As many other people, this year I attended FOSDEM.
For the ones that might not be familiar with the name, FOSDEM is the biggest free software developers gathering in Europe, happening every year in Brussels, Belgium.
This year I decided to attend again as it is an event I have really enjoyed the last two times I have attended during the past years. As I am currently doing my Outreachy internship I found FOSDEM a very good opportunity to receive some more inspiration. My goal was to come back from this event with some ideas or motivation that would help during the last phases of my internship, as I need to work on documentation and best practices on fundraising. I also wanted to meet in person the people that I have worked with so far regarding Outreachy and discuss with them in person about organizational topics and even ask for advice.
As FOSDEM is quite big, I saw again and met many Debian community members and I received very nice feedback on my work on Outreachy. During the weekend I spent a little bit of time at the Debian booth, were I tried to help as all the people there were already busy and the Debian booth during FOSDEM is really crowded. I understand why, I couldn’t resist but buying some Debian merchandise myself. I felt proud to also see the results of my work on the fundraising materials for DebConf20, as the fundraising brochure that I worked on and the “freshly baked” stickers were available at the booth, to promote the next DebConf.
During the weekend I volunteered to help at the GNOME booth, which was quite crowded as well. This is not the first time I contribute to GNOME. I have been adapted very quickly to the GNOME community as everyone is very friendly and positive, so for me it was very enjoyable to spend some time there as well. I was also introduced to the GNOME Asia organizing team and had a great exchange on our mutual interest of organizing conferences. Thank you for the GNOME Asia keychain!
I attended a few talks, and unfortunately I missed some other ones that I was interested in. Luckily the FOSDEM team works hard and they have recorded the talks, so they are available online for people who could not make it to the conference or to the talk rooms because they are often full.
As I am working on fundraising I was requested by the team to be part of a meeting with one of the potential sponsors for DebConf20. We have been discussing the sponsor levels available and perks that this specific company would be interested in receiving. This was a good experience for me as this kind of in-person communication is very important for establishing a good connection with potential work partners.
My Outreachy internship finishes soon and this is also one of the reasons why my mentor supported attending FOSDEM using the Outreachy stipend. FOSDEM is huge, and you meet hundreds of people within two days, so it is a good opportunity to look for a future job. There is also a job fair booth where companies post job offers. I surely passed by and got myself some offers that I thought would be suitable for me.
And the cherry on top of the cake during FOSDEM, are all the booths distributed in different buildings. I did not only meet friends from different communities, but also got to know so many new projects that I had not heard of before. And of course, got some very nice swag. Stickers and other goodies are never too much!