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09 February, 2014

FOSDEM Fourteen FTW!


For last 2 years, I've been trying to attend FOSDEM, and yet each time found myself to be too late in the process to do anything about it. Missed the last year's Firefox OS awesomeness badly, and thus had my reminder set to wake me up when September October ends.

Facts & Figures

The Campus Map of ULB, along with the Dev-Rooms
FOSDEM (Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting) is a developer-centric event, hosted at ULB (loosely translated, Open/Free University of Brussels) that brings together 5000+ geeks from all over the world.

There were quite a few keynotes, main-tracks, and along with that 33 Dev-Rooms - that is project specific focus groups, each diving deep into their topics in separate auditoriums. The entry is walk-in, until/unless the room is full. The event in itself is free of any registration, or other charges.

Mozilla had the Dev-Room UD2.218A on Saturday, and there were 16 awesome talks in total.
You can get more details about FOSDEM from the official source.

FOSS Factions

Rats, I've never missed my red-fedora so damn much... should definitely have brought it. The place is literally swarming with Red Hatters - with the literal meaning of the word literally.

Along side of that, from Mozilla, Wikimedia, Python, Perl, KDE, Gnome, ElasticSearch... to even the Tor project - who wasn't there?!? For the open source enthusiasts, it's THE place to be.

Clarista introducing me making me hide under the podium.
One of these days, I'll start trying to live upto that introduction.

Fuming Fiery Feat

I had a talk on "JavaScript for the Skeptics" in the Mozilla Dev-Room. It's not a Knowledge Transfer, magic show, or a crash course on anything. In front of the FOSDEM audience, I wouldn't dare to pitch myself to be capable of doing that... no.

So my idea was, to give a retrospective & a fresh new perspective on applied JS; also to ring the doorbell of "Worse is Better vs The Right Thing" and run away.

In this year's FOSDEM, JavaScript talks were overly crowded in general, and so was my talk. There had to be a "Room is Full" board put in front of the room even before I got on the stage. I didn't quite notice that I've been speaking in front of 500 who's-who, until the Q&A started - when I suddenly got a quite noticeable cold-feet.

As a speaker, I've tried best to work on the problems I had. Many fixed, some still there. If you're a budding speaker as well - here's the recording, watch this - it may help you:

Fun Factors

  • I dashed around & collected goodies like there's no tomorrow.
  • I often got into conversations, and talked to so many folks from different projects
  • Often those chats took way more than 2 minutes, without me having urge to run away.
  • I said to myself "WHOA!" quite a couple of times, for various reasons.
  • I traveled in bus of Brussels, but the FOSDEM-route felt no different than that in Kolkata.
  • I, along with Sayak, often gotten into Ingress dog-fights with local Resistance agents.
  • I've had beers at the signature spots in Brussels - including, but not limited to - The Delirium Cafe, À la Mort Subite, Le Grand Café et al.

And of course I've taken a hell lot of pictures... check them out from my FOSDEM'14 Flickr set, or maybe just play this slideshow:


Thanks a lot to Brian, Clarista, Benoit and all who actively helped make Mozillians' participation in FOSDEM such a memorable event - I give up on listing all the reasons why. Special thanks to Ziggy & Francisco, for the great job behind the camera, all day long! Thanks to all the Mozillians managing the Mozilla booth, and thanks FOSDEM.


  1. I saw your talk today. Quite impressive. Thanks for the insights. :)