It’s been a week now since I took my plane from Brussels back to Austria, but since I’ve been on holiday for the rest of last week, my short report on FOSDEM 2010 comes later than it should.
It was my first time at Europe’s biggest Free Software event and I really enjoyed it. Not being a developer myself, I spent most of my FOSDEM time at the FSFE booth. We sold lots of T-Shirts (I also bought some of the new ones myself) and other stuff. We also had a great new tool: an analogue printer (i.e. ball pen). We actually had two versions, which are not yet available from FSFE’s online shop, but should be not too far in the future. Although I didn’t listen to any talks, I learned a lot: I have for example never seen such a professional booth and met so many interesting people in one place. We had interesting discussions on various topics and I also received feedback on different matters, for example regarding the Fellowship.
Of course, I also did a little bit of sightseeing in Brussels. I think it’s an interesting city, although at the moment there are quite a few building sites which confused my GPS navigation a bit :-)
I will definitely come back to Brussels for FOSDEM next year, not only because it’s a great event, but even more because I can again stay with my relatives who I consider some of the greatest people in the world. Maybe my stay will even be longer and include a trip to Paris, as train connection seem to be fast and not too expensive if booked some time it advance.


I know I’m really late with my blog this time, but I finally managed to write about this year’s Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit. I went to Göteborg (I needed some training to pronounce it as the locals do) together with my girlfriend to attend the conference and to do some sight-seeing, which I both enjoyed very much. We arrived on Friday and immediately started to visit some really interesting places, like the Natural History Museum and the christmas market at the Liseberg amusement park. In the evening we went to the IT university, where the conference took place.
I immediately felt comfortable there, because everyone there seemed be very pleased to meet us (and everybody else who arrived). It was really nice to finally meet at least some of the people whom I’ve been working with for quite some time now. As there have already been some reports on FSFE’s activities at FSCONS and how many intersting discussions we had there, so I will keep this short. I think this conference was the best-organised conference I have attended so far and everyone was really trying to his best to make it a perfect event – and in my humble opinion the FSCONS organizers and volunteers succeeded in their efforts. FSFE was presented really well and we got a lot of (positive as well as negative) feedback on different topics (like the Fellowship and others), which I think is very important so we can improve our work and continue to spread the work about Free Software and all the other things we are working on.
My main reason to attend the conference was of course my OpenPGP card workshop which I plan to have again in the future. I think it was well visited (I never expected to have ten visitors or even more at 0900 in the morning) and I had some interesting conversations about the workshop and GnuPG and data security in general after it. Of course we also did some key signing there to strengthen the web of trust. Another noteworthy thing is that Adriaan started a very promising artistic career at FSCONS that will hopefully lead to recognition of FSFE and its employees outside of the Free Software world (although in the very first peace of art, Adriaan missed out one person ;-).
All in all I really enjoyed my time in Göteborg and will definitely attend FSCONS again if money and time allow it.

Linuxwochen in Krems and Vienna

It’s over! After working four days in a row at the FSFE booths at Linuxwochen (“linux week”) events in Krems and Vienna, Austria, I finally have time to post my first blog, which is about these events (or did you expect anything else?).

The Austrian FSFE coordinaters Georg Kienesberger and Peter Bubestinger took me to Krems on Wednesday, where the local Linuxwochen event took place. We had a booth there and Peter even gave a lecture on how free software enhances the freedom of education. It was quite fun there although we didn’t sell too many shirts or pins. Between the different talks that were held there, it was fun to talk to different teachers who where the target group of this event.

The Linuxwochen event in Vienna started on Thursday and since I was part of the organisation team of this event, it was the first time I came to an event before all of the other FSFE guys :-) Georg came next and we started to arrange the booth, which was a bit difficult since there wasn’t too much space in the room we were in. Nevertheless it was a nice location, because the old rooms in Vienna’s city hall are really nice.

The first day of the event was really funny and quite a few fellows from Vienna showed up. The most important thing for the Vienna Fellowship group was that Reinhard Müller, FSFE’s financial officer, paid us a three day visit, whom we always love to meet. In the evening, we had small party at Vienna’s famous Hackerspace, the Metalab. When Reinhard gave a live performance of his famous “Schnitzelmonster” song and told us the story of it, we couldn’t stop laughing. We continued to sing different (more or less famous) songs since Reinhard showed us his outstanding guitar playing skills. The Metalab guys didn’t like all of the songs we sang, but the didn’t kick us out either, so we contiued our funny little party until we realized that this was very much like different youth camps some of us had attended when they were young. This was the point when a new idea arose: Fellowship camps! I guess most hackers have been confronted with the stereotype of the guy without a girlfriend who hasn’t seen the sun for years or thinks that reality is where the pizza guy comes from. We have to destroy that. So why not make FSFE fellows meet somewhere out in nature, let them hack in the morning and have parties at night (which is a very simplified way of explaining the idea we discussed)? Most of us liked the idea and I hope that some of the few readers of this blog will like it too, so maybe this dream will come true someday. Feel free post comments about how you like this idea!

I had to leave to leave early on Friday, so I can’t tell too much about what happened that day, but from what I heard, there were not as many visitors as expected.

Saturday was the last day of this event, but the day with most Fellows helping us at the booth. Peter and David Ayers gave a lecture on going to the future safely with free software. We also had interesting visitors and a very good time in general. We also fixed differnt computer problems and helped people with their Free Software utilities. I didn’t join the Linuxwochen After Hour that took place at Metalab, since I had to get up early today, but if this event is similar to those of the last years, it must have been really nice. Reinhard left at Saturday night and I’m still unhappy that I didn’t have the time to say good bye. I’m now waving to him across Austria and I hope he had nice journey.

Now I’m looking forward at the Linuxwochen events in Linz and Graz next week, which I will also attend (and maybe even blog about them :-)