[Aust-NZ] Re: [OSGeo-Conf] Format questions for 2009 conference

Tim Bowden tim.bowden at westnet.com.au
Mon Jan 7 21:13:45 EST 2008

On Mon, 2008-01-07 at 17:36 -0500, Frank Warmerdam wrote:
> 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.
> Cameron,
> 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
> funds.

Not unreasonable.  Free tix for anyone on a project psc, with commit
access or history of contributions as identified by the psc.  Come to
think about it, was there any apparent problem of freeloaders at the
code sprint at Victoria?  I suspect not, especially with all the
touristy things on offer compared to the boredom of listening to a bunch
of geeks talking shop.  Let's not set to much of a barrier to
participation.  If the code sprint helps get some marginal contributors
more involved, perhaps that's worth the cost of the odd extra lunch?

> > 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.

I think we need to look at a combination of options: rental pc's (for
those labs that need/want windows, a live cd image (fixed and available
at least by the time we open registrations) and discounted lab fees for
those that can run the lab off the live image (and hence don't require
us to rent a pc for their lab spot), ltsp setup perhaps?  Might give us
a few possibilities to play with.

We will also have a problem with distributing a vmware image it it's a
windows system.  All sorts of nasty licensing issues there I'd imagine,
and I'd hate to see the first time someone tries it out on their
underpowered laptop to be 10 mins before the lab starts.  And what if
they don't already have a windows license?  Aren't we again creating a
licensing issue if we give/loan them one?  I don't know, but I think we
need to clarify that.

> > 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.
Or 4 days with the workshops spread out over more than one day?  Cost
wise, there's I don't think there's too much diff as we need a fair
chunk of room for workshops anyway.

> > 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.

If FOSS4G really is the gathering of the tribes then we need to try and
cater for a full cross section.  With some attendees it's certainly a
case of the more professional the better, but of course this drives up
cost and creates a significant barrier to a fairly siseable chunk of
those who consider themselves part of the OSGeo family and would
otherwise be interested.  Somehow we need to strike a balance.

> 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!

OMG.  Have we put T-shirts in the conf budget?  A conf without a T-shirt
almost certainly isn't worth going to.  Have to look into that.

> 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,

Tim Bowden

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