Fosdem 2023

Hey folks,

So FOSDEM hasn’t even announced FOSDEM 2023 yet, so we’re not sure if it’ll be online, in-person or hybrid (my bet is on some form of hybrid!) but i was hoping to start a thread of ‘to dos’ to get ahead of the organisation for 2023.

for starters, do we want to apply for a dev room again in 2023?

next, we’ve tried a couple of talk lengths (with a few technical online platform snaffus…sorry!) but do we still want the 20 mins talk slots + 5 min Q&A + 5 min change over time? We did 40 min talks last year online as we were low on 20 min talk submissions and some folks had more content than 20 mins. What do we wanna go for next year?

Also if it’s in person, do we want to request a table in the exhibition hall for the UX clinic and/or promo?

I’d also love to do some early outreach for speakers ready for submissions.


I certainly think we should run a 2023 devroom.

About the length of talks, I think we keep them to 25 minutes. The original reasoning for the the length of time was 1) to give exposure to as many speakers as possible, 2) the length helped simplify logistics.

From 2022 FOSDEM, some people didn’t know they had been given a longer time slot, while other talks didn’t last the longer time. This made things harder to manage. Even more so when they were remote.

Instead of mixing long/short talks on the devroom day, some ideas we could:

  • hold a “FOSDEM fringe” event where longer topics could be handled
  • run 20 min talks on Day 1, and have longer talks on Day 2. This would allow for longer talks. But it would need to be clear to talk submitters to save the confusion from last year.

About the UX Clinic, yes I think we should do it also, as it is always popular and gets more interest. That will need separate organising from the devroom application.

About the to-do list, I’ll create a FOSDEM 2023 organisation thread and use @evalica’s very comprehensive list on of the previous years. (You can see it on FOSDEM 2019 organisation thread.).



Honestñy, I do hope we have at least some in-person FOSDEM experience. A Hybrid event would make total sense to me but I’d still go to Brussels as well as many of the Kaleidos bunch, as always.

In the past, I have been enjoying the fruits of other people’s work so I don’t think I’m entitled to suggest much but what I can say from the point of view of a speaker both in 2020 (in person) and 2021 (100% online) is that 25 min works like a charm for the same reasons @ei8fdb pointed out.

I recently attended a in-person conference in Oxford and we had a mix of short/not-so-short talks mixed together and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. If you think there’s an opportunity there I would make sure talk submitters acknowledge that the organization would place them either on short slot or long slot based on their better judgement for the overall devroom goals. And then, make sure they know which slot length they have been assigned to.

Having many online events have somehow adapted our brains but I remember experiencing online time as going twice as slow in terms of mental load. That is, that 30 min online resulted in an equivalent of 60 min in person. What I’m trying to say here is that favouring online attendees/experience will require shorter slots, while going after the in-person experience allows for more lengthy talks.

I think the team at Penpot would like to have a table in the exhibition hall too, it would be nice at least not to be too far apart!


FOSDEM organisers have released an update on 2023:

FOSDEM 2023 will take place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of February 2023. We are aiming for a physical conference.
Update: We initially said “2022” which was a typo, of course. Sorry about that.
While there are still a lot of open questions, we are aiming for a physical FOSDEM 2023. It’s both exciting and scary.
We will open Call for Devrooms etc soon. One note: With the online format, we were able to host more devrooms than ever. In the physical world, we will be constrained by the amount and size of the rooms ULB is able and willing to offer us. We will do our best to accommodate the maximum amount of content, but we will likely need to be more deliberate in selecting devrooms again.

My interpretation of this is that they’re organising a physical only event. But I wonder if we could replicate part of the online experience, especially for speakers who can’t travel to Brussels.

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Good news! FOSDEM organisers seem willing to support remote speakers:

Technically, I think we have a way for that worked out, with one laptop in the room that has wired connection. A lot would be up to the devroom managers and their helpers, though, but at least the streaming part should work fine.

