[OSGeo-Discuss] Free Developer Slots at FOSS4G events: [was RE: FW: [Board] OSGeo Board Priorities]

Daniel Morissette dmorissette at mapgears.com
Mon Mar 4 15:29:46 PST 2013

To add to what Bruce just wrote, unless you happen to live in the region 
where FOSS4G is being held a given year, then the cost of traveling to 
FOSS4G (flight/train, hotel, meals, etc.) is much more significant than 
the registration cost and very likely a bigger show stopper for those 
who cannot afford to go.

I am all for trying to make the event more accessible and keeping the 
registration costs as low as possible, for instance by choosing more 
affordable venues, but I am not convinced that free registration passes 
would make much of a difference when you take into acount the other 
travel costs and most importantly the complications introduced by an 
arbitrary selection process.

My 0.02$


On 13-03-04 6:15 PM, Bruce Bannerman wrote:
> (Wearing my former FOSS4G Conference organiser hat)
> Paolo and Jachym,
> This is an issue that comes up on a fairly regular basis.
> To be honest, as a person who has attended a number of spatial
> conferences, I must say that the costs for the average FOSS4G
> international conference are very reasonable and compare very favourably
> with similar events. They also represent excellent value for money when
> you think of the typical breadth and high quality of presentations.
> As a conference organiser, there is a great deal of pressure on ensuring
> a financially viable conference. It is not until the very last stages of
> the planning for the event that you start to get an understanding of how
> many people have actually committed to attend the event, and whether you
> will cover your costs for the event.
> There is a cost, even for 'free' slots. Think of meals, drinks and lost
> revenue opportunities to cover conference costs.
> So if a lot of free slots are given to developers and the conference
> fails to attract sufficient delegates to cover the conference costs, who
> pays for the short fall in funds that the conference has committed to?
> Do the volunteer local organisers pay out of their own pocket? Does OSGeo?
> We (FOSS4G-2009) did look at the idea of have a 'few' slots available
> for developers who had done an outstanding job for the community. But
> who would select these people? What would be the eligibility criteria?
> What process would be used that would allow an open and auditable
> selection of recipients? How would other hard working developers feel if
> they missed out on a free slot? What then would the impact be on the
> community and on the FOSS4G conference? So in the end, we decided out of
> fairness for all developers that we would not offer free slots for
> developers.
> So in summary:
>   * FOSS4G events are good value for money and not overly expensive.
>   * It does not make financial sense to provide a lot of free places for
>     developers at FOSS4G conferences. If there are insufficient funds to
>     cover the substantial conference costs, who pays?
> Bruce
> ------ Forwarded Message
>     *From: *Jachym Cepicky
>     *Date: *Mon, 4 Mar 2013 20:59:14 +1100
>     *To: *<cavallini <http://cavallini@faunalia.it>
>     *Cc: *OSGeo Discussions , OSGeo-Board List
>     *Subject: *Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] [Board] OSGeo Board Priorities
>     Hi,
>     I fully agree, that the costs for individuals or small company are very
>     heigh. I'm aware, you were mentioning this issue already. Since I know,
>     FOSS4G-Global is the main source of income to OSGeo, I did not raise any
>     obligation so far - I have no clue, how to organize this better for the
>     future.
>     Paolo's idea sounds not bad: having some kind of scholarship program,
>     where we could allocate some money for people who can not come but it's
>     valuable to have them there.
>     Do we have some "priorities" for FOSS4G as well? In general, when I'm
>     discussing this topic with people, general feelings are, that
>     FOSS4G-Global is very developer-oriented meeting, compared e.g. to
>     FOSSGIS (German local conference), which would be more user or business
>     oriented (correct me if I'm wrong, it is a while, I was there).
>     Having priorities of the FOSS4G-global could also point us the the
>     answer, whether we should financially support developers to come or not.
>     Jachym
>     Dne 4.3.2013 08:33, Paolo Cavallini napsal(a):
>     > Il 04/03/2013 00:44, Cameron Shorter ha scritto:
>     >> A productive virtual meeting of the OSGeo Board
>     >> <http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Board_Meeting_2013-02-26> resulted in
>     general consensus
>     >> over OSGeo's priorities, which in turn should help the OSGeo Board and OSGeo
>     >> committees when guiding OSGeo into the future.
>     >
>     >> These principles are:
>     >
>     >>   * OSGeo should act as a low capital, volunteer focused organisation.
>     >>   * OSGeo should focus support on OSGeo communities and initiatives which support
>     >>     themselves.
>     >
>     > Hi all.
>     > Thanks for this. I welcome this change, that I think will make OSGeo much more
>     > effective in promoting free and open source geospatial software.
>     > On the other hand, I still have problems with annual FOSS4G, which has a cost that
>     > scares away many top developers. IMHO (sorry to insist, I raised this point earlier)
>     > the meeting should be free for developers (committers to OSGeo projects), and more
>     > expensive for businessman. The net cash flow should be from business to GFOSS
>     > promotion, not drawing from our precious developers.
>     > All the best.
>     > _______________________________________________
>     > Board mailing list
>     >Board at lists.osgeo.org <http://Board@lists.osgeo.org>
>     >http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>     >
>     --
> ------ End of Forwarded Message
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Daniel Morissette
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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