[OSGeo-Conf] Format questions for 2009 conference

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Jan 7 17:36:22 EST 2008

Cameron Shorter wrote:
> So our suggested agenda is:
> 4 days conference, including 1 day worth of workshops.
> 1 extra day for a code sprint, which will be conducted as a low key 
> afair. (Lunch, internet connection and office space provided) Possible 
> nominal fee for attending code sprint - say $40 to ensure we only get 
> people who are interested and don't have to buy lunch for hangers on.


You might consider providing projects with some free tickets to dole
out for the code sprint if you do this.   I'd note that the GDAL project
would likely be willing to pay for all our attendies out of project

> 1. For our workshops, we are proposing that participants bring their own 
> laptops. (We can set up a laptop hire program for those who don't have 
> one). This will reduce our computer costs and risks.
> We are making a bet that an OSGeo live CD will be available by 2009 and 
> using your own computer should be a realistic option with minimal fuss. 
> Any objections?

I think this is a risky strategy.  I've certainly had mixed success
with live CDs myself.  If you do it, I'd strongly encourage making an
early version of the live CD image available for folks to download
and test in advance.  This could also make it hard to present windows
based workshops.

Actually, when I think about it, having a "rental laptop" option available
on site does mitigate risk substantially.

> 2. Is 4 days, including workshops long enough? We considered a 5 day 
> conference, but have heard that 5 days is longer than the majority of 
> conferences. Non-core SW developers (which will be a large proportion of 
> the attendees) might not last 5 days. Also, 5 days is 20 to 25% more 
> expensive. (We note that attendees seem to be price sensitive, based on 
> accommodation booked).

Three days conference + 1 day workshop is typical for this conference
and I think is a reasonable arrangement.

> 3. We are focusing our spending on "value" items instead of "fluff". Eg, 
> use B&W programs rather than glossies, and not provide things like 
> satchels.

There are conflicting opinions between those who want things
inexpensive, and those who want to project a professional image.

I'm personally not a fan of satchels at conferences because I find
I have too many and most of them just sit in my closet.  But hopefully
you will still have a tshirt.  They are utilitarian, and a form of
advertising all on their own.  Heck, if it wasn't for conference
and concert tshirts I might have to actually buy regular clothes!

I'd be inclined to think that a good quality program is a good
investment.  I don't know if there are reasonable compromises like
a color cover with black-and-white inside.

In my opinion the places to economize are facilities and food.  Premium
facilities often also include premium food contracts that you are
locked into.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGeo, http://osgeo.org

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