I went this weekend to one of the biggest freedom of the software events in Europe: FOSDEM. This year it was on Brussels, Belgium. It was the first time I went, and I hope it isn't the last one, as I absolutely loved it. I had the chance to give a speech about IPFS and met the wornderful guys of Protocol Labs, but apart from that I met all the organizations I admire such as TOR project, Debian or Mozilla. In fact I approached awkwardly timid to Debian stand fullfiled with admiration. In this post I'd like to offer an user-guide for the event and in general for these kind of events, I mostly attend security ones but this one was wider.
Preparing yourself to assist a tech event is more difficult than you imagine at first. I was resolved to travel with one bag only, but I really wanted to bring all the stuff I needed, not even mentioning the essentials for living those days (hygiene, clothes and such) but my computer, my RPI (to geeky share it? to hack? to whatever), stickers, personal cards, the arduino... The soldering kit maybe...? I seriourly thought about that last one but no. So what should you bring?
- Stickers if you got them, please, everyone loves stickers and it's a great way to break the ice and make contacts.
- Information about your association if you are enrolled in any. It really pissed me off not to bring some printed information about Interferencias
- Your computer. You never know, from taking notes to fast-scripting geek moment.
- Notebook and a couple of pencils, smartphones and computers are great but sometimes is not comfortable to let your smartphone to someone to write down their very difficult to write email or contact information.
- Select your most geeky and easy-to-travel-with gadget. You know, for when you get drunk and want to show off.
Apart from that, I recommend to talk to the people involved in stuff you are interested in. If you are shy you'll probably think twice before approaching to someone and talk, but totally worth it. Everyone's happy to hear you are interested in their projects so it won't be awkward. When we talk about freedom of the software it involves the community, too. In my case I learned about it through a community at the university but it's quite common to keep your community related activity online and that's just fine but these events are a great oportunity to meet in person the same people you meet online. This is a lot of fun.
What do you think about this? Have you ever gone to a tech event? Did you have fun?