[Linux-aus] Re: LCA, eh

Del del at babel.com.au
Sat Apr 30 08:02:02 UTC 2005

> Bigger is not always better. Or at least its not best suited to a
> technical conference for developers.

The problem of scale, as I said earlier, is a problem of "scale",
not "better" nor "technical" nor "users" nor anything else.

Let's face it -- the Linux community in Australia is growing.  It
is likely to continue growing as Linux chews more heavily into
the market share of other OSes in the desktop, server, commercial,
home user, technical, and hobbyist spaces.  It's also going to
grow somewhat due to natural population growth.

At some point, maybe 3, 5, or 10 years down the track, you're
going to have a simple choice, which is going to be something
along the lines of:

* Allow, and plan for, a larger attendance at Linux.conf.au.
* Split the conference into multiple smaller conferences.
* Do something to discourage attendance -- put the price up,
   stop inviting good speakers, run it in Antarctica, etc.
* Fix the numbers and cut off bookings earlier and earlier.
   So you end up with a conference in January where bookings
   close in October, and it's just the first 500 people who
   book who will be allowed in.

If you split the conference, how do you split it?  Isn't it
more work to run 3 or 4 conferences than it is to run one
larger conference?

One of the things that keeps attracting people to LCA is the
speakers.  The chance to hear Linus talk, getting PHP talks
from Rasmus, SAMBA talks from Tridge, that sort of thing.  Do
you really want to change that?  Case in point -- the reason
I attended LCA a few years ago and not AUUG was because of the
PHP talks -- LCA had Rasmus, and AUUG had some guy who wasn't
really in the same league.

Antarctica is lovely at this time of year, but doesn't have
any really good conference venues.  You may see a lot of
penguins, though.

Are the first 500 developers who book really going to be the
ones who have the most to contribute to the conference?

There aren't any real simple answers.  I think saying "Oh,
we'll keep LCA around 500 people because that's good for
the developers" is just burying your head in the sand a bit.
At some point you're going to get 1000 or 2000 developers
knocking on your door and you're going to have to do something
about that, like it or not.


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