Comment from one of the organsiers this morning in their Matrix chat.


Hey OSD community, ‘We need to submit a FOSDEM devroom by the 18th of October’

There are a couple of decisions we need to collectively make and they are:

  1. It’s looks like we can only choose 1 out of: half day sat, half day sun, full day sat and full day sun. It seems like we can’t have both full days in 2023 (Bernard is checking in on this with the conf organisers)

  2. Do we want physical only, Virtual only or prefer physical but accept virtual.

feelings on these options? please respond by the 16th of Oct so we still have enough time to submit a devroom :slight_smile:

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I would go for full day Saturday and physical only. ‘Prefer physical but accept virtual’ sounds great, but I am concerned about possible technical glitches. Let’s see what others think.

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Also, we are looking for volunteers to take on the organisation of the FOSDEM devroom. Over the years, it has become a tradition to do it once and then pass the baton to another community member. That ensures continuity and encourages people to get involved and take responsibility. This way, the devroom has been organised by yours truly, @evalica, @victoria-bondarchuk, @amit.lzkpa, @ei8fdb and @Erioldoesdesign I hope I am not forgetting anyone! :sweat_smile:

If you would like to join the devroom organisers’ club :wink: post here or message me privately if you want to discuss or have any questions. It’s actually not that much work, and it is a lot of fun!

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‘Prefer physical but accept virtual’ sounds great, but I am concerned about possible technical glitches.

In the past, my experience with the technological infrastructure of FOSDEM has been excellent. Even if it would be otherwise – accepting virtual enables people without a travel budget or with health issues to participate.

I participated last year as an assistant devroom manager and assisted in reviewing talk proposals, I can volunteer to do this again.

That’s great @brownie Thank you so much. Your help will be much appreciated this year again.

We still need a volunteer to become the main organiser. Please reply here if you would like to do that. We are running short of time: submission deadline for devroom proposals is 18th October!

I’ve been to all of them, and I’m afraid our track record on getting the recordings to work (for instance) is rather patchy.

I don’t doubt FOSDEM’s technical prowess: what I doubt is our capacity to get the tech working! :sweat_smile:

I would love to, if nobody is willing to. But I need to know what the roles are specifically, as I just assisted in room coordination and talk review last time. Would I need to be there in person as the organizer?

Thank you so much for offering to help. It is much appreciated :slight_smile:

Would I need to be there in person as the organizer?

That is a really good question. To be honest, I don’t know. I guess it depends on the modality we choose (fully in person or hybrid). In any case, we will need some hands on deck, so I hope it’s OK if we count on you for bits and pieces. We’ll be in touch soon :slight_smile:

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Great. I’ll also work towards being there in person, if needed.

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That would be fantastic :slight_smile: I hope you manage to join us in person. We can’t wait to see you all again!

:eyes: Looots to read. :eyes:

So here’s my thoughts:


  • if you’re interested in volunteering please do. It is fun, a little organised chaos but good fun :slight_smile:
  • by In person I mean the speaker is present in the devroom in Brussels
  • by Remote I mean the speaker is present from a location somewhere in the world, other than Brussels :slight_smile:
  • we all need (or would like?) get together in person
  • the devroom should be 70:30 In-person:Remote
  • when speakers submit they need to tell us if they’d speak in-person or remotely
  • we need clear communications with speakers
  • accepted speakers would need to follow remote FOSDEM talk process
  • we’d need to have “back-up” sessions to deal with any drop-outs


About volunteers, I think it’d be good to have a number of people involved. Particularly if we’re going to offer an in-person/remote split. It might require more management but I think the community and the devroom would be better for it.

Great news you’re volunteering @brownie. Anyone else?

If you’re thinking about volunteering, please do. We could have regular video calls to help each other with the management tasks.


I strongly think the devroom should be in majority in-person let’s say 70:30.

We (the whole community) has not gotten together in-person in any way for at least 2+ years, and I’d certainly like the chance to meet people again.

