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Dankje, merci, thanks fosdem volunteers

 I've been attending FOSDEM since 2004; I gave talks (in the Mozilla room) ; I helped with the Key Signing Party ; I ran the key signing party ; I bitched against the network, when data roaming in Europe was not a thing ; I have help organize a room. And once I had registered to volunteer cleaning up on the Sunday evening - which was pretty quick, I don't remember it being a Fuss.

So for all the FOSDEM I attended, things were smooth - very smooth. But I didn't realize how much work being smooth meant. Now I know :-p

I've spent a good time of my Friday, preparing building H, the historical FOSDEM building.

Protecting the walls

This started by easy tasks, setting up tables and tables clothes. Then adding chairs, banks, trashes and building the InfoDesk in building H. Once all this was done the idea was to make everything ULB related disappear. Here comes me and a few volunteers, tapping brow paper over all the billboards. And there are many of these in the smallish corridor of building H. This took a good 4 hours to complete by a good amount of volunteers.

Once done, we added signage on the rooms :

Two signs on a dev room door

This means each room is ready to rock, the schedules for the entire weekend is on the room door, as well as the names and in most case a QR code for people to watch the stream when the room is full. I'm happy to share that found a nice way to fold tape. With one long piece of tape, one can tape a sign that can be turned around on the doors, without untaping it :

Green tape folded in a triangle to the sign can
switch from we're full to there is space in the room.

Signage seems easy but with the number of rooms, schedules etc, there's a lot of pre-work done probably weekends
File for rooms

in advance for each room, FOSDEM organizers prepare a file. Each contains signage for the doors, instructions for room managers and the nice and needed "5 minutes left" to manage speakers in the rooms. 

Now back to building K, where FOSDEM was not allowed to prepare anything before 18:00, because the building was used by students.

pile of boxes needed to prepare K

So around 18:00 the volunteers all moved to K to install the tables for the stands, prepare infoDesk and sign the building. Around 19:00 the tables were used for diner. I was tired that's when I left, my leg hurt and my day had been long enough that I wanted to catch some sleep before the event.

As you can see, there is a lot of work into making FOSDEM great. The equivalent of two trucks were unloaded with boxes, meaning some local volunteers had to load these trucks and will need to help store things in storage on Monday. Each box is labelled, so from one year to another it's easy to remember what is needed where. This also means that cleaning up needs to be done properly, with each item stored in the right box.

Now you have to add to the above all things involving Wi-Fi, network, and the creation of a temporary NOC.

Noc being buidl up

If you stream the event you need to install camera, microphones in the rooms, some hardware to make things streamable:

A box full of laptops and FOSDEM boxes
for audio videos in the rooms

That's what I saw from participating, there's probably a lot more going that I'm not even thinking about. Of course, I am not talking about the work each room needs to go through in order to be in working order. Nor the food truck installing their assets on the campus.

Ho and I spotted a nice board that I can't resist sharing:

Not All roads lead to chrome

I also went down the memory lane.

All the pictures above are licensed under




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