Gentoo at FOSDEM 2018

Gentoo Linux participated with a stand during this year's FOSDEM 2018, as has been the case for the past several years. Three Gentoo developers had talks this year, Haubi was back with a Gentoo-related talk on Unix? Windows? Gentoo! - POSIX? Win32? Native Portability to the max!, dilfridge talked about Perl in the Physics Lab and bircoph talked about The Invisible Internet Project

 

K_F and chithanh at stand

The "Compile your own button" activity attracted the most attention, even more so than earlier years; as this sample of tweets show:

Whissi, soap, and amynka are busy demonstrating the compiler

We also ran out of coffee mugs, lanyards and t-shirts already during Saturday, so hopefully we can bring some more for next year, at least we had plenty of flyers, which we incidentally ended up with a well spirited in-booth competition with our FreeBSD peers on the highest flyer house.

Speaking of flyers, we also got some comments after the beer fest like

Happy hacking, and see you at next FOSDEM or maybe our Gentoo Miniconf in Prague this October?

I love free software but I love you more

The Free Software Foundation Europe is running its campaign once again this year, and I quote:

In the Free Software society we exchange a lot of criticism. We write bug reports, tell others how they can improve the software, ask them for new features, and generally are not shy about criticising others. There is nothing wrong about that. It helps us to constantly improve. But sometimes we forget to show the hardworking people behind the software our appreciation. We should not underestimate the power of a simple "thank you" to motivate Free Software contributors in their important work for society. The 14th of February (a Sunday this year) is the ideal day to do that.

As part of this campaign the FSFE's FOSDEM stand allowed for sending postcards to projects that matters to users.

This year Gentoo received a post card supporting the future development, I love free software, ... but I love you more:

01_front

With a nicely thank you note hand-written on the back:

02_back

"Thank you for such a powerful and flexible system"

Next year we hope to receive even more postcards, but thank you very much for the one we received this year 🙂

On another note, Gentoo was interviewed during FOSDEM and the recording is available at HPR with Gentoo starting about 1:56:40.

Gentoo at FOSDEM 2016

Gentoo Linux was present at this year's Free and Open Source Developer European Meeting (FOSDEM). For those not familiar with FOSDEM it is a conference that consists of more than 5,000 developers and more than 600 presentations over a two-day span at the premises of the Université libre de Bruxelles. The presentations are both streamed directly and recorded making it available to browse the archive once published.

Hanno Böck, a name mostly heard in relation to the fuzzing project, was the only Gentoo Developer presenting a talk this year on the very important subject of security and how Gentoo can be used as a framework for running Address Sanitizer to detect security bugs: "Can we run C code and be safe?: A Linux system protected with Address Sanitizer".

For the first time in many years Gentoo had a stand this year where we handed out buttons and stickers in addition to a LiveDVD.

Gentoo Boot

The Gentoo Ten team created a hybrid amd64/x86 "FOSDEM 2016 Special Edition" release for our user's benefit (thanks likewhoa!), and 200 DVDs were printed of which 155 were already distributed to potential users by the end of day one. A posters on the stand succinctly listed all the packages included on the LiveDVD with some highlights of packages more familiar to some users, something that also highlights one of the benefits of rolling release distributions in that the versions are up to date with upstream releases.

Gentoo DVD package list

If the LiveDVD is used on USB instead of the handed out DVDs it also offers the option of using persistence to store changes on the USB. It uses aufs to layer a read-write file system on top of a read-only squashfs compressed file system. This is great, because it allows you to make changes to the livedvd and have those changes appear on future reboots.

As mentioned in a blog post by dilfridge the stand also attracted attention due to a comment involving Gentoo Linux by Lennart Poettering in his keynote speech as a distribution that doesn't use systemd by default. This fit nicely with one of our banners at the stand; "Gentoo Linux | Works even without systemd | choice included".

gentoo-choice

There was a lot of positive feedback from various users and the stand functioned very nicely as a meeting place for the various people and the atmosphere was good throughout the conference.

10 fosdem-booth

As has become a tradition there was also a Gentoo dinner again this year amongst developers and users (thanks xaviermiller), a nice way to meet up and discuss everything in a relaxing setting.