Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Over 550 videos of 870 talks from FOSDEM 2020 have now been uploaded (fosdem.org)
401 points by jonatron 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 55 comments

It's pretty amazing that a volunteer-organized event like FOSDEM can turn around video from the event like that. Lots of company-run events can take ages to put video up assuming that they do so at all.

In all fairness, I think companies often feel they have to release polished videos that have gone through a relatively thorough editing process and then have to justify the ROI associated with paying to have the videos created and edited. And the reality is that 30-60 minute filmed presentations often get just a handful of YouTube views.

Nonetheless, it's impressive that FOSDEM gets all this posted. It's especially nice because, even if you were there, so much is going on at the same time and it's often so hard to get into rooms that it's nice to catch up on anything you really wanted to see but missed.

FOSDEM does some nice crowd sourcing by having presenters login and review the video of their own talks, identifying the appropriate start/end times and flagging whether any postprocessing/recovery is needed, then self-approving for publishing. Pretty impressive!

Do you know what tool/vendor they are using to do this? As an event organizer, this piques my interest.

Homebrew I'd imagine.

Former FOSDEM volunteer here. They've been doing this for 20 years. Most of the processes get better every iteration, so by now it's sort of a well-oiled machine.

Except for crowd control. That will never improve ;-)

Is it a volunteer organized event, really? IIRC, there is a non-negligeable number of staff nowadays. And an NGO that likely pays salaries.

Unfortunately, they do not report annual accounts to the National Bank [1] so I can't check. They do not seem to have financial statements online, which is a pity.

[1] https://cri.nbb.be/bc9/web/catalog;jsessionid=EB073167100A6A...

I know a few people in the main org (as in: listed on the website on the about page), and they are unpaid volunteers. I'd be surprised if any of them were paid, they all have daytime jobs...

My understanding is that it is primarily volunteer although they have a small full-time staff (https://fosdem.org/2020/volunteer/) who may also be volunteers and, of course, many of the weekend volunteers are doing this as a part or quasi-part of their day job. In any case, it's certainly in a different category than a show that's basically entirely handled by paid staff and contracted events people.

No one in the organisation gets paid. Some work year-round on it, but it doesn't mean full-time.

(I started fosdem, and keeping it a volunteer event was always a priority. I'm not active in the organisation these days, but got the confirmation this week-end that none of the team gets paid)

Raphaël! Thanks for sharing. "Staff" hoodies are misleading, then. I think I've seen at least a dozen of those this year, and (wrongly) assumed that these were made for FOSDEM staff in the the common sense of the term.

P.S. Thank you for starting such a successful endeavour.

"staff" just means they volunteer around the year. Volunteers help out during the weekend.

What a bad choice of name! I may not be the only one who was thinking of people in yellow "Staff" hoodies as employees/contractors.

There is nothing inherently bad in getting paid, it's just that it's cooler when everyone knows that FOSDEM is a real volunteer-organized event.

“Staff” just means “official representative of the organisation” in this context.

I had not assumed anything regarding payment in that context.

But googling around for definitions does lead to the conclusion that “staff” == “employed” and “employed” == “paid”.

I guess you could use the second definition of staff to mean “close representative” although that definition seems to be from the army. (“A general and their staff”)

They are core staff and the shirts show leadership. Getting paid or not they make the decisions or at least lead the group in implementing items previously decided on.

Is there a description anywhere of the software and hardware stack they use to record and publish the conference videos?

Sunday there was a talk describing it in detail https://fosdem.org/2020/schedule/event/videobox/

There was a talk on it this year, which you can watch here: https://fosdem.org/2020/schedule/event/videobox/

TLDR: Current setup is some Frankenstein monster of various black boxes (scaler, encoder, splitter etc) that uses a Banana Pi with annoying restrictions. They are developing a bespoke solution that should be far smaller, cheaper and without the annoying restrictions.

I attended and spoke at FOSDEM for the first time this year (you can see my talk here https://fosdem.org/2020/schedule/event/riscv_lowrisc/) and was very impressed at the video setup. I got a link the same day to edit the video. You get a simple interface (watch video, adjust end points, choose audio channel) and after confirming everything looks good it gets transcoded and uploaded in short order (I reviewed my talk around 8pm the day I gave it, think it was available from 8:30).

went last year. Many talks were so far over capacity you couldn't even squeeze in to stand, let alone get a seat. If there was a talk you really wanted to attend, the only way to have a good chance was to go and queue outside 15 minutes before it started, meaning skipping/leaving another talk. Glad I am watching this year's talks from home.

I didn't go last year and just dropped in quickly the year before to give my talk. My strategy this year was pretty much to spend a good chunk of each day hanging out in either a devroom or somewhere that you're likely to have serendipitous hallway track encounters. Trying to constantly move from often packed room to room across a somewhat spread out campus is mostly an exercise in frustration.

Yeah it's getting too crowded... Didn't go this year although it's just a 30min drive for me. Last time I just found myself a quiet spot somewhere on-campus and followed the livestreams of the rooms I wanted to see, didn't even bother trying to enter the rooms...

I'm often at events mostly to meet people, aka hallway track etc. I do go to sessions too, in part because video posting can be unreliable/very delayed but also because I know I'll often never get around to watching the videos anyway. That said, keynotes at large events I tend to watch streaming as I have very little interest in getting crowded into a room with 10,000 of my closest friends so I can watch the speaker on the distant stage up on a monitor :-)

Really? You are always able to get into Janson or the other big one.

I think the atmosphere is definitely worth it.

>You are always able to get into Janson or the other big one.

Not always. The one time I tried on the morning of the first day it was full.

Yes okay sry. If you are trying to get inthe first and only talk in the morning (the keynote which explains what fosdem is) then you might not be able to get into that one.

