FOSDEM 2024: A quick recap

Another year as come and so it was once again time to pack our bags and head over the Brussels for this year’s FOSDEM. As usual, my partner and I arrived on Friday but this time tried to get something off our bucket list that we missed in previous years: A quick tour of the European Parliament!

The EU Parliament

Turns out, this was far less exciting than we had hoped, mostly due to the fact that there were just so many other people who must have had the exact same idea - including at least two school classes. We also opted for using the multimedia guide app that is available in the App Store and Google Play Store instead of picking up the available headphones and tablets. This turned out not to be the best decision as the app was, unfortunately, not that great. Lock your phone? The playback stops. Want to take a picture? The playback stops and with some luck the whole app closes and you have to manually find your way back to the point where the playback stopped.

The Hemicycle in Brussels

Also, only the visitor area of the “Hemicycle” and the way to that are accessible, so there’s actually not all that much to see. We should have probably also the “Parlamentarium” but hunger was just too strong. Perhaps something for next year πŸ™‚


After the tour through the EU district, we went back to our Hotel and met up with a friend to search for something to eat. Sadly, it feels like half of Brussels takes a break from living between 14:00 and 18:00. Luckily, we stumbled upon a food market called “Wolf” which had not only half open (like half of the restaurants were open) but also had its own microbrewery with some good options for the evening πŸ™‚


Because the last week was quite exhausting, we opted to get to ULB a bit later in the morning. Unfortunately, this didn’t mean that there was actual space in the busses and so walked a bit to reach one of the tram lines a couple of streets away from our hotel. Luckily, I was still in time for my very first volunteer shift at FOSDEM! Nothing glamorous but I at least help deliver some food to the various video teams around the campus.

Mozilla was handing out free third-party cookies πŸͺ

After that and having a delicious vegan burger (by Smaakmakers) I tried to get into the “Tool the docs” devroom in order to see Jack Baldry give a talk about Vale. The queue was long and it was well-deserved! Now I want to add Vale and Reviewdog pretty much to every project that has documentation.

After that I decided to just hang around the various booths and also Janson where I got some glimpses of Javier Ramirez talking about QuestDB, JupyterNotebooks and Grafana in “Ingesting and analyzing millions of events per second in real-time using open source tools”. Before heading home in preparation for dinner.


Sundays are always hard: You know that there are still great talks ahead of you but also that this is the last day of FOSDEM. I started the day with hanging around the Grafana booth and then doing once again a shift of food delivering. Turns out: Pasta and wraps are more heavy than burgers and fries πŸ˜„

After that and a quick lunch I mostly just stuck to the “Monitoring & Observability” devroom to learn about Grafana Beyla, frame pointers, and CI/CD observability.

And then FOSDEM was over 😒 Luckily, GitHub had organised a party for Sunday evening which was once again great! As with last year, there was a game around meeting other people which resulted in you getting a ticket for a raffle. And, again as with last year, I didn’t win anything but had a lot of fun!

I won’t write about the rest of the evening πŸ˜‰

Everything else

So, that was it again for FOSDEM. Compared to previous years I’ve watched even fewer talks live but am planning to work my way through some recordings! I spent far more time catching up with coworkers and just doing stuff outside of the talks, which was also fun!

To close of, some random items:

  • The Moxy Brussels City Center is a very nice hotel and I think this might be the right place to stay also during future trips to Brussels
  • Belgorama at Brussels Airport is not worth a visit
  • I’m not the only person who needs two attempts to find the right ticket box in the busses and trams to pay via creditcard.
  • Someone really needs to keep track of the sunny days during FOSDEM over the years. Last year we at least had one; unlike this year.

While I’m writing this, I’m in a deep post-FOSDEM-depression but luckily without FOSDEM-flu. It’s just sad when you don’t wake up near a waffle food truck πŸ™ˆ Once again, big thanks to all the organisers, volunteers, and supporters who make this event possible every year! And yes: The weather in Brussels is (nearly) always bad and the city is not the nicest, but it’s a highlight for me every year!

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