[OSGeo-Conf] Question Period: Workshops

Jeff McKenna jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com
Sun Mar 1 15:38:16 PST 2015

This concept of additional sessions with bring-your-own-device was 
introduced a few years ago (some call it 'labs' instead of workshops). 
Workshops (with a provided workstation) are possibly one of the most 
important parts of what makes a FOSS4G event.  Workshop instructors are 
given a choice of using a live-DVD or virtual machine, or pre-installing 
software on the workshop system.

In my opinion (and yes until 2013 I was involved in each and every 
workshop committee at every FOSS4G event right back to 2004, the only 
one consistent member of FOSS4G organizing, so I do have a say in this) 
workshops are mandatory for FOSS4G local committees to include, whereas 
'labs' are not required/extra. I would not even class it as a 
'suggestion', I would class labs as 'optional'. [note that I believe the 
Bonn team has proposed using additional 'lab' sessions]

For workshops, I also don't think we should get away from providing a 
workstation.  But using a virtual machine or liveDVD has become a great 
option for workshop presenters, and OSGeo-Live has fit in nicely.

Maybe this thread should instead be used in how to prevent workshop 
committees from using incorrect OSGeo-Live versions, or improperly 
formatted USBs (which I see happen at possibly 80% of workshops at 
FOSS4G events, sorry yes it is that high).  This is really the need.

In fact there has been a recent suggestion for the OSGeo marketing 
committee to handle providing these OSGeo-Live USB devices to all 
conference events (use their known supplier, have the OSGeo-Live 
developers install and configure, etc.).  Makes total sense.

I think that is the future.


On 2015-03-01 3:55 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> I'm starting to move away from questions to suggestions.
> It is possible to run workshops under a "bring your own laptop" model.
> We have had reports of people doing this using OSGeo-Live USBs and VMs.
> (Mac users using VMs).
> Pros:
> * It reduces setup requirements
> * It reduces cost of labs and requirements for having lots of computers
> * It reduces need to locate labs, which are often at a different
> location to conference venue
> Cons:
> * You are tied to an OSGeo-Live distribution (or you face a time
> consuming task of creating your own distribution)
> * Some users might not be technically savvy enough to set up their
> computer. (This can be mitigated by encouraging students to pair up).
> * Some of your workshop time will need to be spend explaining how to
> start a VM / OSGeo-Live.

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