Subject: Cheaper conferences Not in commercial hotels would help BSD. (fwd)
To: None <>
From: Julian Stacey <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 09/26/2002 19:13:15 People, suggested I forward Annex 1 below to you.

In order to not cross post I have not cc'd the mail list of the Munich
BSD User Group ( here, but have copied them seperately.

It's undesirable, similar threads on advocacy @ & & BSD Munich list, so per my Annex 2 appended, I suggest
we could benefit from a new list to discuss European BSD Conferences
(for all *BSD)

- ------- Forwarded Message --- Annex 1

>From owner-freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG Sat Sep 21 21:34:53 2002
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 17:24:42 +0200 (CEST)
Message-Id: <200209201524.g8KFOgR79586@flip.jhs.private>
From: "Julian Stacey" <>
To: advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG
Cc:, "Gary Jennejohn" <gj@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject: Cheaper conferences Not in commercial hotels would help BSD.

_Cheap_ conferences _Not_ at hotels would help BSD promotion !
Un-necessarily expensive conferences impede participation & interest in BSD.

20 years ago:
  - Unix was commercial, but
  - Unix conferences were at Univesities, cheap to attend, & if an
    employer wouldn't pay, you could book a few day's holiday, & pay
    your own way.  Local students & ex students of whichever University
    campus - Not Hotel - where the conferences were held, could also
    often smuggle in free for a few lectures, boosting interest :-)

 -  The software's free, but
 -  The conference fees are prohibitively expensive :
    Facilities are provided by expensive hotels speialising in providing
    luxury facilities at high prices. Indicators of Bloat can also include
    `Partner Programmes'  ( It didn't need money to a
    partner programme, when a group of us plus assorted
    girlfriends organised our own picnic in a park at the European
    Unix User Group in Paris in '82; & it cost nothing when German
    Unix User Group conference attendees were invited to join the
    Munich BSD group's monthly drinks session aprox 3 years ago ).
  - Bloated company paid conference fees is not the way it has to be.

A cheaper more inclusive solution for some conferences is:
  - Back to the Universities !  Dump the hotels !
  - Use University campuses, lecture theatres & student halls of 
    residence & student campus bars during student holidays.
  - Get a free or near free lecture room from a University during a vaction,
    reward their generosity with equally free or near free lecture
    hall entry to students & local ex students & organisers of the host
    college, & give the student halls of residence the profit of our
    overnight accomadation, food, & coffee/ beer bar income.
  - If local organisers are needed, let students do it, they'll be more
    grateful for any money, be cheaper & likely more intelligent & or more
    commited to the technical agenda of the conference, than random hotel
    conference employees.
  - Keep it _Cheap_ so that people who aren't sure yet if they're interested
    in BSD, can still drop by for a few lectures.
  - Keep it _Cheap_ so people not flush with cash can afford to attend.
  - Keep it _Cheap_ to not be too far out of kilter with _Free_ software.
  - Further suggestions at

Heavy fees tilt the balance & possibly contributory worth of who can attend:
    Will only attend if cheap, may then discover BSD, write code for BSD,
    &/or take a BSD Cdrom to install in new companies during holidays,
    part time jobs, etc, seeding the BSD market.
  Unemployed & under-employed programmers:
    (yes there are some, see jobs@freebsd list if in doubt )
    They will have some time on their hands, but not much money to pay
    bloated conference fees on top of travel/accom. costs)
  Employees of firms on hard times:
    Probably also find it hard to justify heavy conference fees, yet their
    employers would be more receptive to free BSD software/solutions.
  Employees of firms doing well:
    Probably find it easiest to get conference fee travel & accomodation paid,
    yet harder to get employers to use BSD (after all, one attraction of
    Free Software is that you avoid wasting money buying Microsoft).

Some may say: "Cheap venues won't impress businessmen" - 
  (A laudable target ! they're my consultancy customers :-) But I
  don't believe we should burden all our BSD conferences with
  expensive fees on that argument. At least do what German Unix
  User Group does: alternate [slightly cheaper?]
  (spring technical) & more expensive (Autumn full blown) conferences.

