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Re: Doubts/suggestions with event organization(MiniDebConf '14)

at bottom :-

On 8/12/14, Jonas Smedegaard <dr@jones.dk> wrote:
> Quoting Vasudev Kamath (2014-08-12 15:49:31)
>> Pirate Praveen <praveen@onenetbeyond.org> writes:
>>>> The way I see it, if the budget is out in the open and if there is
>>>> some shortfall which we make up by some registration fees, I don't
>>>> see any issues as the idea for such events is to be
>>>> self-sustainable. The registration fees should not be so much that
>>>> an average person is unable to pay.
>>> We can decide if we are going to charge registration fee. My
>>> suggestion is we should charge a registration fee to cover expense
>>> for food and promotional materials. How do we plan accommodation? Do
>>> we plan to charge for it?
>> My suggestion (with my hat of miniDebconf organization 2011 on) keep
>> it free as far as possible, I don't see point in charging people
>> attending the conference. If you want to give out goodies like
>> T-Shirts charge for it rather than conference itself.
> I wholeheartedly agree with Vasudev.
> Perhaps what can be confusing here is the very term "conference".
> Wikipedia describes a "conference" as either a commercially oriented
> business event or a university oriented thesis presentation event.
> What is more descriptive of Debian conferences is "Unconference":
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference
> Since I (a few years ago) realized how "conference" doesn't really cover
> well what a Debconf is (and therefore what a minidebconf mimics on a
> smaller scale), I have instead described it as "gatherings".
> That said, there is no "policy" regarding minidebconf - you are free to
> do whatever you like to do!
> ...but beware that sponsors will have a say, so be cautious who you
> accept money from if you want to preserve your artistic freedom in
> designing your event.  Screwing a sponsor will damage not only your
> relationship towards that sponsor, but also that of others in your area
> and maybe on wider scale too.  Stay friends with those who help you.
>  - Jonas
> --
>  * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
>  * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/
>  [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private

Hi all,
@Jonas see something interesting with the sign, nice work :)

I *think* there are other points which also need to be articulated.
For most of the students who are attending, they would be looking at
survival options as well. All said and done, I can only volunteer if
my stomach is full. So having some commercial FOSS presence as in way
of sponsors would be good. For a student his main motivation would be
to find work after finishing his education. I am of the opinion that
we should encourage students to start small businesses on free
software or/and hardware and there is enough demand for alternatives
that has not been explored. Using some of the products to articulate
the same idea would be a good thing as well.

The things we need to worry about :-

a. Not to go overboard - instead of 20-30 sponsoring us, have max to
max 6-7 companies sponsoring us. It could be everything from food to
accommodation to swag and anything else we can think of.

b. This is the big thing - make sure the sponsors values don't
contradict Debian's values. Debian is in the middle in the picture of
hard copyleft/public domain (the BSD's) to FSF (gnewsense). So having
a company who shares Debian's values would directly and indirectly
benefit Debian as well.

As far as Jonas's take on the Unconference is, he's right most of the
minidebconfs I have been to  are unconferences. The idea behind the
unconference is :-

a. No formal dress code
b. People can move in and out of talks and workshops. Just make sure
to be discrete when leaving a talk or workshop to have minimum of
c. Have lightning talks and BOF's which I'll explain below.
d. mingle, mingle and mingle - the idea is to socialize with people as
much as possible so mingle with as many people as possible.

Structured sessions, lightning talks and BOF's :-

a. Structured sessions or talks should be of 30~40 minutes each, 5~10
minutes of Q&A and 5~10 minutes for change-overs to the new
person/speaker/workshop taker - Unlike in the west, in India most of
the time we have to prod students to ask questions or even stupid
questions just so they open up. I know lot of students self-censure
themselves even if they have a good question or weren't able to
understand something. So we have to make active effort that people
speak up. Me and Pavi used to do this quite a bit in our sessions. If
Amrita students take that initiative, that much less work for us :)

b. Lightning talks  - Lightning talks are about work in progress
ideas. If you have some code, some GUI or something and want to talk
about it, share about it and take feedback about it in a short span of
time (5,10,15 mins.) that is good. Many a times, it's also used to
give a status update of any on-going project which many people might
be interested in. For e.g. a calendaring application which
takes/imports data from all and any calendaring app. within the user's
domain or something like that. Now if such an application existed,
then from time to time people want to see how things are going on. A
lightning talk would be perfect as s/he can talk of the app. , issues
around the app. and where the status quo is at that date. This is also
perfect opportunity to attract and recruit people for that app.

c. BOF's (Birds of a Feather) :- If there is an idea that some people
are passionate about or at least you are passionate about and want
others to help you refine the idea and probably help you in creating

For e.g. (and I think I have shared it somewhere, maybe here or not
here) notifications in most of the desktops a lazy affair, meaning you
get notifications of something happening and that's the end of it.
What if we could make a standard of it so that no matter what desktop
you are using, what notification daemon and UI is being used, all the
notifications are stored in some central log. Apart from giving sense
of system state of the time when the notification happened, no one
would not know when an important event has happened. I know of some
people writing some scripts for doing this, but it would be awesome if
we could get around to do something like that. This would be a
cross-desktop effort. So this might be a good candidate for a BOF.

In reality - this would not be a trivial pursuit. I have seen and been
privy to get upower 0.99 (which is a standard) accepted by all the
desktops and this effort took well over 6 months and upower is not a
recent phenomenon.

@Vasudev - I am not sure by what you mean by giving back to Debian ?
Maybe some idea or example would help us know what you mean by that.

Till l8er.
          Shirish Agarwal  शिरीष अग्रवाल
  My quotes in this email licensed under CC 3.0
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