Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


Interview with Lubosz Sarnecki
The year of the virtual Linux desktop

Photo of Lubosz Sarnecki

Lubosz Sarnecki will give a talk about The year of the virtual Linux desktop at FOSDEM 2020.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m Lubosz Sarnecki, XR software engineer at Collabora. Ever since I tried the first Oculus DK1 headset in my University’s computer graphics lab in 2013 I became hooked to having a screen on your face. Through my requirement of running everything in Open Source I started using and contributing to the FOSS driver OpenHMD. As a student I created HoVR, a FOSS VR hoverboard simulation using the Blender Game Engine and the Wii balance board. Later I made HoloChat, a real time 3D point cloud chat over the network, using ROS and GStreamer. When I started at Collabora I worked on GStreamer plugins for viewing spherical videos and a prototype Lighthouse tracking driver, vive-libre. These days I work on the Monado OpenXR runtime and xrdesktop. I live in the German Middle Rhine valley with my little daughter and wife.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

After an introduction into the history and state of open source XR, I will give the audience a deeper insight into virtual reality desktops, with a focus on my project xrdesktop. The topic is what I am most familiar with and have a professional background in.

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

I often notice when I talk to people that there is a discrepancy between my knowledge about the FOSS XR scene and the public. With the FOSDEM audience I can give a wider public an update on the developments, projects and required technologies in FOSS XR. This will include an overview over which device to use and what software to run.

In addition, I hope that I can find interested people and gain potential contributors to the FOSS XR community and give a lookout on the future of FOSS XR.

Q: What has changed over the last years for VR and AR on Linux distributions?

If you are not using Arch Linux with user maintained packages, the situation on distributions is still difficult. Besides the OpenHMD driver not much is available in packaged form. We are actively working on getting xrdesktop packaged into Debian, where we still need to maintain a PPA for Ubuntu. I am very sure that 2020 will be a milestone of AR/VR for distros, where we will see packages emerge for Monado and OpenXR. This is just one of the reasons why this year might be the year of the virtual Linux desktop.

Q: 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of (F)OSDEM. What contributions has FOSDEM made to the advancement of FOSS, or how did your work in particular benefit from FOSDEM?

FOSDEM was the first place where I was able to meet the European FOSS VR community in person and could assign faces to the names. It is also the only event in the world where you can go to a bar and randomly meet developers of the free software you know and use.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

2020 will be my 3rd FOSDEM and hopefully one of many more.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

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