Building a Great FOSDEM Devroom

I remember the first time I rolled into the ULB Solbosch campus in Brussels. It was 2014, just after I first started with Red Hat. I was there to attend my first FOSDEM, the free software conference that holds a unique and prominent place in the technology world.

Even though I had been a writer and a community manager in the Linux and free software ecosystem for nearly 14 years, I had never had the opportunity to actually attend. (Pro tip: media companies are cheap.) So looking around that gray chilly day, I had to take a moment to take it all in.

In front of me were over 8,000 free and open source developers and enthusiasts all seeking to learn as much as possible in as many ways as possible. It was crowded, loud, and full of so many sessions I could hardly find a a way to plan to see all of them that I wanted. (Actual pro tip: the AV crew at FOSDEM is fantastic and every session is recorded.)

Getting all of these tasks together and set up is a Herculean effort. Even though FOSDEM allows individual tracks (known as “devrooms”) to organize themselves, devroom organizers still face the challenge of getting top developers, engineers, and collaborators together for informative and educational sessions.

When I first came to FOSDEM in 2014, it was to work with my new partners in the oVirt community. So I am pleased to help them announce the call for proposals is now open for the Virtualization & IaaS devroom at the upcoming FOSDEM 2020, to be hosted on February 1, 2020.

FOSDEM will be held once again on the ULB Solbosch campus Brussels, Belgium, on February 1-2, 2020.

The Virtualization & IaaS devroom is a collaborative effort, and is organized by dedicated folks from projects such as OpenStack, Xen Project, oVirt, QEMU, KVM, and Foreman. The organizers would like to invite all those who are involved in these fields to submit proposals by December 1st, 2019.

About the Devroom

The Virtualization & IaaS devroom will feature session topics such as open source hypervisors and virtual machine managers such as Xen Project, KVM, bhyve, and VirtualBox, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service projects such as KubeVirt, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack, oVirt, QEMU and OpenNebula.

This devroom will host presentations that focus on topics of shared interest, such as KVM; libvirt; shared storage; virtualized networking; cloud security; clustering and high availability; interfacing with multiple hypervisors; hyperconverged deployments; and scaling across hundreds or thousands of servers.

Presentations in this devroom will be aimed at developers working on these platforms who are looking to collaborate and improve shared infrastructure or solve common problems. We seek topics that encourage dialog between projects and continued work post-FOSDEM.

Important Dates

Submission deadline: 1 December 2019
Acceptance notifications: 10 December 2019
Final schedule announcement: 15th December 2019
Devroom: 1st February 2020

Submit Your Proposal

All submissions must be made via the Pentabarf event planning site. If you have not used Pentabarf before, you will need to create an account. If you submitted proposals for FOSDEM in previous years, you can use your existing account.

After creating the account, select Create Event to start the submission process. Make sure to select Virtualization and IaaS devroom from the Track list. Please fill out all the required fields, and provide a meaningful abstract and description of your proposed session.

Submission Guidelines

The organizers of this devroom would like to remind everyone that they expect more proposals than they can possibly accept, so it is vitally important that you submit your proposal on or before the deadline. Late submissions are unlikely to be considered.

All presentation slots are 30 minutes, with 20 minutes planned for presentations, and 10 minutes for Q&A.

As I mentioned earlier, presentations will be recorded and made available under Creative Commons licenses. In the Submission notes field, please indicate that you agree that your presentation will be licensed under the CC-By-SA-4.0 or CC-By-4.0 license and that you agree to have your presentation recorded.

For example:

“If my presentation is accepted for FOSDEM, I hereby agree to license all recordings, slides, and other associated materials under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License. Sincerely, <NAME>.”

In the Submission notes field, please also confirm that if your talk is accepted, you will be able to attend FOSDEM and deliver your presentation. Organizers will not consider proposals from prospective speakers who are unsure whether they will be able to secure funds for travel and lodging to attend FOSDEM. (Sadly, organizers are not able to offer travel funding for prospective speakers.)

Submission Guidelines

Mentored presentations will have 25-minute slots, where 20 minutes will include the presentation and 5 minutes will be reserved for questions.

The number of newcomer session slots is limited, so organizers will probably not be able to accept all applications.

You must submit your talk and abstract to apply for the mentoring program, as the mentors are volunteering their time and will happily provide feedback but won’t write your presentation for you!

If you are experiencing problems with Pentabarf, the proposal submission interface, or have other questions, you can email the devroom mailing list (iaas-virt-devroom at lists.fosdem.org) and they will try to help you.

How to Apply

In addition to agreeing to video recording and confirming that you can attend FOSDEM in case your session is accepted, please write “speaker mentoring program application” in the “Submission notes” field, and list any prior speaking experience or other relevant information for your application.

Code of Conduct

Following the release of the updated code of conduct for FOSDEM, organizers would like to remind all speakers and attendees that all of the presentations and discussions in the devroom are held under the guidelines set in the CoC and attendees, speakers, and volunteers are expected to follow the CoC at all times.

If you submit a proposal and it is accepted, you will be required to confirm that you accept the FOSDEM CoC. If you have any questions about the CoC or wish to have one of the devroom organizers review your presentation slides or any other content for CoC compliance, please email them and they will do their best to assist you.

Call for Volunteers

The organizers are also looking for volunteers to help run the devroom. They need assistance watching time for the speakers, and helping with video for the devroom. Please contact devroom mailing list for more information.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this devroom, please send your questions to the devroom mailing list. You can also subscribe to the list to receive updates about important dates, session announcements, and to connect with other attendees.

See you all at FOSDEM!

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About Brian Proffitt

Brian is a Senior Principal Community Architect for the Red Hat Open Source Program Office, responsible for community content, onboarding, and open source consulting. Brian also serves on the governing board for Project CHAOSS, a metrics-oriented approach to ascertaining community health. A former technology journalist, Brian is also a graduate lecturer at the University of Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @TheTechScribe.

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