So the greatest FOSS event of the year has come to an end. Thousands of geeks, hundreds of talks, and just a really wonderful atmosphere everywhere (see the pictures flowing in). I caught up with my backlog of emails and feeds from Friday and the weekend in only 15 minutes, which pretty much sums up what was happening in the world of FOSS at the time.

Very glad to see successful KDE (with Amarok) and openSUSE booths about. We gave out over a whoopin’ 1000 openSUSE Promo DVDs (Live+Install, with KDE/GNOME/Xfce).

Our KDE 4 desktop received a lot of attention, and unfortunately quite a few crashes at some points as we were running a very recent trunk snapshot. Still, many users very impressed with Dolphin, the new Kate, Gwenview, KWin Composite effects, the Kickoff menu and our super-sized Plasma clock. To put your mind at ease, I can promise you that we have no direct affiliation with Flavor Flave. :-)

Some things in particular that I took from the event:

Linkat: a distribution for the education department in Catalunya

The Jordis presented the very professional Linkat, a SUSE-based Linux distribution now endorsed and promoted by the Catalynian government for schools and communities there, with all kinds of FOSS educational software.

Linkat Boxed Product

Interesting to hear about the many challenges faced: for example, they were asked to include the latest packages but to also provide long term support. So what did they do? They use openSUSE packages when they need to have the latest-and-greatest (which comes with 2 years of security and update support), and SLED for the base packages and everything else (7 years of support). Watch this space.

The new Sat Solver

Probably the talk that personally interested me the most. Michael gave a quick overview of the workings into making a package management solver. The new one is completely based on standard SAT algorithms (boolean satisfiability problem), which has nice advantages like the simple fact that there are insanely fast algorithms for computing such problems. Such small problems (in comparison) like our “very complex” package management decisions take milliseconds under this model.

This, combined with the new solv files (for repo metadata), makes for extremely fast package management.

Other highlights:

  • Timo’s very well-attended Kernel, udev, D-Bus, HAL, NetworkManager and Friends gave a really nice and quick insight into how you can debug any problems with this stack using his tidy little event notification application. The example provided was unsupported multimedia keys (surprisingly easy to fix). Will find the web link for it soon.
  • Nice talk on KIWI which I’ve written about before. The more time that passes, the more I’m convinced that applications designed as distribution-independent tools (like the OBS, PackageKit, Klik, Smolt) like KIWI are completely the way forward.
  • Great to finally properly meet so many more developers (too many to list).

Huge thanks to Pascal Bleser and the rest of the FOSDEM team working tirelessly to ensure that FOSDEM ran so smoothly. Nice events like that make me very happy; looking forward to FOSDEM 2009! :-)