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My FOSDEM 2019 retrospective

At the beginning of this month, I attended the yearly belgian Free and Open Source Software conference: FOSDEM. It was overall a great experience, which I will try to sum up for you.

The Go Room

As GoLang is now one of the languages I use the most, the Go Room was one of the main attractions for me this year at FOSDEM.

This year we had some excellent Go talks on Saturday. One of the most notable being “The clusterfuck hidden in the Kubernetes code base”, by Kris Nova which showed us that even seasoned developers at Google and VMware sometimes struggle to make their code maintainable. This talk was a great lesson about how technical debt can grow fast in GoLang and how to manage it, which is most likely something I will have to deal with as my Go projects get larger.

I was overall impressed by the number of people gathering here to talk about Go, and also by the diversity of Go crowd. It is good to see that the community is so accepting about openly queer and non-conforming speakers.

Kris Nova at FOSDEM (source: @icecrime)

The Mozilla Room

At the end of Saturday afternoon, I went to see the Mozilla room. The first talk about the new CSS features was a pretty good way for me to keep in touch with the frontend technologies I don’t use much anymore. It contained short reminders about the latest innovations in CSS (flex, grids…) and talk about what might happen to CSS in the following years.

The second talk “Decentralizing the Web Despite Itself” was a really good and objective talk about integrating the “Web 3.0” (IPFS, Blockchains…) technologies in Browser. It’s rare to see the subject being treated this seriously and I’m really glad to see that some people at Mozilla are taking interests in decentralization.

The Online Privacy Room

On Sunday morning, one of the biggest ULB conference halls was dedicated to Online Privacy. The talk that Roger Dingledine gave was a nice introduction to TOR and gave some talking points about common misconceptions about TOR and the scary “dark web”. I really appreciated the insights he gave us about the cat and mouse game going on between TOR and the Chinese governments.


Sadly, the next few talks in the Online Privacy room were not that clear for me. I still appreciated the sticker from DuckDuckGo :)

The JavaScript Room

As this room was a bit overcrowded, I was forced to see the talks on the live stream. The Testing GraphQL in your JavaScript application was very relevant to what I’m working on professionally and an overall pretty interesting talk. It is just too bad that the talker choose not to talk a bit about fancier testing methods such as BDD and integration tests.

The FOSDEM companion

I also really want to thanks the people who developed the FOSDEM companion app, which allowed me to not lose myself inside the ULB campus and not miss too many talks. Also big thanks to the FOSDEM organizers and the ULB for this event :)