a hackathon in Node.js.

Package managers: resolve differences

This talk took place 18:00 - 18:45.

I have worked with different package managers (npm, pip, gem, composer) and would like to see knowledge exchanged.