Fosdem 2023

Fosdem 2023 on February 4th and 5th 2023.

Fosdem 2023
Fosdem logo

Fosdem is a conference around open source and the community around it.

This year was the first in-person Fosdem, since Covid hit back it early 2020. So it's been 3 years since the last one. That does not seem to have kept people away though. The buildings and hallways have been buzzing with open source developers and nerd energy.

Opening keynote filled the auditorium of the Janson building

The buildings of the Belgium University is a well known venue for the Fosdem organizers and there where once again used to their best capacity. Keynotes, talks and developer rooms where scattered all over campus, just like usual and we saw once again just how much work the staff and volunteers had to do to get it going. Thanks you all!

One of my favorite places to be, is obviously the Pine64 stand and this year was no different.

Some of the Manjaro team at the Pine64 stand

Pine64 also presented a couple of new things this year. They had the trusty Pinebook Pro, PinePhone, PinePhone Pro and PineTime as well as the Quartz64-A 8 GB model. But they also had a couple of new things, that I hadn't seen in person yet. The PineTab 2 Star64 and of course the newly released Ox64.

An overview of the Pine64 stand with devices

The PineTab 2 is an rk3566 (like the Quartz64) in a tablet form factor and it already runs Linux and has most things working. According to TL Lim release will be around April/May this year.

The Star64 is Pine64s first real shot at a RISC-V board. It's the same formfactor as the Quartz64, but is a Quadcore RISC-V SoC. The nice surprise was that this also already runs Linux, although colors are a bit messed up on the HDMI output.

The Pinephones was still a very popular device for people to see and try, same as the Pinecil, PineTime and Pinebook Pro.

All in all a good representation by Pine64 this year.

Presentation for 4K HDR with AV1 about to start

I also had a chance to catch a couple of talks this year. As I'm interested in video encoding and such, I went to the 4K HDR with AV1 reality check talk, which explained what AV1 is good at and why it's not really great for consumers yet. In short, HDR is great for NITS, but not really any consumer devices supports all the NITS yet as it needs at least 10 bit encoding.

I also saw the Podcasting 2.0 talk, a talk about maintaining an increasingly popular Mastodon server and the talk about Matrix 2.0.

Start of Podcasting 2.0 talk
A slide showing some Matrix 2.0 changes

The Matrix 2.0 talk was very interesting. I'm an avid Matrix user and have been for a while. The Matrix 2.0 spec is filled with many improvements, which is really nice. But one of the things in this talk I was really interested in, was the rework of the mobile Element apps. They are being rewritten in Rust, which results in barely any loading time when logging and and everything was very smooth in the demo. The presenter also demoed an app called ThirdRoom, which is making use of a new thing in matrix where you can upload assets. So what it does is it can create a 3D space to move around in, like a video game. And the best part, it also works in VR, which he also did a short demo on. At the end he quickly demoed their new P2P Matrix functionality, using a local contained Dendrite server within the app to relay messages either over Bluetooth or when it gets a connection back. No internet based server.

The conference was great. As usual. But I am also tired. I've been walking to and from the venue, out sightseeing a bit and for some drinks, shopping and social activity. So I've walked a fair amount of kilometers (in the ballpark of 40 or so). This did prompt a couple of pictures I took while I was walking. A couple of them are below:

A fancy building I saw one night
A small lake or duck pond in the middle of Brussels