Last weekend FOSDEM happened in person again, for the first time since 2020, as fully packed with talks, discussions and people as always.
Back after 3 years
It was great meeting so many people again. As I had missed KDE Akademy last year in several cases it was even the first time seeing them again in three years.
Before leaving I had somewhat expected FOSDEM to be a bit smaller this time. When boarding the train it became clear quite quickly that it would get to its usual size though.
KDE was present with a large team as well, presenting in various tracks, connecting with other communities/projects and staffing the continuously crowded KDE stand.
The work around sustainable software seems to get quite some attention, and so did the Steam Deck as a consumer device shipping with our software by default.
RISC-V and Yocto
Another very popular piece of hardware at the KDE stand was the VisionFive-2 RISC-V board running a Yocto-based system with Plasma Bigscreen, see Andreas’ blog for details.
It’s not the first time we had a RISC-V Plasma demo at FOSDEM, this started in 2019 with a multi-thousand Euro complex development setup with an external GPU. Nowadays we get the same from a sub-hundred Euro single board computer.
Great to see KDE’s Yocto support paying of like this over the years :)
If you are interested in that subject, also check out the brand new KDE Yocto Matrix channel.
Having people from UnifiedPush, Matrix and KDE’s sysadmin team around also helped to move the push notification topic forward, clarifying remaining questions and next steps.
Following that KUnifiedPush, our client-side infrastructure for this, is now going through the KDE review process, a prerequisite for making releases.
New this time was the Railways and Open Transport track, organized by the Open Rail Foundation.
This is of course particularly interesting for me from the KDE Itinerary point of view. But it’s also great to see how the Open Transport community is evolving, from local or national initiatives now coming closer together on a European level as well. The track at FOSDEM is only the start for more in that direction, much more than I could have imagined when first suggesting to meet at FOSDEM in that context more than 4 years ago.
The Railways and Open Transport track is also where I presented how we dissect public transport tickets and use public transport data in Itinerary. Both the slides and the video recording can be found on the corresponding FOSDEM talk page.
Following that I got a couple of travel document donations, including some for Eurostar (ERA ELB-based, initial support for that has been integrated meanwhile) and UK railways (for which recently published research shows how those can be decoded), as well as hints from SBB about the date/time encoding in their ticket QR codes that we failed to decode for the past two years.
I also learned about a recent IETF draft about structured data in emails which mentions KDE Itinerary. This could help with decoupling that topic from GMail and foster wider adoption, which would be a great help for us.
FOSDEM of course involves travel to get there, which I had hoped would be the opportunity to finish the onboard API integration for Itinerary. Let’s just say we now have a lot of fixes for unstable Wi-Fi networks and bogus data being returned, but still no finished integration…
Having to coordinate with a larger number of people arriving from different places and staying all over the city resulted in some ideas on how we could have our apps assist in such a scenario. Initial experiments in NeoChat and Itinerary MRs might provide a hint in which direction this is going :)
It’s been almost a week, but there’s still many exciting plans, discussions and ideas to follow up on, plenty of talks to watch and other blogs to read. Let’s see what comes out of all this!
Getting everyone together is immensely valuable and foundations like KDE e.V. which you can support with your donations help to make this possible.