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Re: target group for and purpose of debconf

Hi Gregor,

Am 13.04.2018 um 02:35 schrieb gregor herrmann:
> From what I've personally learned historically, my assumption was that
> DebConf is for Debian contributors, i.e. people who are in some, at
> least minimal, ways connected to Debian and are (at least: on their way
> to) contributing something to Debian. And that the overall objective
> of DebConf is to foster Debian development by connecting
> contributors.

>From the discussions I've had over the last DebConfs this still seems to
be the primary purpose. We (as in the DebConf Committee these days but
also the chair people before the Committee was put in place)
deliberately encourage local teams to use their degree of freedom to
make each _their_ DebConf. Also there the annual DebCamps, MiniDebConfs
and some long time DebConf organizers have created SunCamp and SnowCamp
now as more "extended family" get together events with little formal
structure so people can create freely within that common space and time.
The more events evolve around Debian and bring the community together in
various places around the globe, the better.

A secondary goal for DebConfs is outreach and there is a separate budget
for this to not cut into the primary objectives' budget and create tension.

Moray has summarized all this very well in 2012 at
https://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/Goals and I think this is still a very
valid summary, at least from what I have seen discussed.

> Maybe these assumptions were always wrong; or maybe things have
> changed and they are wrong now … In the end, I think DebConf would
> benefit from discussing these basic issues at some point.

I think there is no right or wrong here. There are aspects of a DebConf
that cater to specific interests more or less and some want - for
example - more open space and some more formal lectures. This is why
there is a DebCamp and that seems to get longer every year now. And why
- on the other end of the scale - the content team puts a lot of work
into selecting good presentations and discuss inviting distinguished
FLOSS-but-not-Debian speakers each year.

If you or anybody else wants to see a change in direction, the DebConf
committee would very much welcome proposals. These can either be
proposals for adjustments to the Goals as laid out in the wiki article
linked above (which is also replicated to the DebConf website) or as a
proposal for a DC20. We would love to see somebody make the DebConf
cruise[1] a reality. Or anything else that sounds crazy first but could
very well foster the community.


[1] https://bits.debian.org/2018/04/debconf20-in-a-cruise.html
NB: This was meant as a April's fools' story this year from the
publicity team.

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