Fosdem 101

'Fosdem ain't like any other conference.' "Ahh, such an overrated statement, I thought to myself." I have been attending and organizing events for years now. "I attended PyCon US with 3500+ attendees and organized a conference with 1000+ people; most importantly, I come from India; nothing can break me." It was such a grave (with G ) mistake on my part. I was completely clueless and lost in the event. I decided to put down the reference notes before going to Fosdem next time.

The preparation should be twofold. One, before traveling, two, the day before the conference, and third, during the conference.

Before traveling

Flu shot

Fosdem is infamous for its flu. Trust me, I and many of my team members got it, and it's nasty. I didn't get the flu shot and suffered (and how). Get your flu shots early enough to be effective during the conference.

Prior appointments

The conference is enormous. Trillion activities are going on at the same time. So unlike other conferences, everyone only comes across one another despite spending two days at the same venue. So, if you want to meet people, make plans way early. Fix the appointment (date, time, and exact location)

Fringe Events

There are many events in and around the conference days in Belgium. Such as CentOS Connect, the EU Open Source Policy Summit, Config Management Camp, etc. Look for such events to visit.

Hotel Booking

There needs to be more places to stay near the conference venue. The most convenient places are near the city center. Try to book the hotels in advance, especially in the city center. If you wait, there is a high likelihood you won't be able to get the place. Also, check the distance from the conference venue. Coordinate with your friends if you want to stay at the same hotel.

Perp before the day of the conference


We need to pack a water bottle and some food. You might need more time/energy or a chance to stand in the long queue for food. So better be ready with your stock.


There will be a lot of interesting discussions and new and old contacts that you will need help remembering. So you need to take a lot of notes. Take your notebook or pen, or charge the note-taking device.

Pack light

There will only be a few chances to sit, so pack light. If you do not want to have a sore back after the conference. Charge your laptop


The days of the conference

The conference venue is huge and needs to be clarified (at least for the first-timer). Find out where are rooms are beforehand since it is going to be long queues.

Start early

Start earlier than usual if you want to meet someone at a particular time. You will encounter some of your friends and get stopped from engaging in the conference.


If you carry your cards, run a booth, or have any giveaways, slot them throughout the day so you stay supplied on the first go. However many you carry, you will finish the stuff.


The rooms get filled up very quickly. If you wish to attend any talks, make a list and try to get into the room at the very beginning of the schedule. Otherwise, you have very few chances to get inside the room.


Hallway Tracks

Hallway tracks are the most exciting place to be in. All the intriguing discussions happen here, starting from technology, community, the legal, and policy, you name it. You will find your next best project idea. Remember the famous Pacman rule: leaving space for someone to join your group in a circle, like the Pacman logo. You may find the person you look up to, your mentor, a fellow developer to work with you on your project, or your friend. But one thing is for sure: you will find your community there.

So have a proper breakfast and run to the venue because "Fosdem ain't like any other conference."

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