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Last month I was honored to experience my first FOSDEM as a devroom manager, for the Virtualization & Infrastructure-as-a-Service room. Despite my previous experience running open source events and my experience with FOSDEM as an attendee, running a devroom was a whole new beast, due to the sheer size of the conference and the broad scope of the devroom content.

The 500-person room was really well-attended, with many interesting talks about areas such as KVM/QEMU, libvirt, OpenStack, oVirt, Xen, and container integrations. For the most part, we had around 80% capacity, with notable exceptions being Containers and Virtualization by Joe Brockmeier, which packed the room to capacity, as well as I Find Your Lack of Threads Disturbing by Paolo Bonzini and Oh My! Oh My Vagrant by James Shubin, both of which came as very close runner-ups.

As the oVirt community lead, I was happy to see a good presence from our project’s contributors, both as speakers and as volunteers at the devroom and at the oVirt/Foreman booth. I was also excited to have a few important integration-focused talks at the devroom, such as Managing Ceph through Cinder Using oVirt by Maor Lipchuk and oVirt—Let’s Hyperconverge [with Gluster]! by Martin Sivak. I love cross-project integrations, and encourage everyone to explore different ways that we can share our projects and leverage them together to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

We also had fun sharing a booth with the Foreman project, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it to that side of the campus for extended periods of time so I entrusted the booth to my esteemed peers Brian Proffitt and Greg Sutcliffe, who coordinated the volunteers and kept the swag flowing. We had live demos for both oVirt and Foreman, and the folks reported back that they had a great time meeting long-standing community contributors and users, as well as showing what our open-source virtualization projects can do to new and future community members.

From an organizer perspective, we were fortunate that the FOSDEM staff made some changes to their practices and this year was the first year where devrooms didn’t need to set up and tear down their video equipment. This meant that when we showed up in the morning, the camera and sound equipment were already prepared in the devroom, and all we needed to do was monitor the streaming and mark in-and-out points for the presentations.

Unfortunately, the new streaming and recording system still had some teething pains, and most of the devrooms don’t have any footage of talks before noon on Saturday. Also, the talk markings never got recorded, so all the devroom managers have been working since to re-watch the talks after the videos were uploaded to the hosting server and mark the start and end times again for each talk.

We also had some unique trouble with the electronics in the room, from starting 20 minutes late on Saturday due to a power outage, to picking up signals from other devrooms through our wireless microphones during most of Saturday afternoon. In fact, our room became humorously known as the “haunted devroom,” with the ghosts of FOSDEM present speaking to us from the frequency divide.

Technical problems aside, we didn’t experience any human-related issues throughout the event. All of our speakers were accounted for and prepared, as well as our volunteers (we even had to send people away because we had too many willing and able folks to operate the room!). The FOSDEM organizers were always available and kind to us, and overall I was relieved that everyone treated the experience as it should be—a community roller coaster ride that we should enjoy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Virt & IaaS devroom core team for all their help: Giuseppe Paterno, Doron Fediuck, Rich Bowen, and Joe Brockmeier, who kept me sane before and during the conference and streamlined so many of our devroom operations, and Luca Gibelli and Dave Lester, who were in the original team and helped with much of the preparations, but due to personal reasons couldn’t make it to FOSDEM this year.

You can check out the devroom schedule page to view slides from all the presentations and the video page to watch videos. For now only Saturday's videos are available, but Sunday's videos are being uploaded and will be available on the same page in the next few days.

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