FOSDEM 2022’s communication infrastructure was provided by Element Matrix Services

February 14, 2022

FOSDEM 2022 took place on Matrix 5-6 February, seeing anyone enthusiastic about free and open source software - from anywhere across the globe - meet, share ideas and collaborate.

For a full write up from a pure Matrix perspective, visit the Matrix blog post.

Element was a sponsor of FOSDEM 2022 and our Element Matrix Services (EMS) team provided all of the chat infrastructure for this year’s event. Congratulations to everyone involved, it was a huge success and we’re delighted to have been part of the adventure again! It’s the second year Element Matrix Services has provided the Matrix infrastructure and both times it’s been an absolute highlight for us.

Powered by Element Matrix Services (EMS)

Hosting the event’s chat infrastructure this year saw us connect a total of 23K attendees across 941 rooms with 654 speakers, 103 tracks and 41 stands. There was no shortage of interesting topics up for discussion throughout the event.

Hosting your own dog food

FOSDEM is a great opportunity to showcase the powerful capabilities EMS offers to anyone wanting to use Matrix on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service basis.

The event takes place over the course of a weekend and goes from not existing to fully up-and-running with 23K users in a click of the fingers. Only a mature infrastructure like EMS, the largest Matrix hosting platform, is able to support such a growth, alongside the resource demand from all these hundreds of video streams running in parallel.

The event utilised a number of default Element features such as: Spaces to organise the tracks and rooms; maximised widgets (see screenshot below) for full enjoyment of video, whilst keeping an eye on chat; and powerful moderation tools which meant an attempted spam attack went totally unnoticed by attendees. Element was also able to provide custom features like: the schedule widget which provided details of ongoing and upcoming talks in a room; automatic Q&A live video conferencing setup; and custom bots for timely reminders of when talks where about to start or finish. All the attendees had to do was to sit back and click through the various rooms to be dropped into the latest and greatest open source had to offer: the most interesting TV station you’ve ever seen!

Meanwhile volunteers from every project were hosting detailed chats about their preferred topic in the stands rooms, answering the most in depth questions or just catching up as a community. Only swag and waffles were missing from the Brussels experience!

Hosting by the people

The most exciting statistic from this year’s FOSDEM is that 70% of the participants attended via their own Matrix-based accounts (leaving only 30% of participants registered on FOSDEM servers).

The significance of this is it showcases a real-world example of decentralised, federated networks enabling users to communicate (1:1 or in groups) while never sending their data via any centralised/proprietary networks. This is interoperable communication in the wild with absolutely no data-mining or advertising going on behind the scenes. In a way, we didn’t actually host the conference… Everyone did!

What Element Matrix Services delivered for FOSDEM 2022 is just a part of our Matrix-as-a-Service offer. If you want the data sovereign, E2EE open network power of Matrix infrastructure as a fully managed service get in touch.

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