Written in 2020-02, published in 2020-06

This post is about attending FOSDEM 2020.


FOSDEM is the free open-source developer european meetup, which occurs every year, at Université libre de Bruxelles.



Absolutely fantastic hole in the wall Lebanese place, which I couldn’t find on Open Street Map. Look for Ali Baba on Rue Paul Devaux, near Rue des Poissioniers.

Belgian convenience store beers in our weirdly decadent flat. We managed to find some additional FOSDEM friends on the way back.


Somewhat hungover from the night before, we procrastinated a little, made breakfast in our flat, and then headed over to the venue, rather late.

Over Twenty Years of Automation

Over Twenty Years of Automation was a talk within the history track, which looked very promising.

The actual talk did not live up to expectations, mainly because the description and track misrepresented the content. I was expecting, like many FOSDEM history talks, a nostalgia filled, timeline overview of the topic, with added trivia and misc anecdotes.

Instead, the speaker presented their own nascent configuration management tool mgmtconfig, which seems to be an interesting piece of tech.

The talk was plagued by microphone technical difficulties, which were fixed in later sessions.

Analyzing DPDK applications with eBPF

Analyzing DPDK applications with eBPF looked very interesting, and was well attended. The room was full when I arrived, so I watched it online.

XDP and page_pool API

XDP and page_pool API was a very technical talk, which was presented at pace.

I was unfamiliar with some of the mechanisms in the kernel which were brought up during this talk. It was informative and highlighted how flexible the linux networking stack is, and how well abstracted it is during my day-to-day work.

Weave Net, an open source container network

Weave Net, an open source container network was presented in very good contrast to the previous talk (conducted in the same devroom: Software Defined Networking).

The speaker lucidly presented the last 5 years of software development in Weave Net, an outline of the problem space, and detailed some aspects of the software architecture which make the software reliable.

Generation gaps

Generation gaps was a talk in the history track, presented in Janson (the biggest room). Liam Proven outlined the history of the computer market.

The key point, demonstrated several times with practical examples, was the computer industry constantly (but partially) re-inventing the computer, computers had to become dumber to become cheaper, which was the driving force for market expansion.

The examination of “lost histories” is always engaging, whether the histories are relevant to software or not. I couldn’t help but to think of China Miéville’s railway yard metaphor his book “October”.

Liam’s prediction for the future was predicated on stateful CPU addressable storage allowing the computer industry to throw out the primary/secondary stateful model which is currently ubiquitous. Whether this becomes relevant in the era of cloud computing is unknown, or whether it will lead to a further bifurcation between consumer computing devices and industrial computing.

HTTP/3 for everyone

HTTP/3 for everyone packed Janson to the brim as Daniel Stenberg, the author of curl, gave an overview and roadmap of HTTP/3.

HTTP/3 is a large re-engineering project with almost universal buy-in from the large corporations who run the internet. The new specification is the most recent update since HTTP/2 in 2015, and HTTP/1.1 in 1997; HTTP/3 is arguably the most ambitious, replacing the current transport protocol TCP with UDP.

I would highly recommend Daniel’s talk, it was amusing and informative.

La Porte Noir

My third FOSDEM, my third year ending up in La Porte Noir.


From a Pipeline to a Government Cloud

I had the privilege of being able to talk at FOSDEM in the continuous integration and continuous delivery devroom.

My talk’s event page has details, slides, and a recording.

A reminder to my future self, bring an adapter so you don’t have to play hide and seek with AV equipment.

Other Sunday talks

I did not take many notes on Sunday as I was not able to concentrate, being slightly nervous about giving a talk.

The talks I did attend:


I hope to attend FOSDEM next year, hopefully the current pandemic does not creep into 2021.