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FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developers' European Meeting) is a European event centered around Free and Open Source software development. It is aimed at developers and all interested in the Free and Open Source news in the world. Its goals are to enable developers to meet and to promote the awareness and use of free and open source software.

It takes place every year in February at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), situated in the southeast of Brussels, and easily reachable by public transport from the central station.


Structure of the event

Friday beer event
Foreign visitors usually arrive on the Friday night before the event. The Beer Event is an opportunity to gather and to sample the world-famous Belgian beers. This event usually occurs in a bar in the center of Brussels presenting a wide selection of said beers (Délirium Café starting from 2008, Le Roy d'Espagne the years before).

Saturday and Sunday
The Saturday usually starts off with a couple of keynotes. The rest of the day, numerous talks are lined up in parallel tracks. There are devrooms for people to meet around a certain subject (operating system, platform, framework).


FOSDEM was started under the name OSDEM (Open Source Developers of Europe Meeting) by Raphael Bauduin. Raphael says that, since he felt he lacked the brains to properly contribute to the open source community, he wanted to contribute by launching a European event in Brussels. It was an immediate success, with speakers coming from all over.

This encouraged the team to repeat the experience. The F (of FOSDEM) was requested by Richard Stallman, because a majority of the software presented the previous year was under GPL (ref).

The event has been taking place in February every year since then, with growing numbers of visitors, talks and tracks.

At present, the meeting hosts between 4000 and 5000 visitors every year.

Event named OSDEM, started by a small team of 5 people. Organized in 2 months.

Event renamed to FOSDEM, on request of Richard Stallman. Attendance growing to a few thousands.


  • Keynotes: The History of Free Software (Jon 'Maddog' Hall), FSF (Richard Stallman)
  • Tracks: databases, desktop, education, multimedia, security, toolkit, tutorials
  • devrooms: embedded software, gnome developers, GNUstep, KDE, Mozilla, PostgreSQL


  • Keynotes: The open source paradigm shift (Tim O'Reilly), FSF (Richard Stallman)
  • Tracks : accessibility, Java, Linux kernel, Scripting languages, security, X&Co
  • devrooms: Debian, Java, OpenMosix, MySQL, Embedded software, KDE, Mozilla, Tcl

Tutorials, unofficial talks served as a platform for ad hoc talks.


  • Keynotes: Wikipedia (Jimbo Wales), FSF (Richard Stallman)
  • Tracks: Desktop, Development tools, GRID/Clusters, Linux kernel, Packaging tools, security
  • Dev rooms: Calibre, Clustering, Dokeos, Embedded software, Gnome, GNU Hurd, KDE, Opengroupware, PHP/Pear, GNU Classpath, Debian, Drupal, Gentoo, GNUstep, Jabber, Mozilla, Perl, Tcl

Unofficial talks were again present.


  • Keynotes: Richard Stallman, GPLv3 discussion
  • Tracks: Desktop, Development, Security, Systems, Voice over IP, Web 2.0
  • Dev rooms: Ada, GNU Classpath, Embedded software, Gnome, Jabber, Linux on Laptops, Opengroupware, Tcl/Tk, Calibre, Debian, Gentoo, GNUstep, KDE, Mozilla, openSUSE,


  • Keynotes: OLPC (Jim Gettys), Liberating Java (Simon Phipps)
  • Tracks:
    • main tracks: Opening/closing talks, Security, Desktop applications, Development and languages, Kernel, Web, Internet Services
    • side tracks: Lightning Talks, Key Signing
  • Dev rooms: CrossDesktop, KDE, Gnome, openSUSE, Mozilla, GNU Classpath+OpenJDK DevJam, CentOS+Fedora, Jabber, OpenGroupware+GNUstep, Python, Research Room,, Gentoo, Debian, Embedded


  • Keynotes: "Tux with Shades, Linux in Hollywood" (Robin Rowe), How a large scale opensource project works (Robert Watson), Status update of Software Patents (Pieter Hintjens)
  • Tracks: Opening/Closing talks, Languages, Build Systems, Games, Packaging, Virtualization, Web
  • Dev rooms: BSD+PostgreSQL, CentOS+Fedora, CrossDesktop, Debian, Drupal, Embedded, Free Java, GNOME, JBoss, Mozilla,, openSUSE, Research Room, Ruby on Rails,

There were lightning talks about miscellaneous subjects.


  • Keynotes: "Free. Open. Future?" (Mark Surman), Debian (Bdale Garbee), Google Summer of Code: A behind the scenes look ate large scale community (Leslie Hawthorn)
  • Tracks: Distributions, Languages, Security, Systems, Collaboration, Kernel
  • Dev rooms: Ada, BSD+PostgreSQL, CentOS+Fedora, CrossDesktop, Debian, Drupal, Embedded, Free Java, GNOME, GNUStep+Groupware, Jabber+XMPP, KDE, Mozilla,, openSUSE, Ruby on Rails,

There were lightning talks about miscellaneous subjects.

  • Various activities: Key Signing Party, Open Source Initiative special session etc.


The event is entirely free.
It is financed by sponsors who accept the non-commercial nature of the event, and by donators amongst the visitors.
Donators receive an incentive in form of a token present, for instance a t-shirt with donations exceeding 25€, etc.
Everything is organized and set up by volunteers.

FSF Award

The FSF Free software Award for the Advancement of Free Software award ceremony has been held at FOSDEM from 2001 to 2005.

External links

Other similar conferences




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