Aberystwyth Chapter - FOSDEM 2017 Trip

Back in February, the Aberystwyth Chapter packed their bags and departed for the University of Brussels for FOSDEM, its annual event. The Chapter’s Publicity Officer, Aidan Hogden provided the following write up.

‘FOSDEM is over, Waffles have been eaten, laptops shut down and everyone has learnt something new about Computer Science.

Free and open source software developers' European meeting (FOSDEM) Banner

FOSDEM very quickly for those unaware is the Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting and is held yearly at the University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles) over two days, is completely free and is organized, ran and attended by the open source community. Anyone is able to attend with no fee or registration and the event has over 600 speakers, devrooms and lightning talks to view.

Thursday 2nd was the beginning of AberCompSoc's journey to FOSDEM and it was a great success with everything going as planned trip wise. The journey started with a train from Aberystwyth to Manchester Airport (no short trip In and of itself) followed by a long wait for our flight to Brussels. Once arriving it was all trains (or trams) all the time until our flight back. But before that we had some talks to attend.

Over the next two days we saw many talks ranging from Drones with Loco Positioning Systems, to Smart Grid Platforms, and to Gravimetric Phenotyping Systems the latter being a talk given by Aberystwyth's Nathan Hughes. There was a wonderful array of stands from groups such as CentOS, Mozilla, Python, oreilly, and Google to name but a few. Plenty gave out free stickers, bits and bobs and some even gave out scarves! You had to be quick to claim them though because around 9,000 people attended FOSDEM this year, meaning for many talks you would have to que up hoping to get it!

Major highlights for me included the Mozilla talk on the Copyright Campaign in Europe by Raegan MacDonald talking about how technology has outpaced the laws that govern them and how serious reform is needed, a talk on Quantum Computing by Andrew Savchenko about whether Quantum Computing could pose a threat to existing Crypto solutions, and Project Lighthouse by David Teller focusing on small, low cost IoT devices that can help blind people in their day to day life.

FOSDEM Lecture

It's a shame the event only runs for a weekend as the days are packed with more talks than one could attend in a month it seems, and for the many who attended the nights after FOSDEM involved exploring the lovely city that is Brussels and eating more waffles and drinking many beers with an AberCompSoc favourite being the Delirium Café with more than 3,000 beers to try! Sunday ended with AberCompSoc volunteering to help clean the University and pack up the FOSDEM equipment that had let the event run so smoothly and it was ended by a lovely meal for the Volunteers to thank them for the work they had done in making the event run smoothly and efficiently.

FOSDEM Meal

All in all FOSDEM was a great trip and event, it was fun to see the lovely city of Brussels as well. It involved very interesting talks all round with something for everyone to see, it ran without a hitch, had an abundance of stalls to visit and was overall just an amazing time. If you didn't get a chance to make it you can always catch up on the videos of said talks that are posted online on the FOSDEM site.

Please consider donating or volunteering for FOSDEM as it is a great event and couldn't be done without the help and funding of people like you and me.’

Ice cream and waffles

BCS sponsored the Chapters’ trip, providing funding towards travel. The next FOSDEM will take place in February 2018, for more information on the conference, please visit fosdem.org.