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Original Mails

To: bsd2@
Subject: Cheaper conferences Not in commercial hotels would help BSD. (fwd)
From: 

Julian Stacey" jhs@
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 02:31:55 +0200

BIM people on bsd2




Andreas L. suggested I forward Annex 1 below to you.

In order to not cross post I have not here cc'd advocacy@netbsd
but have copied them seperately.

It's undesirable, similar threads on advocacy @ freebsd.org &
netbsd.org & bsd2@, so per my Annex 2 appended, I suggest
we could benefit from a new list to discuss European BSD Conferences
(for all *BSD)

Your BIM opinions/efforts would be quite vital to a succesful
conference, clearly a Munich BSD Conference would only work with
good local support, & a few volunteers dedicating a bit of time....
Any BSD visitors from around Europe could do things like call for
papers & review of papers, & giving some talks; some other things
might be provided by http://yetanother.org/ / http://www.yapc.org
(similar to just finished Perl conference ?), but some organisational
things need local knowledge, & that'd be down to us within BIM.

What do you think ? Want a cheap/free big BSD conference on
your doorstep, no traveling involved ? Interested in contributing
effort to make it happen ? First thing might be for a few students
or ex students to sound out their Professors about use of a lecture
theatre for 2/ 3 days BSD during a vacation, perhaps some time next year ?
(If you dont want to ask yourself, give me or another BIM member
 a phone number & I'll / we'll ask instead)




Andreas L. will be writing presumably in German probably to
de-bsd-chat_ERASE_@DE.FreeBSD.org . You've also got advocacy_ERASE_@freebsd.org
& advocacy@netbsd if you want, as well as this bsd2@




Andreas L. raised a question about finance which I replied to briefly,
but it'd be good if he reiterated, & others discussed that & other
issues involved.

I hope having & running a local BSD conference tempts you,
Replies please, Thanks folks :-)


Julian

- ------- Forwarded Message --- Annex 1

>From owner-freebsd-advocacy_ERASE_@FreeBSD.org Sat Sep 21 21:34:53 2002
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 17:24:42 +0200 (CEST)
From:

Julian Stacey" jhs@
To: advocacy_ERASE_@FreeBSD.org
Cc:

Andreas L. ,

Gary J.
Subject: Cheaper conferences Not in commercial hotels would help BSD.

_Cheap_ conferences _Not_ at hotels would help BSD promotion !
Un-necessarily expensive conferences impede participation & interest in BSD.

20 years ago:
 - Unix was commercial, but
 - Unix conferences were at Univesities, cheap to attend, & if an
 employer wouldn't pay, you could book a few day's holiday, & pay
 your own way. Local students & ex students of whichever University
 campus - Not Hotel - where the conferences were held, could also
 often smuggle in free for a few lectures, boosting interest :-)

Now:
 - The software's free, but
 - The conference fees are prohibitively expensive :
 Facilities are provided by expensive hotels speialising in providing
 luxury facilities at high prices. Indicators of Bloat can also include
 `Partner Programmes' ( It didn't need money to a
 partner programme, when a group of us plus assorted
 girlfriends organised our own picnic in a park at the European
 Unix User Group in Paris in '82; & it cost nothing when German
 Unix User Group conference attendees were invited to join the
 Munich BSD group's monthly drinks session aprox 3 years ago ).
 - Bloated company paid conference fees is not the way it has to be.

A cheaper more inclusive solution for some conferences is:
 - Back to the Universities ! Dump the hotels !
 - Use University campuses, lecture theatres & student halls of
 residence & student campus bars during student holidays.
 - Get a free or near free lecture room from a University during a vaction,
 reward their generosity with equally free or near free lecture
 hall entry to students & local ex students & organisers of the host
 college, & give the student halls of residence the profit of our
 overnight accomadation, food, & coffee/ beer bar income.
 - If local organisers are needed, let students do it, they'll be more
 grateful for any money, be cheaper & likely more intelligent & or more
 commited to the technical agenda of the conference, than random hotel
 conference employees.
 - Keep it _Cheap_ so that people who aren't sure yet if they're interested
 in BSD, can still drop by for a few lectures.
 - Keep it _Cheap_ so people not flush with cash can afford to attend.
 - Keep it _Cheap_ to not be too far out of kilter with _Free_ software.
 - Further suggestions at
 http://yetanother.org/
 http://www.yapc.org/venue-reqs.txt

Heavy fees tilt the balance & possibly contributory worth of who can attend:
 Students:
 Will only attend if cheap, may then discover BSD, write code for BSD,
 &/or take a BSD Cdrom to install in new companies during holidays,
 part time jobs, etc, seeding the BSD market.
 Unemployed & under-employed programmers:
 (yes there are some, see jobs@freebsd list if in doubt )
 They will have some time on their hands, but not much money to pay
 bloated conference fees on top of travel/accom. costs)
 Employees of firms on hard times:
 Probably also find it hard to justify heavy conference fees, yet their
 employers would be more receptive to free BSD software/solutions.
 Employees of firms doing well:
 Probably find it easiest to get conference fee travel & accomodation paid,
 yet harder to get employers to use BSD (after all, one attraction of
 Free Software is that you avoid wasting money buying Microsoft).

