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[Debconf-announce] Bits from the orga DebConf team

Dear attendees of this year's DebConf.

This is just a small mail to inform you about the progress on this year's

The reconfirmation phase is now over and we are now assigning rooms.  We made a
selection from all the interesting proposals, and you can now vote for the
talks, workshops etc you would like to attend at comas
<https://debconf6.debconf.org/comas/>.  These votes are used to schedule the
conference program in order to minimize conflicting sessions.  Much effort is
being put in documenting all kinds of stuff you might want to know about Mexico
and Oaxtepec (like the way from the airport to Oaxtepec, what the weather will
be like or what kind of power connectors you need).  All this can be found in
the wiki <http://wiki.debian.org/DebConf6#head-71ec657b388e75600c559775cf631a84d7e71551>.

Another mail with more information will follow soon.

As you know, organizing such a big event isn't an easy task; especially if you
do it on a volunteer basis and free for everyone.  Relying entirely on
sponsorship money, it is not easy to meet everyone's expectations (including
our own), and to get a well balanced conference going.  This has been made
particularly difficult this year since the amount of money we got from our
sponsors was (1) less that we had expected and (2) often very late.

To give a few numbers:  Requested travel sponsorship amounted to nearly
$130,000.  This is almost as much as the overall income from our sponsors!
Given that we already need $85,000 for accomodation, food, infrastructure etc we
were only able to use about $50,000 for travel sponosrship - still by far the
biggest share of our budget.

As you can see, we are facing a really tight budget and thus can't fulfill all
requests.  We are sorry, but we need to cut costs wherever possible.  Therefore
not everyone got his/her requested travel sponsorship.  We tried our best to
make a good choice. Our criteria included:
- People's location.  People from Latin America got preference, because it's
  their DebConf.
- Contribution to Debian.
- People's situation.  (Could they afford this trip without sponsorship?)

Even with these hard choices we had to make we were still not able to completely
cover all expenses.  Therefore we also had to cut sponsored breakfast.  This
will save us just enough money to get by.

This means we are unable to pay for breakfast, just lunch and dinner.  Of
course breakfast will still be offered, but you'll have to pay for it yourself
(about $2 per day).  I might add that we have chosen to cut breakfast, since it
was the least attended meal during the last DebConfs.

Everything below this line only concerns DebCamp (6th to the 13rd of May). If
you do not plan to attend DebCamp this is probably not interesting for you

A few days ago we asked people to start organizing their work at DebConf. This
was done in order to guarantee a productive and fun DebConf for everyone. We
also created a wiki page for this purpose that can be found here:

Having information about the teams present at DebCamp helps the organizing
committee, because it helps us get sponsorship if we can say "Group foo is
meeting there and working on bar; that's important for you because of baz",
instead of "We would like you to pay a couple hundred flights so we can meet
in Mexico and chat there in a Hotel instead of chatting at home".

It seems that we didn't manage to make these intentions clear.  This might be my
fault, since I wrote that mail and made two small mistakes:

First, I accidently Cc-ed it to the mail address we use for travel sponsorship.
This might have lead to the impression, that we are about to cut / revoke
already granted sponsorship.  We won't do this, and never planned to.  Even if
we had to cut costs, we won't ever revoke already granted sponsorship!

As said: The Cc: to sponsorship@ was done by mistake - I reused an older mass
mailing script and forgot to remove that line.  I'm sorry if I scared anybody.

The other mistake about that mail was using the word "team".  Although I tried
to phrase my mail very carefully, it seems some people got the impression that
they would be uninvited from DebCamp if they are not in a "formal team"
such as qa, DebianEdu or debian installer.

We asked you to organize in teams mainly for the reasons given above and since
we think it is a productive way of working.  However, we know that great
things get done just by bringing enthusiastic geeks together in a shared
space, and we want to encourage this as well!

It's okay if you aren't in one of the "formal teams".  We just want to make
sure everyone understands that DebCamp is not just about giving you a lounge
chair on a beach with an umbrella and a cold drink -- it's also about putting
other geeks on the beach next to you so that you can collaborate and do great
things together for the betterment of Debian.  (And we have a quite broad
definition of that: for example it's okay for us, if you say, that you are
working on $project, but mostly alone, and hope to get help / comments /
inspiration for it.)  In addition - and as already stated in the first mail
- it's also okay, if you arrive earlier because of cheaper flight tickets or
similar reasons.

We hope you understand that we do not ask you to do this in order to force
work on you or keep you from having fun.  This upfront organization is meant
to facilitate work at DebConf, not discourage contribution.  We know how
special the atmosphere during DebCamp is and we certainly don't want to
spoil it!

I'm looking forward to meet you all in Mexico and I'm sure we'll have a great

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