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Like last year, again a sizeable portion of the LibreOffice community gathered in Brussels, for the habitual FOSDEM meetup with pretty much everyone who matters in Free and Open Source. This year, the typically badly overcrowded booths in the H building’s corridors got moved out to the newly requisitioned K building, among them the LibreOffice booth – the upside was more breathing space, the downside some required outside walk in slushy snow, and no local Coke supply. Still, I think it was a change for the better.

LibreOffice had a DevRoom on Saturday, which was well-attended, and stuffed to the end with talks. And Michael managed to give a record number of three gigs on a single day, plus an interview.

With Cor, Jacqueline and others outfitting the booth, and Kendy again air-shipping our tshirt-supply in from Prague, we once more had a befitting presence, lots of fun, and many interesting talks.

A very big Thank You! to all those wonderful volunteers who helped to make this happen, and for you that couldn’t attend an impression from the booth:

Crowd at the LibreOffice booth

Our booth at FOSDEM


Thanks to private and corporate sponsors, and most of all because of so many enthusiastic volunteers, LibreOffice had a presence on this years FOSDEM and the CeBIT 2011 trade fair.

Green people manning the LibreOffice FOSDEM booth

Although both events are almost diametrally different, in both audience and recommended attire, there was a common trait – the interest and support we received for LibreOffice was immense. On FOSDEM, we had a table right between CACert and FSFE, in the entrance area of building H (one of the best places, I gather). Kendy and Bubli had brought boatloads of LibreOffice tshirts and jumpers from Prague, that we collectively lugged to the booth & almost fully sold over the weekend. Lots of people wearing green, suddenly.

hackers at the libreoffice booth

On Sunday, there was a LibreOffice devroom, among many others, with a talk from yours truly about Impress hacking.

This year, I was able to spend two days at CeBIT, joining the booth team of Jacqueline, Karl-Heinz, Roland, Thomas and Ulrich. The booth location was nicely located at a corner, with Linux New Media and Firefox presences vis-a-vis – and was packed with people most of the time (amazingly, Roland was able to recruit new German association members on the spot, and even talked them into helping out at the booth).

Crowded libreoffice booth, from (cc-by-nc-sa)

Met with a few press people, and tons of friends and colleagues from the new and the old project. Much encouraged to hear interest from larger and smaller sites to go & try LibreOffice (a handful of successful migrations have already happened), and from a few extra opensource companies planning to start hacking LibreOffice core code.

Managed to miss ICE train back to Hamburg in the evening, due to a friendly “train is 15 minutes late” vanishing literally seconds before the train arrived in the station (much earlier than 15 mins late).

Close-up picture of the LibreOffice CeBIT booth

The second day was maybe even more crowded, and from the talks I had, slightly more end-user-focused. People were generally very receptive to my “everyone can contribute something to LibreOffice” line. One case in point was a computer science prof, asking for a feature and not aware of the fact that he probably has more readily available talent with spare time at his disposal (i.e. students), than most of the LibreOffice project members. Besides that, got offers for more tinderboxes, and a few really high-quality bug reports.

At the end of the second day, the donation jar turns out to be quite full, and so the question comes up “how much is in there?”. Ensuing is a little bet – the closest estimate wins a cheese sandwich, specially-crafted by Jacqueline. Results not yet in.

Many thanks to all involved into making that a success – both events were wonderful debuts!

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

I’m actually even presenting!