February 22nd, 2007


fosdem, wednesday and thursday

So I was up at about 7:30 AM EST on Wednesday morning -- it's now 5:30 AM EST on Thursday morning (11:30 AM in Brussels), and I'm safely in the hotel. I've decided to resist the urge to nap, and I'm just going to push through until tonight and get myself onto Europe time ASAP. Once I'm done writing this, I'll head out to find some food and explore the city.

If other Fedora folks have surfaced by tonight, we'll all try to meet up for introductions and I'll buy everyone some dinner.

The flight was pretty uneventful, except for the following:

(1) The overhead compartments opened up during take-off, and I thought that luggage was going to fall out and kill someone.
(2) The overhead compartments opened up during landing, and I thought that luggage was going to fall out and kill someone.
(3) They didn't open the door at the end of the jetway, and an entire plane's worth of people were stuck in the long tube that leads from the plane to the terminal for a few minutes while they sorted that out.

First impressions of Brussels -- really nice city.

All of the DVDs, shirts, and misc. Fedora swag have managed to escape from the grasp of Belgian customs, and are now in my hotel room. That was really my biggest concern, so with that out of the way I'm feeling pretty confident about how the event is shaping up. Anyone curious about the schedule of talks that we have planned should check out this page.

The core group of Fedora Ambassadors that we have out here in EMEA has been great about handling the details. I'm really looking forward to meeting them. We're all meeting up (at the latest) on Friday in the early afternoon to have 4 or 5 hours of Fedora-specific talks, before the official FOSDEM events begin on Friday night.

Further blog posts as events warrant....

my waffle wasn't free, but my operating system is

The "business" part of FOSDEM begins on Friday. Today was spent catching up on email from the plane flight and getting the details of Friday finalized.

The majority of the Fedora folks are getting into Brussels on Friday morning, and we are all meeting up at 2:00 PM to spend a few hours talking through a variety of Fedora topics -- the future plans of the Fedora efforts in Europe, sorting out the details and slides for various talks that we're giving over the weekend, and any other information that I can share with folks about Fedora/Red Hat.

I'm really glad that everyone who is here is pretty flexible. Take a bunch of jet-lagged folks, throw in another group of people traveling from all over Europe and the need to organize everything over IRC, and it pretty much requires flexible and adaptable personalities in order to be successful. Fortunately, we have that in spades.

So let me write a bit more about some of my first-day experiences in Brussels.

It continues to amaze me that I can stumble and bumble my way around Belgium knowing exactly this much French:

+ Good morning.
+ Good evening.
+ Thank you.
+ A croissant, please.

Most everyone speaks enough English that they can adapt to me, and unless we take a major wrong turn, my Spanish isn't likely to be of much use. I think about all of the Fedora folks who I'm going to be meeting over the next few days, and how all of the conversations that we are going to have (at least that I take part in) will be in English. It really makes me feel bad that I can't speak to people in the primary language of the land. I think people tend to appreciate it when you make an effort to speak to them in their native language, and as you can see, my vocabulary is limited at all times other than breakfast.

On the lighter side:

+ I ordered a waffle (an actual Belgian waffle) from a stand in the street. It was covered in strawberries, chocolate, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. It was the best 2.5 euros that I think I'll spend this week.

+ At the end of dinner, the waiter came up to me and started clearing plates, and talking in French, kind of nodding his head. I assume he was asking if he could clear the plates and bring the check, so I sort of just smiled and nodded, because he didn't really respond to my English. Turns out, he was really asking if I wanted coffee, because presently a cup appeared. No big deal. The only reason I mention it is because of the funny part: after I had paid the bill, I wanted to make sure that the tip had already been included, and I just asked the first person who walked by. It was the same waiter, who responded in perfect English "yes, the service is included".

Ok, I gotta run. Turns out Scooby-Doo is on in French, and I'm looking to have a few new words to try out tomorrow. For instance, I've just learned: "the undead mummy ran off into the other catacomb".