[Linux-aus] Re: LCA, eh

Matthew Palmer mpalmer at hezmatt.org
Thu Apr 28 08:46:02 UTC 2005

On Thu, Apr 28, 2005 at 10:20:42AM +1000, Del wrote:
> >It wasn't arbitrary, it was a hard ceiling imposed by the venue, and
> >limiting your numbers is inevitable -- I'm sure even the Darling Harbour
> >venue wouldn't say "yeah, just pack in as many as you like".  There's 
> >always
> >a limit.
> True, but guessing your conference numbers in advance helps you pick
> a venue.  There are always large enough venues.

I suppose we'd need to do an analysis of what bumping up to the next level
of size would cost vs the likelihood of reaching that number.

> >>The simple answer is that they hire larger convention centres.  They
> >>book out places the size of darling harbour and pack in the punters.
> >>
> >>The answer to the problem of scale is, well, scale.
> >
> >Are the DH convention centres really suitable for something in the style of
> >LCA, though?  I haven't been to a lot of events there, but it seems more
> >something that you'd hold a trade show in than a largely lecture-style
> >conference -- large open rooms and suchlike.  Maybe they're hiding the
> >lecture theatres somewhere out the back I haven't been to yet.
> AUUG was held there very successfully in 1995.  There were a large number
> of lecture theatres available of various sizes.  They held it in conjunction

That's handy.  I didn't know there were many theatres there as well as the
exhibition halls.

> with the Asia-Pacific WWW Conference & exhibition and had over 5000 people
> through the doors of the exhibition, with about 900 at the conference.  The

I think the idea of holding an exhibition alongside LCA has been mooted in
the past, and hasn't gotten much support.  Personally, I think things like
LinuxWorld's appearance down here will fill that niche quite nicely.  LCA
should stick to being the conference side of things (which, as you note, was
900 attendees at AUUG '95).

> >It might be time to revive the user conference idea.  The problem with
> >splitting the conf is that most of us are interested in user issues as well
> >as developer and sysadmin issues.  Having to go to two (or even three!)
> >conferences to get our fill would probably be way too much -- not to
> >mention finding three times the organisational capability each year.
> What do you see, exactly, as the difference between a user conference and
> LCA as it currently stands?  LCA is quite technical, but there are many
> talks in past and this years' LCAs that were accessible to "users".

Exactly.  LCA at the moment covers pretty much the whole spectrum of
Linux-associated people.  But, as you say, that number is growing rather
nicely, and sooner or later we're going to end up with more people who want
to come than we can find space for anywhere reasonable.  At some point, we
might have to consider splitting off some reasonably-sized facet of the
conference into a separate event, to keep the numbers under control, but
that means that some people will be forced to only attend one or the other,
which reduces the amount of useful info you'll get out of your conference.

> (NB: I have banned the use of the word "user" in my company.  We prefer
> "you" or "doctor" or "editor" or "person", whichever seems appropriate.
> "User" rarely is, unless you're talking about a drug addict.)

I'm addicted to my computer.  Aren't you?

> >You would chew through a *very* large part of that $800k for a conference
> >organiser.  And I don't imagine that the DH convention centre is cheap,
> >either.
> No, but if AUUG can do it, and turn a profit, then so can LCA, OSIA, or
> any other such organisation.

As I understand conference economics, you usually subsidise the conference
from the expo takings.  If LCA ends up with an attached expo, I certainly
don't want it to be because it was the only way to make it turn a profit. 

- Matt
(taking a heavy snort on the silicon)
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