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DebConf19 expense: projector for main auditorium


TL;DR: we would like to buy a projector for the main DebConf19 talk
room, and donate it to UTFPR. It will cost ~ USD 7,800, and the budget
currently has room for it.

At the beginning of April we were called by the board of UTFPR to talk
about the assignment of the space to DebConf19.

There was the promise that we could use all the space for free, as has
always happened in the MiniDebConfs we had there. But the board
expressed concern about the participation of companies as sponsors of
the event and if this could cause some future legal problem for us and
for the board.

Providing us the space for free would legally imply that the University
is co-organizing the conference, and then a few rules would have to

- the University would have to open a public call so that any company
  can participate; but companies can only participate in this type of
  call by presenting some documents that only companies based in Brazil
  have, such as certificates that they do not have any tax-related debts
  with the government.
- The sponsorships would have to be paid to the University account, and
  then using the resources would have been pretty bureaucratic.

This would make it impossible to have international sponsors for
DebConf. In fact, this would make DebConf19 unfeasible at UTFPR.

Therefore it was proposed to charge a rent for the space, with a
symbolic value, smaller than the value usually charged to private
companies that hold events there. Collecting a rent, the University
assumes a role of "just" providing the space, and they no longer have a
direct relation with it. We were then waiting for them to provide us
with the amount.

Last week we were called again to talk and the board had not yet defined
the value of this rent. At this meeting it was said that the auditorium
projector is at its end-of-life and that the image is very bad, which we
confirmed by crashing an event that was happening there that day. But
the university has no budget available to replace it now and there is no
prediction of when that is gonna to happen. This will certainly hurt
DebConf19 talks.

It was then asked if we can buy a projector and donate it to the
University, with this donation working as the rent payment. For the
university, it is much better to receive the donation of an equipment
than to receive the payment in cash because then they would have to deal
with the bureaucracy to use that money.

We are sensitive to this situation because most of us on the local team
have graduated from public universities, and we are seeing this
situation very sadly. UTFPR has hosted 2 editions of MiniDebConf (2017
and 2018), 2 editions of Debian Day (2014 and 2017), and editions of
Free Software events such as Software Freedom Day (2008 and 2014),
Education Freedom Day (2014) and FTSL (since 2013).

It is also worth mentioning that they said that they would be open for
any future free software events that we would organize, which  means
they would be happy to continue hosting any other free software events
at the University, which is located in a very central area of the city.

UTFPR is a free public university, and like all federal universities,
students do not pay tuition. Federal universities are maintained with
federal government resources and are the main Brazilian research

At the last meeting of the video team in 2018, we thought that the
current projector only had VGA port, and the possibility of renting or
buying a projector and donating it to the University had already been
brought up. The idea was that the price of renting the projector for 10
days could be the same as of a new one. In the following meetings this
idea did not go ahead because I confirmed that the projector also had
HDMI port. However we now know that the projector has reached its limit.

They also raised the possibility of just buying a new lamp for the
projector, what would cost us ~USD 1,000.00. But then the projector is
already pretty old, and this would be only a palliative solution.

We would be very happy if we could donate this projector and use it on
DebConf19.  The projector requested by the university is of the model
Panasonic PT-RZ570, with an approximate cost of ~ USD 7,800.00. We did
some budget updates recently, and this new expense would still fit in
the budget.


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