fosdem opensource vimeo cameo


I've just returned back from another amazing weekend at FOSDEM, the annual gathering of the open source community in Europe. As always, thousands of developers decended on ULB, Brussels for a busy few days of talks and presentations. It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed since I was last here, and the schedule was even more interesting than last year.

Vimeo at FOSDEM

My colleague gave a presentation about how Vimeo works within the open source community by taking an active role in various open media projects. He discussed various aspects of the video transcoding stack that Vimeo uses, which is built around open source libraries. The slides for this talk are now available from the FOSDEM site.

"Many Vimeo developers are also members of relevant Open Source projects, taking part in application and API design, maintainability and infrastructure discussions."
- Vittorio Giovara

Elasticsearch and Open Source Search

The huge highlight of FOSDEM for me was the dedicated Open Source Search track: A full day of talks dedicated to open source search technologies. I really hope this becomes a regular feature of FOSDEM.

Memorable talks were: Effective spelling correction with term relation graphs using Lucene FSTs where Anna Ohanyan discussed a new approach to identifiying spelling corrections. Apache Lucene 5: New Features and Improvements for Apache Solr and Elasticsearch which was an exciting look forwards to the imminent upstream changes to Lucene. Finally, Alex Brasetvik's talk Elasticsearch from the Bottom Up attracted a huge crowd with all seating and standing space occupied. His presentation discussed the abstraction layers over Lucene that Elasticsearch provides, starting from the Inverted Index, up. All highly recommended.

After the talks, it was great to hang out with the Elasticsearch crew, and get excited about Elastic{on}, the first official Elasticsearch User Conference, which is happening next month.

Other talks

FOSDEM gets really busy and often talks fill up very quickly, and have to close their doors. Although sometimes frustrating, this offers the opportunity to try something new, or learn about other niche areas of the open source movement. Some of the most interesting presentations from the weekend, were actually in talks that I had not initially intended to attend!

Closing keynote

This years' closing keynote was fascinating: Presented by Ryan MacDonald one of the final 660 Astronaut Candidates for the ambitious Mars One project.

In a first for human spaceflight, the Mars One project intends to send 4 people on a one-way mission of permanent settlement to Mars in 2025. This will be preceded by a series of unmanned precursor missions, the first one of which is planned for a 2018 departure. What makes Mars One unique is that it is entirely privately funded, international, and apolitical, which enabled it to launch a global astronaut selection process in 2013 - to which over 200,000 people from over 140 countries applied.

Ryan discussed the intentions of this project, and how applying open source principles to the project will be integeral to its' success. A funny, interesting and engaging speaker made this a really memorable presentation.

The Atomium

Before travelling back to London, I wandered over to the Atomium, which has to be the most unique building I have ever seen. I had just enough time to create a quick Cameo of the stunning architecture.

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