Fosdem is a yearly event in Belgium Brussels and it is a great opportunity to meet many of the who is who of the Open Software/Free Software community. Jimbo had been asked to give the keynote speech for the 2005 event. So it was important to get some presence on the floor as well.
Many people have been involved into the planning for this event and many have played their part. Walter played a key part; as he was living in Brussels he received the French leaflets from Anthere, he had A2 posters printed and laminated, A3 posters printed for sale as well as German and Dutch leaflets. Elian played a key role in making beautiful leaflets, late one night she had many people scramble to finish the Dutch text and made a professional product. It was great to see it come all together. :)
The show is a two day weekend event, and takes place in one of the buildings of the University. The majority of people come for the talks. For the workshops. There are plenty of them and they are great. People can take Linux certification exams. There are tables were people tell about their project and basically, it is FUN.
Meeting people is important. People are by and larg very pleased and entheausiastic to see us. And as much as in our fora and mailing lists they are brimming with ideas of what our next step could be.
As an event like Fosdem is a gathering of people in the open/free world, you find that the important people meet and discuss things, consequently many of us have been on the stand and of the stand talking to people about what can be done. How we can help them and how they can help us. Everybody wanted to speak to Jimbo and he must have been exhausted at the end of the day. Even when we were walking to the car, when the tables were already long gone, when we had packed our stuff, when we were going to the car we had someone walk with us and discuss interesting stuff :)
The lingua franca was English and, it was so funny to find after talking for a long time that you could have spoken Dutch :) It was great to have had people from Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands on the stand because it did make a difference. It was great to have leaflets in four languages, posters in four languages. It really showed that we are about knowledge and that we want to open up knowledge. We were there for the first time and THIS was one of our messages.
Fosdem is were particular developers go to. So one of our aims was to impress on the public that we do want them for their brains, their knowledge and their money. (we were selling posters :) ) In his speech Jimbo did his best to show the opportunities we have in our projects, the doubling of our traffic every four/six months, the increases in our hardware, the increasing number of sites from where we can host. The need expressed by projects for additions to Mediawiki to enable better practices.
Outside of Fosdem, we have had two meetings about hosting servers. One was with the Belgian government, they appreciate the efforts of wikimedia and have asked Belnet to host servers for us. The other was with Kennisnet, where they expressed their offer to start hosting some servers. The details of both these deals will be handled by Jimbo. Imortant to note is that both these offers came about because of the entheasiasm and efforts of wikimedians. :)
For the original planning details for this event see FOSDEM 2005 - Planning.
See also: Events