It’s also vastly easier to organise and run in-person as @belenbarrospena mentioned.

However I think we should accept some remote talks. But it will need good organising and clear communications with speakers.

One of the benefits of FOSDEM during the pandemic was being able to see lots of talks from people who would have not been able to attend in person. It would be a shame to loose this.

Speakers need to tell us if they’re speaking in-person or remote

We need to communicate this format to people submitting talks and we’d need to manage it really well. Otherwise there will be the possibility for confusion, misunderstanding, etc.


Speaker: "Oh, I thought I could do a talk remotely? Oh never mind then.
Us: "Now what do we do?! :crying_cat_face: "

Remote speakers follow remote FOSDEM talk process

It is still unclear how exactly the FOSDEM organisers intend on supporting remote talks, so we may need to manage the playing of the videos, or, they may do it.

Irregardless, for those who want to speak remotely we should use the process FOSDEM used to get the recorded video from the speaker. It’s worked pretty well for previous devrooms. The process for those unfamiliar is essentially:

  • talk proposal gets accepted
  • tell speaker they’ve been accepted
  • speaker records talk
  • speaker uploads talk X weeks before the devroom
  • devroom volunteers review it to make sure its ok
  • on the day the recorded video is played
  • once the video finishes the speaker answers questions remotely

Like I said earlier, FOSDEM organisers might manage the whole video cueing/playing process or maybe not. In which case, we could, just as an example, have the video on a laptop in the room, we play it on projector.

Back-up sessions

Like every year, in the event of a speaker - remote or in-person - does show, we should have back-up sessions to take their place.

I think this will be even more important in the case of we accepting remote talks.

So what do we do?

I still think it’s worth asking the community what we should do. We can put a Twitter poll together and ask people for their opinion. Let’s give it 2 days to gather answers, and then we decide.

What do people think? Thoughts? Tell me where I’m going wrong. :smiley:

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Hello! I am interested in getting involved as well, but not as a primary organiser as I’ve not been to too many conferences, so possibly a co-organiser or volunteer is something more in my depth (cc @belenbarrospena)

I have 1 question: would the event be livestreamed or accessible to people who are not able to be there in person? Since the OSD community is so diverse with people from literally all over the world, it would be nice to focus on creating a great remote experience as well, if it’s in our hands. I think remote speakers + livestreaming is a great setup for someone from far away to feel welcomed into the community :slight_smile: Also love the idea of a Twitter poll to see what everyone else thinks as well :slight_smile:

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Great news @nim. Welcome on-board. :tada: :slight_smile:
So to organise we have you (@nim), @brownie, myself (@ei8fdb) and @Erioldoesdesign (as and when they’ve capacity).

If it helps I’m happy to do the primary contact with FOSDEM organisers but my intention would be a helper.

would the event be livestreamed or accessible to people who are not able to be there in person?

Based on the experience from previous years, devrooms are always livestreamed. FOSDEM handle all the livestreaming technology.

They will have cameras set up in each room. These cameras will stream the talks to their website and people can follow along via live stream. They’re also used for recording the talks so they can be played back later.

Right now the details of how the organisers will handle the possibility of remote speakers is unclear.

I’d expect they will then make a decision on whether to support remote speakers, or not. Like I said earlier they might manage the whole video process or maybe not. In which case, we could do it - find the video, and click play. :slight_smile:

I think remote speakers + livestreaming is a great setup for someone from far away to feel welcomed into the community

Yes 100% agree with you. It will make things a little more complicated, but if we organise it well, I’m sure it’ll be a success. :smiley:

love the idea of a Twitter poll to see what everyone else thinks as well

I’ll put the Twitter poll out shortly and lets see what responses we get.

In the meantime, we should start drafting the call for proposals. How about I start a thread specifically for this?


I’ve posted a poll on Twitter asking for people to cast their votes on what format the devroom should take:

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