"We get people anyway, there's no problem" would be complacently wrong:
  BSD remains fringe, & high conference fees can only deter those
  with an initialy casual / light interest.  (the fees certainly
  deter me, a dedicated Unix person for 20+ years.)

To open one's mouth, is of course to be invited to contribute to a
solution :-) So if there's serious interest in a European BSD
conference in Munich, I'd willing to investigate what the local
universities could offer during holiday periods.

If people want another EuroBSD in the UK, University of Kent at
Canterbury does a roaring trade in vacation conferences, & was one
of the first Unix centres in the UK, & would probably be happy to
seriously way underbid previous BSD hotel venues such as Brighton.
Copious public terminals of course, I suspect all study bedrooms on
campus are net- wired by now.
		20 pound / night
		57.5 per night 	(Day delegates 25 inc VAT)
Presumably many other Universities around the world offer similar
good deals during student vactions.

Compare prices above with last California or next EuroBSD, Hotel based pricing:
		EUR 130 per night (excl. breakfast and excl. 5% city tax)
		+ American breakfast - EUR 16
		less hotel bulk pre-book discount
		250 Euro for 3 day conference booked before October 18th

Note the UKC University price may or may not have a discount negotiable,
I don't know, not tried, but UKC price _Includes_ cost of conference
facilities, so only extra fees BSD volunteer organisers would need to
collect would be out of pocket phone charges, & maybe more cash
for guest speaker accom. & travel if desired.

Exchange Rate Aprox: 3 Euros = 3 US Dollar = 2 Pounds Sterling (UK)

	Hotel 3 * 146 * 1.05 guess discount 0.7  + 250 Euro = 570 Euro
	Uni.  3 * ( 57 + 5 for org. expenses + 15) * 1.5 exchange = 340 Euro

15 = a guess at extra surchage to subsidise guest speaker
travel &/or accomodation.

Accomodation in Univesities might be more basic, but wher it really counts:
tiered lecture theaters & net access, they'll be way ahead ! Plus ...
Aprox. Half Price !!  Lets have some BSD conference in Univesities, not Hotels !

Julian Stacey   Computer Sys. Eng. & Unix Consultant, Munich
	Ihr Rauchen = mein allergischer Kopfschmerz !  Schnupftabak probieren.

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- ------- Forwarded Message --- Annex 2 --- Followup to

Munich would be a good venue:
	Good building & rail/road/air infrastructure; Central West
	European location; A healthy local BSD group
	; several Univesities; Popular city to visit in it's own
	right ; Cheap hotels/pensions round the rail station near
	the main computer street, (Best avoid an expensive `Official
	Conference Hotel', & instead designate cheapish
	Pizzerias/ Pubs/ Coffee Bars to meet in.)

Where best to discuss plan & build further support ?
	- A local BSD friend has asked me to also post to the
	  advocacy@NetBSD & Munich BSD lists, & I'll do that.
	- He will contact a German BSD list,
	- But what about assorted Free/ Net/ Open BSD people in assorted
	  other European acceptable- travelling- distance countries ?
	- Is there a Euro-BSD mail list ?
	- Nik Clayton may have a mail list from the UK/ Brighton conference ?
	- The Amsterdam November 2002
	  does not seem to have a mail list, but just offers IRC.
	- I dont see a mail list at EG

Should we create a European- BSD- Conferences@ mail list ?
	To be used through the years, not one- conference- use-
	specific  To plan dates, announce & recruit speakers etc ?
	What do UK & Dutch conference & other future organisers
	think ?  Should the list be housed under majordomo@
	Free/Net/, or majordomo@ some- non- partisan-
	All- Not- Just- One- BSD site, 
	(EG but not necessarily ?

Julian Stacey   Computer Sys. Eng. & Unix Consultant, Munich
	Ihr Rauchen = mein allergischer Kopfschmerz !  Schnupftabak probieren.