Some FOSDEM 2008 impressions

That was my forth year attending Fosdem. And, as Zbigniew commented when this 2008 edition started as well, it is always a pity not being able to listen all the talks you may be interested in coinciding at the same time.
I was most of the time in Mozilla Developer Room where some of the new hot topics within Mozilla ecosystem where presented and discussed. Below, I will briefly comment some of the Mozilla talks I attended:

Mozilla Europe surveys
Since a few months ago, Staś, Seth and Pascal made possible the first European Mozilla communitary surveys. They presented a large amount of statistical information about the results, and suggested which points might be changed in order to improve the targeting in future surveys. I should not forget asking them some data for studying what might be rellevant for our Catalan community.
SUMO
David Tenser described the new Mozilla support portal (built mainly over TikiWiki software), which is going to host Firefox 3 help online (Firefox 2 one is online as well), and intends to be useful helping those communities which may have some present problems keeping an updated documentation. Despite it's currently only a Firefox content site, this might be expanded to other Mozilla products in the future.
Miro
Despite I knew Miro already, I had not devoted much time to explore this Mozilla-based application. This is actually an Internet TV program which allows you to retrieve video podcasts and create and keep up-to-date channels from predefined sources or user-defined searches. The speaker, Homes Wilson, cofounder of Participatory Culture Foundation -the company behind Miro-, defended this tool as a way for democratizing video publishing in Internet.
Localization
Mozilla localization is still nowadays a pain in the ass for novice localizers with little or average technical knowledge. Among some of the tools that were presented, I would point out the well-known Gettext ones devised by Translate.org.za team and also Narro, a web-based interface for translating Mozilla products.
Some of the Translatewiki guys, also present in the talk, showed the tools which are used in Mediawiki multilingual localization.
I have as a pending task further studying them all so we could pose whether using them in our community.
SeaMonkey 2
Robert Kaiser presented his experience and impressions in community issues and handling, specifically focused on the upcoming SeaMonkey 2 release. You have more details in his blog and slides.
Mozilla Mobile
After a maybe unsuccessful Minimo, but with much experience gained, Firefox is going to be ported to handheld and mobile devices. According to present timelines, first releases could appear around the end of 2008. A year ago, Mozilla was said to state that many resources would not be spent in this area, but this has been reconsidered, I suppose after mobile products such as Skyfire, actually based on Mozilla technology, have arrived at the market.

Compared to my previous years, this time I was accompanied by a larger local representation, Eduard and Quim of Catalan localization team, and also Marc, who is specially interested in extension development, and also joined us in the Mozilla 10th anniversary party.
The actual celebration took place in a centric bowling place in Brussels, where we had a wonderful time talking, eating, and of course, bowling. Catalan and Spanish teams, before getting lost together in Brussels night, took a friendly bowling match which finally got aborted as the drinks were beign served.

I personally regret not having more time to know more some of the people and initiatives which take place within our communities. For example, this time I had the chance of knowing a bit the Italian community, which has also documented their FOSDEM experience.

Apart from the above Mozilla sessions and the opening talks, I was also in the first public international community presentation of Linkat, a Catalonian educational Linux distribution based on openSUSE, and whose second release is going to be available this April. Furthermore, their countributions are going to be incorporated in the incipient openSUSE Education initiative. Great news!

  • My photos in Flickr. Sadly, on my second day in Brussels, and after many months of capturing nerds' events and wild nights, my camera finally died. I had delayed too much time the purchase of a new camera and now this seems to be inevitable, unless I am able to stand my paparazzi-like deviant cold turkey.
  • FOSDEM 2008 Mozilla Happenings

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