It was the one after that. But fair enough that a lot of people show up for the opening keynotes to start out. That said, the event was very crowded generally and you really did need some sort of strategy that took that into account. I was a lot more organized this year than I've been in some years past and was able to better use my time and minimize frustration as a result.

I absolutely loved going to FOSDEM this year for the first time. It's an amazing community!

Any talks you can recommend?

Regaining control of your smartphone with postmarketOS and Maemo Leste - Status of Linux on the smartphone was p nice if you're interested on Linux running on smartphones



Really depends on what you're interested in. I pretty much camped out in the Community devroom on Sunday and it had a number of interesting talks. If you're interested in licensing/policy, the Legal & Policy devroom talks/debates are also good.

That's a lot of videos. What are some that yall would recommend starting with?

Will the leftover 320 video also be uploaded? I'm particularly interested in 2 talks which haven't been uploaded yet.

Most will, you can check on the status at: https://review.video.fosdem.org/overview

Will these videos make their way into the Internet Archive? Or should someone perform this archival operation themselves?

Replying to my own comment for historical reference purposes: FOSDEM will upload to the Internet Archive.

I feel like taking off a year and exploring these.

OT: I'm curious if they could run into problems with this over accessibility?

In the US, universities have been forced under the ADA [1] to take down videos of old lectures because they were not closed captioned. Does Europe (the videos are hosted in Belgium, at least according to MaxMind's GeoIP database) have anything similar?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Ac...

Was there case law behind that decision remove those videos, or was it typical University legal cya running the show?

Apparently the US Department of Justice told them they were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. [1]

"The Justice Department, following an investigation, in August determined that the university was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The department reached that conclusion after receiving complaints from two employees of Gallaudet University, saying Berkeley’s free online educational content was inaccessible to blind and deaf people because of a lack of captions, screen reader compatibility and other issues."

The ADA does not apply in Europe but I have no idea what Belgian/EU laws there are.

[1] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/06/u-california-...

Lawsuits most likely, it's fairly common for disabled people to sue entities over such things and law suits are very expensive even if you win.

edit: For example, https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahkim/2019/11/29/harvard-uni...

That only mandates

> and any new university created audio or video

it doesn't seem like it would require removing blanket access to archived lectures.

For that lawsuit and those universities after they paid out the settlement and legal fees. Another university that has old lectures can still get sued for those in a separate lawsuit. Then they'd need to pay out a settlement, legal fees and so on to maybe get to keep old videos up. The lawyers suing won't care, they just want the settlement money. Easier to just get rid of all the videos.

Some are lawsuits, as noted already by marcinzm.

Others have been DOJ rulings. A couple employees of Gallaudet University (a school for deaf people) filed a complaint with the DOJ against UC Berekely [1] over 20000 videos that Berkeley had made available to the public. The DOJ investigated, told Berkeley that it was violating the ADA, and ordered Berkeley to make the 20000 videos in question accessible.

Berkeley instead made the rational decision to remove access to the videos. That was rational because most of the videos were not being used by Berkeley students or staff. They were mostly just being used by the general public. It would have cost a lot of money to make them all accessible, money that they felt could be better used on things Berkeley students and staff were using. They could only justify captioning old videos when deaf Berkeley students or staff wanted to watch them.

[1] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/03/06/u-california-...

Does someone know if this is provided by a torrent file?

Was my first time as well this year, long time lurker. Especially liked the closing talk of maddog, but it seems it's not available (yet?) on the page.

I attended the one that followed (https://fosdem.org/2020/schedule/event/fosdem_at_20/, no video yet), but the sound quality was atrocious, at least in my (left) part of the amphitheater. So bad that the guy next to me was following the stream with headphones instead. Which is strange, as I attended some other talks at the same place, and they were fine.

As a result, I didn't get much of what we were being told at the end. My friends shamed me a bit for complaining about sound quality to the person who gave us delicious cupcakes at the exit. If that was someone here, my apologies!

Second time in a row for me, I'm pretty sure I'll attend next year as well. Maybe not so much for the talks, but I had some great fun in BoF rooms as well, and there are a few sprints during the week that I will try to attend next time. Also, going by bus (11h) was a bad idea, I should at least have taken a day off.

Last year, I visited building K (with the welcome desk and the information leaflets) near the end of the last day, which I regretted a lot, as it was packed with practical info. If that's your first time as well, maybe start there?

Looking forward to an official Matrix room as well as https://nav.fosdem.org next year :)

Thanks for the advice! I agree the sound quality was not always the best, especially in small rooms.

The Friday before we went to a bar with colleagues, we ended up going back to the hotel around 5AM to wake up at 8AM... And then we had a 3 hours trip to go back, and I was working the next day. I should have taken days off too haha.

I was pretty excited during the Linux on Smartphone talk when the guys asked how many people were running Android and almost everybody raised their hands, then he said he would expect most of these people to run Linux at FOSDEM 2021.

This is great. I was there and couldn't get into some rooms (which was expected) and I am going to gradually watch those talks that I have missed.

Awesome resource. I thought "State of the Onion" was a Perl thing though? I guess Tor uses it now too?

They have bee using it for many, many years. I didn't know somebody else used it. Seems pretty clear given the logo, not sure why it fits Perl.

News to me. Larry Wall's SOTO speeches are some of the most interesting talks I've read. I think he just chose the name to be funny. https://www.perl.com/tags/state-of-the-onion/

Waiting for the Maddog video as well. Hopefully these make it to youtube so I can listen at 2x speed.

First year I missed in due to my dad going under the knife on that very week end.

Nice to have the videos indeed!

Is it just me, or are the mobile pages not showing video recordings each talk page?

Applications are open for YC Summer 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact