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Organization of the 1st Debian Conference

            1st Debian Conference Organisation Draft

Contents :

1. Goals
2. Dates and place
3. Program skeleton
4. Program goals
5. Needed "code"
	5.1 Planning program
	5.2 Documentation
6. Material details
7. Organization
	7.1 Mailing lists for discussion
	7.2 Devolution (but _not_ decentralization)
	7.3 Sponsoring rules
	7.4 Communication
	7.5 Organizing my succession
8. Miscellaneous details

1. Goals

The main goal of the Debian Conference is to gather, one time per year,
the "enterprise" Debian, to materialize it somewhere, in order for the
developers to know each other, to learn from each other, and to learn
how to work more efficiently together.
At the moment --- and, IMHO, it would be a good idea that this remains
---, the Debian Conference is embedded in a more general event, allowing
multiple exchanges with other actors of the libre software mouvement.

The Zeroth Debian Conference has shown that the idea is worth the
effort. The 1st one will try to improve it.

2. Dates and place

The 1st Debian Conference will be held from 4th to 8th of July 2001, in
Bordeaux (France), during the second edition of the Libre Software
Meeting, more precisely on the campus of the ENSERB and the University
of Bordeaux I (same place as the Zeroth Conference).

3. Program skeleton

o Wednesday the 4th :
	- (Morning) : official opening, and presentation of the topics ;
	- (afternoon) : Speech from the Throne ;
	[I'd like to see all the Leaders (present and past) here for the
	1st ;)]
	- First topics

o From Thursday to Saturday [included] :
	- Conferences, discussions, coding parties

o Saturday [end of the afternoon] : debian synthesis

o Saturday night : fiesta ! [outside, cheap, friendly, near the sea if I
can organize the transport]

o Sunday :
	- morning : presentation of the synthesis, conclusion ;
	- install party [? Proposed by the LSM organizers ; I do not 
	really like the idea...]
	- afternoon : touring [We will see ;)]

4. Program goals

The goals are : to learn, and to work (and to have fun, but this is
partially outside of the scope of the organization ;). 

We can consider Debian via 3 aspects :

0) Debian and the others (end users);
1) Debian and the libre software community;
2) Debian for itself (Debian internals);

Somewhere between 0 and 1, one can find the topic "cooperation between
the main distributions" : deb2 as sketched by Wichert should be a whole
topic, using the presence of other distributions (for example Mandrake).

Somewhere between 1 and 2, one can find HURD. For the 1st Conference, 
demonstrations of a running HURD, but also, mainly, technical conferences 
about the HURD programmation should be considered.

For Debian by itself, one can consider 3 levels :
0) User level ;
1) Maintainer level ;
2) Developer level ;

The level 0 is not addressed by the conference. Remain levels 1 and 2.

For level 1, it might be a good idea to organize  "maintainer classes",
explaining how to use the tools (the deb* tools, specially debconf),
explaining policy and so on. The classes should _not_ run through the
whole Conference : half a day, or one day maximum.

For level 2, the development of Debian tools (HURD is, of course, a
level 2 topic) : boot-floppies, packages-pools, apt, HURD, etc...

These are only ideas. The principles are that there are conferences, but
also impromptus : a conference is an "emergent" event ; but discussions,
coding parties and so on can be organised on demand (we had, and will
have at least a room dedicated to Debian impromptus), continuing --- or
not --- the conferences.

The 1st Conference will be a multi-threaded one : there could be a
conference of level 1 and level 2 at the very same time.
The trick is to organize the Debian Conference, embedded in the LSM, so
that one can find and attend the maximum of conferences of interest for
him, Debian but also not Debian ones.

This leads to the "code" needed.

