On the 31st of January and 1st of February a few team-Kodi members visited the Free and Open Source Software Developers European Meeting (FOSDEM) 2015 to give two presentations as well as to set up a stand.
As part of our ongoing goal to improve communication to all the Kodi fans this blogpost is an highlight of our experiences there. (We would have liked to post about this a bit sooner, but felt it would not be as interesting without the video’s which were made of our presentations!) Those videos have now been made available.
Arriving at FOSDEM
FOSDEM is an event held yearly in Brussels, Belgium and is attended by thousands of developers and enthusiasts. This year marked the first time Kodi representatives visited the event, and in more than one way it turned out to be a success.
After driving around for what seemed hours for a parking spot, we made our way to the campus of the Free University of Brussels. Immediately upon arriving we were impressed by the location and by the sheer number of people attending. Walking over the campus there was a nice buzz of excitement as many open source enthusiasts had already arrived and were walking between the many beautiful campus buildings. The general atmosphere was very friendly; after approaching some people holding a map to ask them which way the AW building – where we were located – was, one of them promptly handed me the map stating they had several anyway.
Setting up the stand
The stands are FOSDEM are basic; ours consisted of a table with a tablecloth and 2 chairs, and was situated in the AW building on the side of the campus. Because our name change is pretty recent we did not have many promotional materials, but luckily one of the team’s graphic designers hastily created two banners with the Kodi name and logo prominently displayed.
We had a 40-inch TV and some devices at the stand, and were glad to see many long time Kodi users joined us to ask us questions, look at some of the Android devices we had with us, as well as talk to our main (only!) Android developer Koying. It was a slight shame that we were not able to show off our add-on capabilities as much as we liked, because the wifi at FOSDEM was split into a legacy (IPv4) and a new (IPv6) network, and the legacy network did not cover the AW building at all. With many android devices unable to do IPv6, we were out of luck in that regard.
By the way, the name of the faculty was very fitting as you can see:
We were scheduled to give two presentations at FOSDEM, one at Saturday in the Open Media Room and a shorter on on Sunday during the lightning talks.
Having not given this specific presentation before, and it being our first time at FOSDEM we were quite nervous to see if people would turn up and how well it would go.
These fears quickly evaporated when the room absolutely filled to the brim on Saturday, with people 2 rows thick on both sides. The room attendant had to close the door and there were about 40 disappointed people outside, most of whom found their way to the second presentation on the next day.
Sunday’s presentation was in a large college room, which fitted about 400 people and was almost filled up. The lightning talk on this day was supposed to be within 15 minutes, but the speaker before us was friendly enough to run out of stuff to say, so we got a few minutes extra.
We used the same slides for both presentations, but obviously the second day was a lot faster and we skipped many slides.
Both presentations are now available to be watched directly from the links below. Alternatively you can download them, and play them in your Kodi mediacenter setup!
While we were busy talking to fans at our stand on Saturday, an interviewer from Hacker Public Radio (a community created Internet Radio show) approached us and asked for a small interview. We talked about the project in general , the Kodi namechange, and answered some general questions. Check out the hackerpublicradio site to listen directly to the interview:
One of the things which is always in our head when going to conferences and shows is that – although we offer our own time for free – the hotel costs and travel expenses are being paid for by the XBMC Foundation and the money comes from our fans, yóur donations. The general consensus within the Team is that conferences and events we attend should contribute to the further development of Kodi. In other words: while we always enjoy talking to people who are using and enjoying the software, the question remains whether it is worth spending your money just to talk to fans.
In that regard, FOSDEM did not disappoint: We got to talk to many fans but, maybe more important we also had:
- - A developer interested to start developing features for Kodi on Android. (YES!)
- - A developer interested to start developing features for Kodi in general.
- - The CTO from cozy.io interested in possibly writing an integration add-on for his cloud storage.
- - An open source event from the Netherlands which asked us to attend and present.
- - An open source event from Germany which asked us us to attend and present.
- - An open source event from Kroatia which asked us to attend and present.
Saturday night at FOSDEM is traditionally held at the Delirium bar in Brussels Central. By a stroke of good luck the hotel we booked was about 100 meters from this bar and Martijn and myself enjoyed the crazy busy atmosphere and good beers there. Koying, who lives in Brussels, spend the evening at home with his family.
FOSDEM was a success in every way that counts.
We had a great time and we’re already looking forward to attending again next year!
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