[Board] Open open source, reduce registration fees.

Jody Garnett jody.garnett at gmail.com
Mon Feb 6 07:55:32 PST 2017

TLDR: *The conference committee has the trust of the board and is aware
they have the flexibility and mandate from the board to steer the event in
a new direction if they wish.*

You are correct that the board can direct the conference committee - and
has done so in a meeting this last August, the results of which were used
in deciding on the 2018 location.There have been a number of excellent
discussions on this topic going over how foss4g registration fees are set.
To help set policy for foss4g please volunteer with the conference

We have a wide range of expectations in our community with respect to
foss4g - as we can see with the global conference and the different
regional events.

There is of course plenty to discuss:
- If I understand correctly you come from an academic institution, which
has expectations on conference fees based on the ability to obtain a
subsidized venue.
- We also have a large number of professionals in our organization which
expect a conference suitable for customer outreach
- A lot of us got into open source to make the world a better place
steering the conference towards out reach and advocacy
- foss4g has felt the pressure to be a fund raiser for OSGeo (with events
considering profit in addition to out reach potential)
- what is required for a foss4g event differs in each region (north America
for example does not have active local chapters to draw on for small
regional events)
- pressure to keep costs down sometimes places these events in universities
or in awkward locations near an airport
- Depending on the industry a presenter comes from they may expect to have
the conference fees waived
- Workshops often take 1 to 3 weeks to prepare to a suitable level for a
bring-your-own laptop workshop, seeing attendees charged $300 to attend
instructors expect to share profit, rather than have their conference fees
- The cost to attend moves developer focus to code sprints, cutting down on
the "meeting of the tribes" aspect of the event
- The cycle of europe  / north america / other always takes the conference
out of reach of potential sponsors, attendees, users
- Outreach may be more effective with an OSGeo presence at the local
regional GIS industry events, rather than at foss4g where everyone already
knows about open source
- The bidding process is an expensive time commitment
- It is difficult with a new local organizing committee for each event to
carry over lessons from one event to the next making the process more
stressful (often burning out volunteers and regional groups for a number of
- There is an excellent cost breakdown of the event on the email lists if
you need more information strictly on attendance fees
- ... I need to stop I am only touching on the ideas in the mix not doing
justice to any of them :)

With the conflicting requirements above there is no one way to answer the
question about foss4g - except for this: *What are you doing to help?*

* For my part I am pursuing *sponsorship for the foundation, code sprints
and the website rebrand/reboot* to help take some of the pressure off the
foss4g conference.

* I have been thankful for the volunteers on the conference committee who
wrestle with the issues above (as outlined in the August meeting they have
my thanks and support for taking on a difficult set of questions).

Jody Garnett

On 6 February 2017 at 01:38, <l.g.j.boerboom at utwente.nl> wrote:

> Dear board,
> Where is the cap on registration fees for FOSS4G? You have closed open
> source to me with these steep registration fees. You have to change this. A
> few years ago I could hardly convince my departmental management to pay for
> registration. Now it is impossible! Please open up the conference again.
> Open open source! Those who cannot organize a conference below $500 should
> not be allowed to organize. Scale down. No fancy stuff. Back to the basics!
> Back to the core!
> With kind regards,
> Luc Boerboom
> Dr. Ir. Luc Boerboom
> Assist. Prof Spatial Planning and Decision Support Systems and
> Infrastructures
> Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-information Management
> Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC),
> http://www.itc.nl/
> University of Twente, http://www.utwente.nl/
> E: l.g.j.boerboom at utwente.nl
> T: +31 (0)53 487 42 47 or +31 (0)53 487 44 44
> Postal address
> PO Box 217
> 7500 AE  Enschede
> The Netherlands
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> Board at lists.osgeo.org
> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
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