Foo comes to Europe

by Matthew Langham

Yesterday afternoon I returned from the first Foo camp (for Friends of O’Reilly) held in Europe. “EuroFoo” was held over the past weekend at the University of Twente in Enschede in the Netherlands. Luckily, that’s just a 2 hour drive from where I live in Germany. One of the great things about Europe (now) is how easy it is to “cross borders”. You can really cross from one country into the other without noticing. Of course the language changes and you suddenly don’t understand the road-signs – but I digress.

First off, I’m way happy that at last O’Reilly is beginning to move some of the US “conferences” (yes I know Foo is an “invitation only” event and not so much a conference) over to Europe. I’ve ranted often enough about that in the past. And it does look as though we’ll see a European version of OSCON in the not too distant future.

EuroFoo was extremely interesting with a great mix of topics being presented and discussed by around 120 people from all over Europe who “really know stuff”. Talks ranged from “lock picking” to the “BBC creative archive” to “Bluetooth and Linux” to “Brain hacks”. Take a look at the Saturday schedule to get an idea of the diversity. In all, it seemed to me that the subjects of the sessions were slightly less “geeky” compared to what I had read about the US version. I would personally also have liked more of the sessions to be “discussion and brainstorming” affairs and not so much “lectures”. But maybe that’s just me. Of course the main problem with something like EuroFoo, with so much going on, is that you can only be in one place at any given time. So you miss all the other good stuff.

After a day of sessions it was “socializing time” over some good food and beers. At last I got to meet plenty of people I’ve only emailed and can now put faces to names at last. EuroFoo was a great event and I brought away loads of things to think about and look into in the future. Hopefully there will be a repeat event next year.

Quite a bit of information with links to pictures and blogs can be found over on the EuroFoo wiki which was also used extensively before EuroFoo to set up and discuss the sessions.