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Linux Journal: About Fosdem

Feb 19, 2003, 09:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Frank Van Damme)

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"Fosdem isn't merely about trying to put as much technical data as possible into your head in one weekend. Above all, the meeting is a social event, in which developers and free software enthusiasts from around the world meet and chat. John 'maddog' Hall was among the first to show up at the Roy d'Espagne bar at the Grand Place Friday evening; by the end of the night we could have filled the entire second floor. Apparently maddog has a thing for Duvel beer.

"I had a nice conversation with (among others) Brian King, a good guy who ran a session about how to program applications that use the Mozilla framework and component model. For most people, Mozilla is simply a browser or an HTML-rendering engine. But there is much more to Mozilla. The extensibility of the Mozilla package is simply amazing. You can use it to create user interfaces for your application using a markup language, or you can use it to write full applications in, for example, JavaScript. Mozilla uses its Gecko rendering engine to draw the widgets for Mozilla and Mozilla applications. This is called the XUL interface. Mozilla even features a full built-in component model called XPCOM. Brian recently co-authored a book on the subject, titled Creating Applications with Mozilla. A good example of this kind of application is the full-fledged CSS editor Cascades, which fits neatly into the Mozilla composer.

"The event itself typically is developer-centric. People speak about the innerworkings of their software, offer presentations on how to use it in other products or sit behind a table all day answering thousands of questions from the crowd. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend complete newbies come to Fosdem, as the technical level is quite high. Most of the sessions, though, are fairly comprehensible even by non-developers. Personally, I am currently trying to understand the writings of Steve Oualline in Practical C Programming, and I found Fosdem most interesting..."

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