5. Needed "code"

5.1. Planning program

In order to improve the organization of the whole LSM and of the Debian
conference, a "planning" program (allowing to generate a sensible
schedule for the conferences) could be useful. 
As a side effect, this kind of program could help to introduce libre 
software in schools. There are three pointers found by Pierre Jarillon
(President of the ABUL, one of the organizers of the LSM) :


If somebody knows better projects, or is interested in contributing to
the development of such a beast, please contact me ;)

5.2. Documentation

Secondly, Sebastien Blondeel, member of APRIL, is, at the moment, doing
a huge work : trying to retranscribe a part of the tapes in order to
reconstitute some conferences.

As he has suggested, for the next time, it would be better that every
speaker prepare and give the text of his conference before the event, so
that the documentation remains (killing to birds with one stone :
recording his speech for the history, and improving the documentation 
about some technical topics). The text will be available for attendees,
easing the understanding for the attendees not speaking the language of
the speaker, easing notes.

6. Material details

For recall, the prices were these ones (next year, they will be, I
think, comparable) :
- breakfast : 7 FF or 12 FF
- lunch : 35 FF
- room in the students hall of residence : 55 FF/night.

7. Organization

	7.1 Mailing lists for discussion

	The discussions about the Debian Conference take place on one main
	list : debian@lsm.abul.org. To subscribe, just send a message to
	sympa@lsm.abul.org, with the Subject : "subscribe debian".

	There is also a list for discussing general problems or ideas for
	the whole LSM : lsm@lsm.abul.org (same procedure).
	7.2 Devolution (but _not_ decentralization)

	There is one main organizer, whose main task is to coordinate, and
	take the decisions --- generally not the pleasant ones... 
	For the next conference, the 1st one, this will be Thierry Laronde 
	<thierry.laronde@polynum.com>. But I will _not_ organize the next
	ones (see 7.5).

	Because Debian is a world wide organization, we need a kind of
	devolution, that is the main organizer needs to delegate the
	gathering of the developers by country to kind of local debian
	organizations, because :
	- if developers gather themselves by country, they can have group
	  prices for the transport (combining early reservations and group
	  reductions) ;
	- it's far more easy to organize the transport from the
	  airport | railroad station to the place where the Conference is
	  held for groups than for a gaz of individuals ;
	- it will be more easy for the organizer to have a tree
	  organization, that is, not to handle directly every individual

	Please try to see if someone can be, by country, the local interface
	to the general organization. TIA.
	The "top" organization still need volunteers !
	7.3 Sponsoring rules

	Don't suppose that we will have enough money to sponsor everybody :
	this will _never_ happen ! So help yourself, and the organization
	will help you ;)

	The main part of the budget is for the transport. As said before, to
	reserve early and to group will decrease the prices : start looking
	at this right now.
	Every individual can be sponsored by an enterprise, etc... The
	event, and the LSM as a whole, can be considered as a part of
	technical training. This is good for every attendee, so this is good
	for every enterprise employing such a guy ;)

	I will organize something in France for the search for funds, and
	will explain it later, so that one can take this as a basis for his
	own reflections.

	7.4 Communication

	We do need to communicate, via newspapers and the net... Not to
	mention _debian events page_... The event must be known, advertised,
	and this is the task of everybody, at every moment ;)
	7.5 Organizing my succession

	As said before, I will not organize the 2nd Conference. I want to
	put in place the framework so that the job will be easier in the
	future. But I want to find a successor, and the best way to ease the
	succession is to find somebody, this year, joigning the staff,
	who will see the problems, and will have an overview of the task.

	The main qualities required are mine : never happy, never kind,
	morally and physically unpleasant so that we are sure he is single
	and will remain so (well, this is not guaranteed to work : I know
	several wives who correspond to the portrait, but who, unfortunately
	for their husbands, are not single :-^ ; say this is the feminine
	part of my personnality ;).
8. Miscellaneous details

We will try, every year, to make a group photography of Debian, like the
photography taken in the schools, with the list of the members : faces
matching emails ;)
Thierry LARONDE <thierry.laronde@polynum.com>
Membre de l'APRIL - http://www.april.org/
10, rue du Bel Air, 74000 ANNECY / Tel.-Fax : 33.(0)
/home du SDF (Site Debian Francophone) : http://www.polynum.com/debian/

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