FOSDEM 2020 — Robin Wils's website

Last modified: Mon, Apr 5, 2021

Table of Contents

What is FOSDEM?

The logo of FOSDEM a big purple gear with the text FOSDEM in the middle of it.

Copyright © FOSDEM - CC BY 2.0 BE licensed.
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FOSDEM is a free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year, thousands of developers of free and open source software from all over the world gather at the event in Belgium in Brussels.

My experience at FOSDEM

FOSDEM was great, just like last year.

There were a lot of interesting talks. I actually met someone from the Fediverse this year. We missed out on meeting another person who uses the Fediverse, because we just couldn’t find each other. Hey, at least I met someone which is cool.

I met OTheB at FOSDEM. He is developing his own programming language. We had some nice talks.

I didn’t talk to many of the stands this year. We saw many talks though. You can’t do everything.

I enjoyed it and would go again. I am not saying that it is for everyone, since it is about free and open software and that might be a bit too nerdy/geeky for some people.

Projects that I had not heard of


Sourcehut is a platform for Git, like GitLab and GitHub. The cool thing about Sourcehut is that people don’t have to create an account to contribute to projects. It also uses bash scripts, so you can easily make some kind of pipeline.

It looks very promising. Honestly, it is possible that GitHub or GitLab uses the same idea some day.

KDE Itinerary

KDE Itinerary is a digital traveling assistant focused on protecting your privacy. I think that it is not fully free (as in freedom), but it surely looks great. You no longer need the Google API to travel.

I really recommend checking this one out.


MuseScore is a free and open-source program to create, play and print music sheets. The fun part was when I got home and my sister (who plays violin) said that she knew it and actually used it.

Other projects

GNU/Linux phones

The KDE and Pine stands were always packed with people. Those stands had the new GNU/Linux phones. There were some interesting talks about the phones as well.

I personally am going to wait until more phones have been released. OTheB ordered the Librem5 when they asked for donations. It is cool that these things exist now. I really look forward to getting one, when the time is right.


Haiku is a free and open-source operating system based on BeOS. BeOS is an OS from 1995. They had gratis disks with Haiku on it. I managed to get one and installed it on my previous laptop.

It really feels like a system from a few years ago. I am not sure what I am going to use it for. It is different from many operating systems, and that is cool in a way. I hope that some software runs on it.


We managed to catch a talk about GNUnet. GNUnet is a new more secure implementation for the internet. It replaces every layer in the OSI model.

It was pretty technical, but it was worth it. Some layers of GNUnet are ready to use. They are talking to many other organizations and already have standardized some parts of the new model. GNS which will replace DNS has been through that process already.

Keep in mind that it will take a few years before you can use it in production environments.

Another cool thing is that GNUnet, written in C, can be extended on. It can be done in different languages. So you can basically replace a part in the model with your own code.


I have been negative about Matrix before, because they use Cloudflare, but let’s look at reality. It is getting more popular and is a solution for connecting different messaging systems. I still don’t want to use it, but they are doing something cool.

Even more projects

There were too many projects to mention them all. Nextcloud, GitLab, Godot and many other unmentioned projects were also there. Most projects at FOSDEM are awesome, so don’t think that this list contains all the awesome projects.