FOSDEM 2020 conference in Brussels


We would like to share with you some experience we've had in the beginning of February while visiting FOSDEM 2020 event in Brussels.

Free and Open-source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) is an annual non-commercial, volunteer-organized European event centered on free and open-source software development. Started in 2001, FOSDEM is one of the top open-source events on the planet, usually gathering more than 8,000 participants. Thousands of open source developers from all over the world are flocking to Brussels to collaborate and mutually exchange their ideas and experience.
Most of the talks are given in the so-called  “developer rooms” (devrooms) - conference halls where teams can meet and showcase their projects.  For the last 19 years devrooms of  FOSDEM are a traditional place for teams to publicly share news and present the latest achievements, hold discussions, give lightning talks and of course, hack a code.


Open Cascade representatives for the first time attended FOSDEM this year and it was 100 percent worth it. Alexander Malyshev senior software developer, one of the main contributors, author of tutorials and certified trainer on Open CASCADE Technology (OCCT) presented the success story of perhaps the only open source full-scale 3D geometry library available since 1999. 

Alexander Malyshev, who was given a very warm intro by the moderators,  presented in the Open Source Computer-Aided Modeling and Design devroom the keynotes of OCCT, within the talk he gave an overview of the technology itself, its licensing policy, evolution and also covered several interesting topics like modeling data, algorithms, visualization, and data exchange. After the speech, Alexander was asked a lot of questions by the audience, and warm communication with interested people continued even long after the end of all the speeches.


In the frames of the same devroom many other like-minded open source projects were also presented including such well-known names as FreeCAD, KiCad, CadQuery, Gmsh, which successfully utilize various Open CASCADE Technology capabilities. This room was so popular among developers that all the seats were occupied all the time, and many people just stood in the aisles, and moreover, to get into the room, they had to take a queue half an hour before the start of the desired performance. Fortunately, for those who failed to listen to speakers, all the performances were recorded by the team of organizers.

You can download and watch videos wth  all talks (including Open Cascade one) that were held in this particular dev-room  via link

Two days at FOSDEM 2020 had gone for Open Cascade representatives with the speed of the light. Not only the tech conference, but also the exhibition of projects was very fruitful. Open Cascade made a lot of new friends and finally met in person the old ones. OCCT got a huge amount of useful feedback that has yet to be digested.


Please share with us your thoughts about this event and your suggestions about participation in similar ones!

Kurt Kremitzki's picture

It was really great to see Open Cascade represented at FOSDEM! There has been a lot of interest as you can see from the crowded room and list of projects using OCCT. As a representative of the FreeCAD project I think it's a good sign for a healthy ecosystem that this sort of collaboration is taking place. Going further, perhaps next summer OCCT could join this umbrella organization for open source CAD software participating in Google Summer of Code? Just a thought!

By the way, it was nice to see some TCL demos. I maintain the Debian/Ubuntu package for OCCT, my occt-draw package is not quite working right because of a packaging problem--this inspired me to get to fixing it!

Kirill Gavrilov's picture

I maintain the Debian/Ubuntu package for OCCT, my occt-draw package is not quite working right because of a packaging problem--this inspired me to get to fixing it! 

I have noticed this problem when trying to play with Debian packages for OCCT in Ubuntu - good to hear a word from maintainer here ;). For historical reasons, Draw Harness (and OCCT in the past) highly depend on environment variable to look for resources and plugins.

There are several changes in OCCT 7.4.0 intended to improve searching for these resources when installing OCCT in system (although they are expecting Debian-alike installation scheme, so probably not applicable to all Linux). So that it might be that Draw Harness in OCCT 7.4.0 will work straight ahead from Debian package - when you prepare an update.

Anyway, it would be really great fixing this in Debian packages, as it looks confusing to new users OCCT documentation continuously referring to Draw Harness, which is unusable (in a straight way) when installed from standard packages. Tcl may be not a perfect nor most popular scripting language, but it solves its task well in OCCT, and is good way to learn OCCT as framework.