Up up and away to FOSDEM

It’s quite amazing to be 6 miles up in the sky, hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles per hour, and have the opportunity to work on rebasing Bugzilla customizations as easily as if I were at my desk at home.

When I was in the air, the outside temperature was south of -60°F, a fair bit further down the scale from what we get in Vermont, but a blanket over the knees is the proper remedy in both places, so I felt right at home as I poked and prodded away at reviewing and testing bits of code. What an amazing time it is that we can bring our work with us to the furthest reaches of the world!

Speaking of the reaches of the world, I’ve now just arrived in Belgium for FOSDEM. the largest Free/Open Source Conference held in Europe, and an excellent opportunity to learn about a number of very tasty beers! Held every year at Université Libre de Bruxelles, FOSDEM attracts a large number of students in addition to the professionals and volunteers who descend upon Brussels from Europe, the USA, and elsewhere.

You never know who you’ll meet on the aeroplane, and as luck would have it I found myself seated next to Frank Karlitschek, founder and lead developer for ownCloud — a web-based file-hosting application that we use at the Document Foundation for hosting all sorts of binary files. I’ve done a bunch of legwork testing out ownCloud and prettifying our URLs, so it was great to finally meet the progenitor of the project!

I’m excited to catch up with old friends and make new ones during the next two days. Meeting people in person is quite different from chatting with them online — even via video chat — so I’m hoping to make the most out of what FOSDEM has to offer.

Document Freedom Day will be March 25th this year, and I’ve been brainstorming some new ideas with friends and folks from the FSFE, FSF, and EFF. DFD is the perfect time for everyone to talk about important and serious issues surrounding file formats and data while tempering that information with a fun location, tasty food, or some activity that makes people enjoy attending, even the little kids! I’m going to put in some special effort to get more people running events in North America, and see how those of us involved with LibreOffice and The Document Foundation can help give a push to the widespread celebration of this thoughtful holiday.

If you’re going to be at FOSDEM, come stop by the LibreOffice table and say hi! I’m not sure exactly what kind of swag we’ll have, but we can always promise good company and very fun conversation 🙂

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