FOSDEM is one of the biggest conferences about Free and Open Source Software. Well, strictly speaking, it's not (only) a conference though, but acts as a platform for contributors and users of OSS projects to exchange ideas, share insights and socialize. This year was my first time at FOSDEM and it was an inspiring experience.
First Dinner, then Delirium
Friday evening started off with a FLOSS dinner in a nice restaurant in downtown Brussels. We've been about 40 people who met for discussing Open Source topics, camaraderie and of course, a nice dinner. Karsten and I got the chance to talk with Rich Sands (ohloh.net) and some folks from the Gnome project. Cat Allman picked up the bill (thanks Google!) and led us to the Delirium bar where the traditional FOSDEM beer event took place.
More PHP and Spreading the Word
This year's FOSDEM was the first which featured a dedicated PHP devroom with a track of talks curated by Michael Mclean and Lorna Jane. My talk was titled "TYPO3 Flow and the Joy of Development" and was a sprint through Flow's key features by various code examples. The session was well received and I could talk about TYPO3, Flow and Neos with a couple of guys later on.
On the same day we also met with Lukas Smith (Symfony) and Johan Janssens (co-founder of Joomla) to discuss phpCR, frameworks, design patterns and in general the further development of the PHP project. As always, it was a great opportunity to cultivate cross-project communication.
We were mostly busy talking to folks (like Henri Bergius from The Midgard Project / createJS) and drinking coffee (proper espresso machine + barista!) so we missed most of the talks. One talk we could attend though, was Donnie Berkholz' "Assholes are killing your project". Certainly, a provocative title, but yet an informed talk about a serious problem. I heartily recommend watching Donnie's talk and checking out the slides.
Community and TYPO3 Backstage
Karsten and me weren't the only one representing TYPO3 at FOSDEM. Ben hung out most of the time in the new community dev room getting the latest update son the toolset of a community manager and talking with his peers of other projects.
Steffen Gebert and Oliver Hader were our missionaries for TYPO3 CMS. Steffen delivered a great performance with his two talks about the TYPO3 infrastructure and how we use Gerrit.
We had a nice dinner with Olly, Steffen, Ben and some surprise-guests: although Andy Grunwald and Christian Trabold are not working with TYPO3 in their regular jobs anymore, they are still passionate for the project. So we conspired for big plans for a package repository user interface with all bells and whistles …
There are these two types of events which are critical for Open Source projects: conferences for sharing knowledge and promoting your products and meet ups (like FOSDEM or the TYPO3 Developer Days) for getting in touch with the people. Developing a cool product is only half of the story. You need to get in touch with the users and members of other communities to make it sustainable and don't miss the connection.
The preparation for this conference and the three days we spent with it went on our own account. Karsten and me are very happy that Beech IT sponsored our travel costs and accommodation. How about you helping someone next time he or she goes out to promote TYPO3 and nurtures relations with other projects? Be it through encouragement or sponsorships - you can be sure that any acknowledgment is appreciated.