Well, that was pretty wild!
We’re very proud to have sponsored FOSDEM this year, and to have had extra skin in the game by helping FOSDEM go virtual. There is a full write up about how Matrix at FOSDEM worked on the Matrix blog, so we’ll just cover a few highlights here.
For those that don’t already know, FOSDEM is the world’s largest free and open source software conference. It’s usually an in-person event but - no surprise - that wasn’t going to happen in February 2021.
Spinning it up
To help going virtual be as smooth as possible, we hosted FOSDEM on Element Matrix Services (EMS). Piggy-backing on that existing infrastructure is quicker and easier than an on-premise deployment, but still provides data sovereignty given you can use your own DNS records.
Such flexibility meant that FOSDEM was able to have a communications infrastructure to support 35,000 attendees for a two day event, complete with video conferencing, used to host all the Q&A sessions, hallway sessions, stands and other adhoc video conferences.
A Matrix bot, written from scratch for FOSDEM by Element’s TravisR, orchestrated the overall conference on Matrix, maintaining all the necessary rooms with the correct permissions, widgets, invites, etc.
A home without walled gardens
With Matrix being an open standard, anyone already on Matrix (including users bridged to Matrix from IRC, XMPP, Slack, Discord etc) could attend directly - in addition to users signing up for the first time on the FOSDEM server.
Such inclusivity helped generate some impressive statistics:
- Almost 30,000 local users on the (EMS hosted) FOSDEM server + 4,000 remote users from elsewhere in Matrix
- 24,826 guests (read-only invisible users) on the FOSDEM server
- More than 8,000 distinct users actively joined to the public FOSDEM rooms
- …of which almost 4,000 registered on the FOSDEM server (meaning over half of actively participating attendees for FOSDEM were already on Matrix!)
- These numbers don’t count users who were viewing the livestreams directly, but only those who were attending via Matrix
We ❤️ FOSDEM!
For FOSDEM to trust us with its virtual debut was a huge honour, and we’re delighted that it worked out well.
As for next year…