FOSDEM 2015: A Product man in the crowd

The Brussels ULB University once more hosted the FOSDEM event, a free event for software developers, where they share ideas and collaborate. The schedule was really exciting, with more than 30 dev rooms where you could find a large variety of talks about different languages or techonologies, (Go, Java, PHP), topics like Open source search, Open source design, Virtualisation, and also Lightning Talks, Keynotes and Certification Exams.

I can’t give an accurate number of attendees, because the whole event is always for free and you don’t need to sign up, but calculations speak about more than 5,000 people attending from Saturday to Sunday; a really amazing number of developers that demonstrates the importance of this event that has been celebrated since the start of the new millennium (yr 2000 :-)…).

Big event for developers, thousands of them!, talks about technology and extremely freaky stuff… so, what the hell was a Product man like me doing there? It’s just the question I’ve been asked several times these past days…

JR trollman, Developer and Product Manager at Trovit, and Saez senior, Sysadmin & System Manager at Red Arbor


  • Why not? 🙂
  • Seriously, I love this kind of events, for developers or entrepreneurs. In that case, being surrounded by hundreds of people sharing the same passion (tech, code…) is the best way to recharge your energy.
  • Open the mind. It’s possibly the main goal I carried with me. Honestly, I didn’t understand half of the words they said, but it doesn’t matter. When you don’t understand anything, your mind tries to search for new ways to be part of them (to be one of them, like another developer!), and this new vision helps you to discover other corners in your mind. When you are out of your comfort zone, you have to explore this new zone, and much of the time you discover gorgeous things you’ve never thought before.
  • Hear about their ‘worries’. I work at Trovit with the Product team, but the relationship with developers is so close. It’s extremely useful to know about their day to day, not only the world about metrics and revenues. With this vision you’re able to better understand them and achieve a better flow in your relationship with them (we are in the same boat!).
  • Listen to talented people. Trust me, the event is completely for free, but extremely talented speakers flew to Brussels from the best tech hubs in the world: Silicon Valley, Berlin, London, etc… If you can hear Sebastian Bergmann speaking live about the future PHPUnit, what other things do you need in your life?
  • Beer…!! (awesome party at the Delirium Cafe venue the Friday night!)

So, at the beginning I wasn’t sure, but after speaking with other Product men that attended previously, there were a lot of reasons to book a hotel in Brussels and enjoy the FOSDEM 2015 🙂

Trovit members!


I witnessed different sort of talks, for example:

  • Open Source by Design (Legal and Policy issues devroom)
  • Copyleft licenses and the appstores (Legal and Policy issues devroom)
  • Analysing London’s NoSQL meetups using R & Graphs (Graph processing devroom)
  • Big Graph Analytics on Neo4j with Apache Spark (Graph processing devroom)
  • Keeping secrets with Javascript (Mozilla devroom)
  • LibreOffice Design Team (Open source design devroom)
  • Every pixel hurts (Open source design devroom)
  • Beyond PHP – it’s not just about the code (PHP and friends devroom)
  • PHP7 (PHP and friends devroom)
  • Mobile == Web (Desktop devroom)
  • .. others Smalltalks and Lightning Talks ..

Really interesting talks about PHP7, R, Big Graph Analytics, and the Mobile == Web one (by Stormy Peters @storming), because of the debate generated in the room. Imagine, the subtitle was ‘the best mobile “apps” are on the web’, which ensured discussion. The speaker spoke about the future of Apps, telling us that the future is on the mobile web, and native ads are going to die because app stores are not fair, basically. What do you think? 🙂

In conclusion, a really great event to attend if you are developer, for sure. And, if you are not, you can find good points to open your mind.

Thank you to all FOSDEM volunteers and organizers because this kind of events are can make us to do really big, big things.

The trophy:

Delirium Beer!