It rocks to be in the crowd that is changing the paradigm of IT everywhere in the world. The opening session, by Mark Surman of the Mozilla Foundation, had something between 1000 and 2000 people attending. Mark stressed out that during 2008 Firefox reached around 200 million users and 4.5 million Linux netbooks were shipped. He defended the concept of hackable products where the user has the right to interact and adapt.
In the halls one could find booths from Mandriva, Suse, FSF, CentOS, Fedora, FreeBSD, Kde, Gnome, OpenOffice, Php... From the many interesting scheduled talks on the first day we were able to attend presentations for KDE 4.2, Sugar, LXDE and RandR1.3.
What to say about these desktops?
KDE 4.2: will be stable tomorrow on today's computers
LXDE: will run fast today on yesterday's computers
Sugar: will run on slow computers but not on lazy users
Seriously, KDE 4.2 looks absolutely wonderful. It's a shame that so many things crashed on the presentation, which was allegedly ran on an unstable SVN version. Perhaps one should test things better before presenting them? LXDE looks good on the screenshots. I look forward to test it on a netbook to see how fast it runs. And Sugar is truly a learning platform. Even geeks have to stop to learn! The interface concepts are quite different from regular desktops. Once one gets familiar with the concept it really makes sense. We wonder how well that could fit in our national netbooks for students.
From the second day we higlight the presentations about Prism and Fennec from Mozilla.org and some interesting collaboration solutions: Zarafa, an Open Source MAPI implementation and Groupdav, the minimalistic groupware protocol. These too solutions seem to follow opposite phylosofies. While Zarafa implements a full collaboration server Groupdav tries to be the thinnest complement to IMAP that one can imagine: HTTP 1.1 + 1 WebDav method. The protocol is not much more that storage, over HTTP transfers and standard calendar and contact formats.
The open source collaboration landscape is known to be heavily fragmented. There are way too many solutions none of which is widely deployed. It's not clear if and how things will converge from here.
On this second day of FOSDEM there was also time for discussing some Firefox-KDE integration issues, with people from both groups, which will hopefully be addressed sometime soon.
Congratulations to the FOSDEM team for organizing such a vibrant event to the community.
Thinkpads are a true object of desire for Linux people. They're everywhere at Fosdem, on different sizes and models. Shame on Lenovo for having dropped Linux support as Thinkpads are truly good machines. On the other side this means hello Dell.