FOSDEM 2014 - Recap

Hey everyone! I know it's been a month since FOSDEM, but university-related stuff and other time consuming activities have prevented me from posting in time. Here lies my (late) FOSDEM review anyway...

So, this year I had the chance to travel to Brussels and attend FOSDEM, one of the largest F/OSS events bringing together around 5000 developers/hackers/geeks from all over the world. Since I started contributing to open source communities back in 2009, I've always wanted to attend FOSDEM but I wasn't actually able to for different reasons; but this year, it was like a dream finally coming true!

Day 0 - Friday 31/Jan/2014
I woke up 5am in the morning (I slept for like only 3 hours that night, ouch) and a good friend of mine gave me a lift to the airport. I took the plane from Samos and within an hour I had reached the Athens International Airport; the bad thing for me was that my connecting flight to Brussels was unfortunately around 7 hours ahead (ouch again). Some time later and while I was wandering around the airport, I accidentally bumped into some fellow Greek friends from other f/oss communities that were attending FOSDEM as well and waiting to board the same plane; I joined them and since then my waiting time passed quickly and in a more pleasant way.

After some time, we all boarded our flight together and reached Brussels airport in the evening. It was then time for the Greek group to split up since we were staying in different hotels. I boarded alone the train going to the Central Station when I was lucky enough again to bump into three fellow Mozillians from the Balkans: Redon, Elio and Ognyan. We four reached our hotel together and checked-in; by that time it was already late in the evening... it was time for the beer event! I spent little time in my room obviously and quickly rushed to Delirium; the place was so overcrowded already! I was so glad to see old faces again and meet some new interesting people... and taste some very nice beers of course!

Day 1 - Saturday 01/Feb/2014
Me and Alfredos (fredy) wanted to get to the venue a bit early in order to set up the Mozilla booth, so we took a taxi from the hotel. There, we brought some fxos hardware with us and along with fellow Mozillians we began setting up our booth; it was ready and rocking just in time for the event! We, the Mozilla Reps, were there to communicate with people, showcase Firefox OS using preview handsets, answer questions and of course promote our mission and our vision for the open web. It was pretty busy that day at our booth. We had a lot people visiting us and I was so happy to witness they seemed enthusiastic about Firefox OS. Those who had seen it the previous year noticed that it's gotten better and faster. Many of them also expressed the wish to purchase such a device in the near future. In general, I think we received some really good feedback about Firefox OS.

People at the Mozilla Dev Room (via Clarista, CC-BY-NC-SA)

That day we also had a dev room dedicated to Mozilla. Mozillians gave a couple of interesting talks on different topics and we had people visiting our room. Those sessions have been recorded and you can find them here.

In the end of the day, we packed our booth stuff and left the venue. We all went back to our hotel and later on we went out for a moz-dinner. Unfortunately I had been completely exhausted that day at the booth, so I had to leave a bit earlier in order to get some rest to cope with the next day.

Day 2 - Sunday 02/Feb/2014
I can recall it was really cold that morning when we were waiting at the bus stop in order to get to the venue. Needless to say the whole bus was filled with FOSDEM attendees. Woah, how many cool people in such a smalll place! Again, once we got there we had to set up our booth from the beginning. Things were pretty much the same as the first day, except that we didn't have a dedicated dev room. That however resulted in having more visitors and our booth getting even busier. Like the previous day, we focused mainly in Firefox OS, presenting it to our visitors and providing a hands-on experience using our handsets. Later we started running out of certain types of swag; in general our swag proved to be very popular and we happily gave away a lot to attendees on both days.

Me & Fredy with the Keons (via Alex Vennos, CC-BY)

Day 3 - Monday 03/Feb/2014
Before heading to the Brussels airport for my return flight, I had some spare time. So I took the opportunity and along with Stephen and Eduardo we went for a little sight-seeing. We stayed in the proximity of just the Grand Place, but still, it was great! In the early evening I reached the Brussels airport and boarded the plane, bumping into some fellow Greeks again. Arrived back to Athens and had to wait again for like 5 hours for my connecting flight to Samos (it's bad because there are no frequent flights from ATH to SMI and vice-versa).

Conclusion
What can I say... I can't find a proper word to describe how unique, awesome and rocking this FOSDEM was to me. It was an extraordinary experience. The only thing that I know is that I'm not missing a single FOSDEM from now on! Take care everyone :)

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