layout: post title: FOSDEM attendees and European hacker culture created: 1141163565 categories:

A little more personal pointer to the people at FOSDEM. It was nice to see O'Reilly as the major sponsor. The bookstore was hot, with people agonizing over just how many dozens of books they should buy. In many ways (as indicated by the full name -- Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting), the attendees are the core audience for O'Reily's books. OSCON, on the other hand, tends to be priced out of reach of the mainly grassroots, non-commercial hacker culture in Europe (aside from being accepted as a speaker).

Some of the usual European suspects were there -- Ralph and Edwin (wow -- Edwin did some Englsh blog posts Day 0/1, Day 2), and I did see Gerv off in the distance although I didn't end up talking to him directly. I also met Christ, who came with Ralph and Edwin (and yes, that name will be funny to native English speakers).

Geo Dan came along to experience the uniquely European hacker experience that is FOSDEM, along with the infamous Ivan with whom I had many great talks about architecture and culture as well as a fantastic dining experience. Andy brought an Amsterdam crew (Gijs, Marco, Nadya) and talked about Flock and I stole the wonderful Nadya's scarf.

Back to culture. The stat I hear floating around is that 80% of open source developers are based in Europe (with India and other parts of South East Asia gaining fast, I'm sure). And many of these are the passionate anarchists who believe in free information, are against software patents, and generally are part of the fuel that make open source work. But the disconnect is that there are very few in between people that can explain the concepts of open source to middle management and big business. So, talented developers who stay in Europe do what they can to integrate open source into their day jobs or academic research.

I'm hoping that the EuroOSCON in September in Brussels will include a venue for open source projects. Right now I have to signup for an O'Reilly account before I can even subscribe to the EuroOSCON newsletter -- the only interactive way to receive notices. Please -- cross post newsletter items to a blog for easier interaction!

Some point form FOSDEM feedback:

Organizing a free conference is a lot of work. Congrats to the organizers for the attendance, I'm looking forward to next year.