The past four days I spent at 36C3, this year’s instance of the Chaos Communication Congress, presenting KDE Itinerary and meeting many people working on adjacent/overlapping things, hopefully enabling some interesting opportunities for collaboration.

The Event

Chaos Communication Congress is huge, approaching 20k visitors, more than twice the amount of FOSDEM, and significantly more space so that it doesn’t feel overcrowded despite that. I only knew the main five track conference program from watching video recordings before, but there’s 20+ secondary stages with an even larger talk program, as well as two giant halls full of project stands, art installations and meeting- and work spaces.

The infrastructure deployed there outclasses even the most expensively produced commercial conferences I have been to so far, and it’s all done by volunteers. Truly impressive.

Topics are extremely diverse and go far beyond just software development, or even technology in general. Politics and policy making, social/ethical questions, art and culture, environmental protection and many more topics are also present, next to tons of technical and scientific content of course. Besides just being extremely interesting and inspiring, it allows for networking with a wide range of people that you might not run into on the usual software conferences.

KDE Itinerary

I was given the opportunity to present our work on KDE Itinerary on the WikipakaWG stage (part of the joint presence of Wikimedia and the Open Knowledge Foundation). A big thanks for that again!

The slides are here. At this point there is no released video recording yet, until that’s available you should still find the relive stream.

Besides showing overall what we are doing and have built so far, and why this matters, we managed to have a few sneak preview screenshots of the latest developments that haven’t been shown anywhere before yet. Another such preview could be spotted in a presentation of another project at the event. So stay tuned for announcements in January :)

Following that I got a large amount of input and positive feedback, people seem to like the idea of a privacy first digital travel assistant. This also lead to a number of interesting contacts for possible collaborations in 2020, let’s see what comes out of this.

KDE at Congress

There were only very few KDE people at 36C3, and only very few talks covering KDE projects. I did spot a very well attended talk about Linux-based mobile platforms covering Plasma Mobile by someone I didn’t know yet, so there definitely seems to be interest in KDE’s work there.

I mainly focused on mobility or open transport data topics for KDE Itinerary, that left little time to cover other things highly relevant for KDE like free mobile platforms, environmental impact of software, Free Software in public administration, or let alone the enormous field of privacy related topics.

I’d therefore suggest KDE to attend with a larger team next time, not necessarily with a stationary presence, but with more people to present our work and to connect with others with overlapping interests.


Happy new year everyone! Looks like there’s some exciting things coming in 2020 :)