Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


FOSDEM Speakers Manual

Please help keeping this manual up to date, sources are on github!

Thank you to all speakers who have put themselves forward to speak at this year’s FOSDEM.

As it’s a virtual event, all talks need to be pre-recorded by the speakers. This is only the second time FOSDEM has operated in this way so please be aware that there may be some bumps along the way - but it should be smoother than last year.

On the day your presentation is aired, you will be required to join an online Matrix chatroom with delegates as they ask questions during your talk - further details below. Afterwards, you will also be able to answer questions in a live video conference room.

To make sure you, and anyone listening or asking questions, get the best out of this event, here are some guidance notes to support your planning.

Key dates

Please do not plan to run right up against these deadlines - you and FOSDEM need the contingency for things that genuinely go wrong.

Recording your talk

You can use any tool that you prefer to record your presentation. Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) is a powerful tool and recommended by many speakers. Some useful documents here:

Another option is to deliver your presentation through a video conferencing platform to a colleague who can then record the session. Either use the built-in recording of the conferencing platform or ask your colleague to remotely record the presentation.

For example, you could use Jitsi to present your talk to a colleague, with picture-in-picture mode so that the speaker is in the corner of the slides, and, on Linux, use Simple Screen Recorder (SSR) to capture the talk in the appropriate format.

Please bear in mind these tips for a good quality presentation:

Uploading videos

Videos should be uploaded to Click on “Events” in the left menu, select your own event, select “General” tab, scroll down to “Pre-recorded Video Upload URL” and click on “Upload” text.

Technical requirements for your presentation video are:

When you upload your video, the system will verify that it meets these requirements. If it does not, the video will be transcoded first (but this will take longer).

A ‘review’ link will be available so you can confirm that you have uploaded the correct video.

If you want to change the video, you can overwrite by uploading a replacement. However once you have confirmed the video, you can’t upload it without FOSDEM resetting your confirmation. This enables them to take control of last-minute changes. A manual upload reset can be requested through In any contact with the video team, please always mention your talk’s event id from petabarf.

Bernard Tyers has created a slide share showing exactly how the upload process works.

The ‘Review’ link is not easy to find - look for the following dialogue box at the bottom of the submission page, and locate the review link:

pentabarf review video link

Note that Duration is the proposed length of your session in the live stream combining both pre-recorded talk and a short amount of live Q&A.

The presentation length is the length of the talk recording. This will be updated to the exact length of the recording when the video is processed.

Extended Q&A will be offered through break-out rooms after the pre-recorded video and Q&A are broadcast.

Q&A sessions

Your Q&A session will follow your pre-recorded video. If your timeslot is 10:00 - 10:30, for example, your video will be played out over the stream from 10am. There will be an associated text chatroom where the speaker, host and audience can talk. This means any questions can be answered directly whilst the video plays.

When the video completes, for example at 21 minutes, 30 seconds, the live stream will automatically switch over to a live video room with the speaker and speaker host. The speaker host will lead a live Q&A/discussion on video, asking questions that have been upvoted in the text chat or asking questions of their own, clarifying anything that may not have been clear.

Just before the 10:30 close of the session, the live stream will end and if any of the audience want to continue the Q&A/discussion, they will be directed to the right place to go do that.

After the talk closes at 10:30, and the next one begins, you can continue with your extended Q&A in a more open, informal fashion than during the session itself.

Real-time chat

The Matrix platform has been selected for the real-time organisers chat during the event. FOSDEM have released an article explaining the rationale here. Note that there is also a bridge for IRC and XMPP / Jabber users.

If you are a devroom organiser / host / moderator, you will need to join the chat through one of these connected channels on the day to process Q&A and communicate with FOSDEM staff.

Hosts and coordinators All speakers must ensure they have a host and a coordinator to support their talk.

The coordinator is the devroom manager and the host will work with the speaker to ensure they upload a suitable presentation, as well as host the live Q&A session. Hosts only need a normal self-created pentabarf account, like a speaker (not a devroom manager). Adding them to the event with the ‘host’ role gives them access to what they need.

Speakers, devroom managers and hosts can see the events you are listed against at the ‘Own Events’ link and upload videos will be available here.

Please make sure that hosts and coordinators are not taking part in a talk before or after your own – otherwise there could be problems with overlap during Q&A sessions outside of the presentation time. Remember, your Q&A can continue in a separate live video conference after your talk has ended.

Further support

Final words

This manual is based on a news post by the Perl devroom organisers of 2021. We encourage anyone to improve this text: sources are on github!