Brussels / 31 January & 1 February 2015


Interview with Federico Vaga and Matthieu Cattin
A GPS watch made of free software and hardware

Federico Vaga and Matthieu Cattin will give a talk about A GPS watch made of free software and hardware at FOSDEM 2015.
Q: Could you briefly introduce yourselves?

I’m (Federico) a freelance software engineer, mainly active in Linux device driver development. But, as a freelancer, I’m used to work with a lot of different things. Currently, I’m writing Linux drivers at CERN.

Matthieu is an Electronics Engineer working at CERN in the controls group where he is designing mainly digital electronics using FPGAs. He participated in the development of a set of open hardware boards for the accelerators renovation.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly?

Well, of course a little introduction to the project, so: what we are talking about, a rapid overview of the GPS watch features, why we did this and who was involved.

A description of the watch design. The PCB design, the case design and the software running on it. We’ll show a short video showing the main applications running.

And to conclude our consideration about the project.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

Our aim is to share what we did, obviously. And of course, we’ll be happy if someone will join the project and help us.

Q: What’s the history of the project? How did it evolve? Has it become what you planned it to be?

The entire project is a gift for a special person who worked with us, and yes it became what we planned because he really enjoyed it

Q: What where the biggest challenges you encountered while developing a 100% free GPS watch? Was it difficult to find the right components and the right software tools?

The challenge was exactly this, experiment with how difficult it can be to design a consumer product, like a watch, using only free tools.

The answer to the second question in one word: no. The talk will demonstrate this.

Q: How do you pronounce F*watch? And what’s the meaning of the name?

Easy, “F watch” :)

“F*” stand for Free, Fun, Future, Flexible. The asterisk ‘*’ is like a wildcard. Matthieu designed a flyer for the watch that ‘explains’ this.

Q: When will we see a first production-ready release of the F*watch?

Honestly, we don’t know. We are working on the watch in our very free time. But we will say more on this during the talk.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

Yes, I’m (Federico) coming every year since 2010 and I presented something in the past about the ZIO framework. For Matthieu, it is the first time.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.