Well, the annual pan-European open source jamboree that is FOSDEM, marking its 20th anniversary this year, has come and gone again. OpenNMS developer Ronny Trommer and I were there to sample the mood and fly the OpenNMS flag.

Geeks in Brussels

Each year around 6000 geeks (mostly male and in anoraks) descend on the Université Libre de Bruxelles where over 50 lecture rooms are dedicated to the discussion of all things open source. Subjects range from legal and licencing to open source hardware. Developer rooms are dedicated to specific technical topics such as GIS, Pearl programming, or software-defined networking (SDN). Many of the major open source projects staff a table to promote their work, with the Linux Foundation, Apache, and Eclipse among the biggest presences. The conference is free to attend and run by volunteers.

Geeks heading to the ULB campus.

Ronny and I toured the stands and mostly hung out in the IoT, monitoring, and SDN rooms. We also met up with an old friend of OpenNMS, Patrick Tuit, who was over from Ireland.

This is my fifth FOSDEM, so you might consider me an old hand. The biggest problem with the conference is that there is an awful lot going on and many of the venues are packed and hard to get into. You have to know what you want to see and get there early. My strategy is to stay put once I am in a track and leave only if I need a comfort break :). This means that I end up missing some things but I usually learn something new that I squirrel away for future reference.

IoT and OpenHAB

This year I was after information on IoT. I visited the OpenHAB table and had a long chat with one of the developers to understand the rationale of the project. OpenHAB is targeted at creating a Karaf-based platform for a home hub. It was part of the Eclipse Foundation for a while, but recently left, apparently because they felt the Eclipse process was slowing them down. My main interest in OpenHAB is to understand what, if any, synergy there might be with OpenNMS Minions. For a similar reason I was interested in the Eclipse Foundation's IoT projects, which Bosch is contributing to. Unfortunately, Ubuntu was noticeable by its absence, and I was not able to get a local take on Ubuntu Core's plans for the Raspberry Pi.

Until Next Year

As always, I came away from FOSDEM glad that I went but frustrated at all of the things I was not able to see. A few years ago OpenNMS volunteered a stand at the show, which acted as a magnet for OpenNMS users and I felt gave us a bit more focus. We have also submitted talks in the past to the monitoring track, which helps build mindshare for the project. It may be time to try that again and also to try to organize an OpenNMS training or promotional event before the show. Any feedback or opinions on this would be welcome.