Highlights from FOSDEM 2016

By on February 20, 2016
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Like every year, the FOSDEM, Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting, happened on 30 and 31 January in Brussels and proved itself yet another time the most important European meeting for the Free Software Community.

Organised by volunteers and free to attend, FOSDEM distinguishes itself from classic conferences by being oriented to communication between developers and very little commercial marketing. This makes it a great chance for many projects to discuss new ideas and receive feedback on the project’s direction.

The conference is hosted by the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and is distributed on tens of rooms, each one dedicated to a theme like a programming language or office suites, but also Electronic Design Automation, embedded environments, Internet of Things and Software Defined Radio.

Among the hundreds of projects who had a presence with talks or stands, some may be of special interest for the readers of this blog.

One of the projects in the EDA room was Kicad, with multiple talks including the testimony of a company with years of experience in the design and production of electronic boards which is in the process of adopting it for their workflow instead of EAGLE, starting from simple boards and increasing complexity up to a few Single Board Computers.
A different and innovative approach to PCB design was shown by PCBmodE, a tool to design artistic PCBs that leverages Inkscape — a common vector graphics program — as a GUI to be able to “paint” circuits.

Among microcontroller based projects, there were two vintage gaming consoles in the Gaming devroom: one based on Arduino Leonardo (Arduboy) and another based on a 32 bit micro (bitbox).
Another project was brainduino, a board to amplify brain signals in order to read and process them on a PC.

Linux-based boards were mostly represented by ARM-based laptop projects, ranging from DIY Raspberry-pi based solutions to the consumer-grade ones Olimex is currently working on.

Every devroom had cameras and most talks were recorded and streamed: the videos will be published gradually here, as soon as they are reviewed and encoded.

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