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Chocolates and Conversations at FOSDEM 2018

Last year Kopano attended FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers Europe Meetup) for the first time. Some of the developers working for Kopano had visited FOSDEM many times before – sometimes even spreading some Kopano love – but FOSDEM’17 was the first time they manned a stand to show off our code, projects, applications and chocolates. Looking back on it, we think it was a great success and we learned a lot (you can never bring enough promotion material for example).

So when we were invited back for FOSDEM’18 we were really excited. Not only because we could meet a huge number of open source developers, but also because we had many new and interesting things to share: new projects, improved features, faster software, cleaner UI’s, our now famous chocolates and much more.

Arriving Friday-night in the city of Brussels, we checked in to the hotel, got a quick bite and joined the pre-conference party – already on its way for quite a while – in the alley of cafe Delirium. The evening turned into a very late night where we met a lot of people from other projects, most of them returning to FOSDEM for the nth time.


Day One: Developer Avalanche

Saturday we arrived at FOSDEM early to prepare for the avalanche of developers that would inevitably roll over the university campus. After setting up the stand, getting some coffee (this took a while), and laying out the chocolates we were ready.

It didn’t take long for first people to join us at the stand, and not much later the halls were filled with developers, friends of open source and all other kinds of interested visitors. A few members of the Kopano team took some time to walk around and hand out branded chocolates to friends and neighbours like Debian, CentOS, Fedora, Mozilla, OwnCloud and NextCloud. The rest of us were kept busy showcasing our product suite, explaining why we use certain (coding)-languages and answering a ton of questions. I managed to sneak out for a single talk on Package quality assurance, and even though this was a very interesting talk, I wish I could have seen more. Luckily the weekend was not over yet.

After wrapping up we headed out for the next event planned for this weekend, namely the LibreOffice Social Dinner. The very kind people of LibreOffice had opened up their space and invited everyone who wanted to join their dinner. Due to the high number of Italians organizing and attending, we were served a very lovely assortment of pasta-based dishes. It was nice to see people from different projects having drinks together, talking about the current state of open source, discussing the future of online collaborative document editing, and many other things.

After the dinner we went back to the hotel to rest up for the second day of FOSDEM.

Day Two: Talking to Open Source Friends

Sunday turned out to be a bit quieter than Saturday (just like the year before), but we still had enough to do at the stand. People who heard we had chocolates with their logos on it dropped by to try them, and while they were eating the chocolate, we gave more live demos and talked about our current goals and future projects. The chocolates also brought some friends from different distribution communities to our table, like Markus Feilner from SUSE.

In the afternoon I had some time to explore the campus and I joined in a very interesting Rust-talk on “the dream of automatically fixing compiler errors”. Hopefully, this won’t evolve too fast or everyone at FOSDEM will be out of a job. At the end of the day our own Michael Kromer also gave a great talk on (open-source) communities and business.


A Big Thank You to the FOSDEM Team!

I’d like to close this blog by thanking everyone who makes FOSDEM possible. I’ve talked a few of you, have seen some of you running around making sure everything is working smoothly, I’ve also seen some tweets of what is happening behind the screens, and I think it’s a huge statement and compliment to the open source community that this event is organized every year by such an amazing group of people.

We will definitely see you there next year!


– Joost Hopmans