Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


Interview with Steven Goodwin
FOSDEM@20 - A Celebration. The cliché of constant change

Photo of Steven Goodwin

Steven Goodwin will give a talk about FOSDEM@20 - A Celebration. The cliché of constant change at FOSDEM 2020.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I am a FLOSS advocate and general-purpose computer geek, who generally works on myriad small projects in preference to larger ones, and then works to pass the lessons learned onto other developers. Consequently, I’m not as famous as anyone else on the schedule since, although I’ve given many talks at FOSDEM over the years, they’ve always been to a completely different audience!

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

It covers the history of FOSDEM, its speakers, project devrooms, and successes over the last 20 years. It will be delivered through anecdotes, confessions, stories, and visuals, with some interesting statistics and fun infographics thrown into the mix. This is a topic that covers the people involved in the scene, as much as the technology, which makes it very personal to us all.

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

I want to bridge the gap between those who were there in the early days, and those who are newer to the event, so they can share in the common narrative which is FOSDEM, and the free and open source movement. Hopefully, I shall remind the early adopters of the amazing time we had, and invoke a sense of pride in the incredible achievements that being involved with FOSDEM has created, facilitated, and nurtured. It was an era in open source history that we’ll never see again, for sure.

The flip side is that I want to give newer attendees a sense of wonder about how such a large conference began, and about how it manages to change but still maintain relevance in a technological landscape that was inconceivable in 2001. And to make them wish they’d attended sooner!

If I’ve done my job properly, it will encourage the attendees to share their enthusiasm with others, and tell me their stories that I can incorporated into my talk at FOSDEM 2040!

Q: You have attended every FOSDEM edition since the beginning. How has FOSDEM changed in those 20 years?

Indeed, I’ve attended every FOSDEM, and spoken at most of them. While a lot is similar from year-to-year, something changes every time but, since that is the premise of my entire talk, I can’t say any more without releasing planet-sized spoilers!

Q: What are your most memorable recollections of previous FOSDEM editions?

Too many to list, both large and small in nature. From seeing legends like Tanenbaum, maddog, rms, and Alan Cox. To watching new projects get born, take shape, and become their own legends. My first lightning talk in H.2215. Meeting strangers that became friends. And not forgetting the beer, parties, beer, museum trips, beer, and the embarrassment of beermat buckaroo!

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

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