Some may say: "Cheap venues won't impress businessmen" -
 (A laudable target ! they're my consultancy customers :-) But I
 don't believe we should burden all our BSD conferences with
 expensive fees on that argument. At least do what German Unix
 User Group http://www.guug.de does: alternate [slightly cheaper?]
 (spring technical) & more expensive (Autumn full blown) conferences.

"We get people anyway, there's no problem" would be complacently wrong:
 BSD remains fringe, & high conference fees can only deter those
 with an initialy casual / light interest. (the fees certainly
 deter me, a dedicated Unix person for 20+ years.)

To open one's mouth, is of course to be invited to contribute to a
solution :-) So if there's serious interest in a European BSD
conference in Munich, I'd willing to investigate what the local
universities could offer during holiday periods.

If people want another EuroBSD in the UK, University of Kent at
Canterbury does a roaring trade in vacation conferences, & was one
of the first Unix centres in the UK, & would probably be happy to
seriously way underbid previous BSD hotel venues such as Brighton.
Copious public terminals of course, I suspect all study bedrooms on
campus are net- wired by now.
 http://www.kent.ac.uk/hospitality/holiday/bedbreakfast.html
 20 pound / night
 http://www.kent.ac.uk/hospitality/conference/availability.html
 57.5 per night (Day delegates 25 inc VAT)
Presumably many other Universities around the world offer similar
good deals during student vactions.

Compare prices above with last California or next EuroBSD, Hotel based pricing:
 http://www.eurobsdcon2002.org/hotelreservation.html
 EUR 130 per night (excl. breakfast and excl. 5% city tax)
 + American breakfast - EUR 16
 less hotel bulk pre-book discount
 http://www.eurobsdcon2002.org/registration.html
 250 Euro for 3 day conference booked before October 18th

Note the UKC University price may or may not have a discount negotiable,
I don't know, not tried, but UKC price _Includes_ cost of conference
facilities, so only extra fees BSD volunteer organisers would need to
collect would be out of pocket phone charges, & maybe more cash
for guest speaker accom. & travel if desired.

Exchange Rate Aprox: 3 Euros = 3 US Dollar = 2 Pounds Sterling (UK)

Comparison:
 Hotel 3 * 146 * 1.05 guess discount 0.7 + 250 Euro = 570 Euro
 Uni. 3 * ( 57 + 5 for org. expenses + 15) * 1.5 exchange = 340 Euro

15 = a guess at extra surchage to subsidise guest speaker
travel &/or accomodation.

Accomodation in Univesities might be more basic, but wher it really counts:
tiered lecture theaters & net access, they'll be way ahead ! Plus ...
Aprox. Half Price !! Lets have some BSD conference in Univesities, not Hotels !



Julian Stacey jhs@ Computer Sys. Eng. & Unix Consultant, Munich

- ------- Forwarded Message --- Annex 2 --- Followup to advocacy_ERASE_@freebsd.org

Munich would be a good venue:
 Good building & rail/road/air infrastructure; Central West
 European location; A healthy local BSD group http://www.berklix.org/bim/
 ; several Univesities; Popular city to visit in it's own
 right ; Cheap hotels/pensions round the rail station near
 the main computer street, (Best avoid an expensive `Official
 Conference Hotel', & instead designate cheapish
 Pizzerias/ Pubs/ Coffee Bars to meet in.)

Where best to discuss plan & build further support ?
 - A local BSD friend has asked me to also post to the
 advocacy@NetBSD & Munich BSD lists, & I'll do that.
 - He will contact a German BSD list,
 - But what about assorted Free/ Net/ Open BSD people in assorted
 other European acceptable- travelling- distance countries ?
 - Is there a Euro-BSD mail list ?
 - Nik Clayton may have a mail list from the UK/ Brighton conference ?
 - The Amsterdam November 2002 http://www.eurobsdcon2002.org/
 does not seem to have a mail list, but just offers IRC.
 - I dont see a mail list at EG http://www.eurobsd.org

Should we create a European- BSD- Conferences@ mail list ?
 To be used through the years, not one- conference- use-
 specific To plan dates, announce & recruit speakers etc ?
 What do UK & Dutch conference & other future organisers
 think ? Should the list be housed under majordomo@
 Free/Net/OpenBSD.org, or majordomo@ some- non- partisan-
 All- Not- Just- One- BSD site,
 (EG but not necessarily bim.berklix.org) ?

Update: See conf-* at http://mailman.berklix.org/mailman/listinfo



Julian Stacey jhs@ Computer Sys. Eng. & Unix Consultant, Munich

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