AWS Open Source Blog

FOSDEM: Kicking Off 2018 With Europe’s Largest FOSS Event

by Shirley Bailes and Alolita Sharma | on | in Open Source | Permalink | Comments |  Share


FOSDEM is an annual free and open source conference for the software developer community. It’s managed by scores of volunteers and open source community members, and entirely free to attend. Every year, thousands of developers from all over the world head to Brussels, Belgium in droves to connect, share ideas, and collaborate. This year was no different. FOSDEM had more than 8,000 developers, almost 700 sessions, and hundreds of open source projects participate across the span of two days at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solbosch Campus.

Engaging with the community at the largest European FOSS event is a great way to celebrate 20 years of open source. We were happy to sponsor FOSDEM 2018, and to support the event. Open source contributors across AWS participated in several technical, public policy, and community sessions around key projects. Other main conference tracks covered performance, Python, security and encryption, and space.

The Community devroom had 16 excellent speakers on topics ranging from open source in government to technical writing for non-writers. It was a full day of great sessions and was standing room only, with people lining up outside and down the stairwell waiting to get in. Many of the technical sessions were full. There were devrooms for Go, containers, virtualization, monitoring and cloud, MySQL, open source design, and IoT – all with long lines of folks waiting patiently for the next session.

The hallway track was energized and buzzing. It was jam-packed with software developers, community cat herders, and policy activists having lively discussions around their favorite FOSS topics. Large foundations and projects like Apache (ASF), Mozilla, Python Software Foundation (PSF), Fedora, KDE, as well as companies supporting FOSS were present. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) celebrated their 20th anniversary at FOSDEM with sessions on the evolution of open source and well wishes from the community. The Community devroom attendees even sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to open source during one of the sessions!

It felt like a couple of months of FOSS thinking, with topics ranging from tech to community to policy, crammed into a couple of days of intense and fun participation. Our team came back energized, exhausted, and charged with ideas and inspiration from the packed sessions in the developer rooms, tracks, and keynotes. If you missed being there in person, the FOSDEM team did a marvelous job of organizing the event and recording the content in each of the tracks. You’ll find a breakdown of recorded sessions at and on their YouTube account. Start planning for 2019, and we hope to see you there!

Photo attribution: Eduard Moraru, @Enygma2002

Shirley Bailes

Shirley Bailes

Shirley leads Open Source Events and Community @AWSOpen. Cat-herder, speaker trainer, event producer, pork belly enthusiast, and an undercover interior designer. She manages key events like FOSDEM and OSCON for AWS, and volunteers at annual events like RailsConf, EmberConf, and RubyConf.

Alolita Sharma

Alolita Sharma

Alolita Sharma is a Principal Technologist at AWS. She's an expert in internationalization and applying deep learning for natural language processing. She has led several engineering projects and teams at PayPal, Twitter, Wikipedia and IBM. She serves on the board of Unicode Consortium, is an invited expert on W3C and ECMA workgroups and has been on the board of the Open Source Initiative. She speaks internationally on open source, innersource, web and language technologies, deep learning and open standards such as Unicode. You can reach her on Twitter @alolita.