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

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Mar 4 15:51:47 PST 2013

Jachym / Bruce / Paolo,

There is certainly a difference in the pricing between FOSS4G and some of
the smaller scrappier conferences but by comparison to other professional
conferences it is certainly reasonably priced.

Bruce - in the past workshop presenters would get free entrance for the
conference.   Is that the case this year?  I feel like that was often a way
for core community contributors to get in free while adding a very serious
added value to the conference.

I am interested in ways that we could make it easier / cheaper for core
contributors to attend.   Just by being there they add value to the
conference, and the conference exists in part to serve the project

Possibly a scheme were each formal OSGeo project could nominate two or
three contributors to attend at the student rate?

Note that I'm not suggesting it would necessarily apply this year but if we
can come up with a palatable scheme  we could write it into the RFP for the
future.  Doing it at the student rate would at least help avoid the
conference being out-of-pocket for too much.

Best regards,

On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM, Bruce Bannerman <
bruce.bannerman.osgeo at gmail.com> 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
> > promotion, not drawing from our precious developers.
> > All the best.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Board mailing list
> > Board at lists.osgeo.org
> > http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
> >
> --
> ------ End of Forwarded Message
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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    | Geospatial Software Developer
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