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Re: [Linux-aus] About a User Conference - grand plans

On Tuesday 22 February 2005 18:38, Tim Bowden wrote:
> Do we really need to cater to newbies?

Yes, very much so, but perhaps not in the manner that I suspect most of 
us imagine.

> I know they are /very/ important, but the type of user conf that
> might work better (at least initially), is one that is aimed at
> 'professional users', ie, dba's, small time(?) web/sys admins,
> serious desktop users (oo.o, gimp...) and so on, who are not
> kernel developers and not well catered for at lca.

> That type of user profile would not have any problems with a uni
> type venue and would be more accommodating to a numbers cap.
> Surely there would be vendors who would support such an audience,
> even if not with the same $$ as with lca- Novel? HP? Oracle? Does
> anyone have any concrete idea of how they would view such an
> audience? 

I am thinking that a user conference should operate as a kind of 
combined recruitment drive and set of boot-camp seminars. It should aim 
to attract and to some extent add credence to two major groups of 
users, what you might call user-users and admin-users.

IOW, it should be a FOSS conference rather than overtly Linux-specific, 
and pitched both at people who want to use The GIMP better, and at 
people who are (considering) adminning Linux (or *BSD) workstations and 
servers - with just enough glue for the part-time admins (call them 
"power users") to keep them happy too. It should not have sessions on 
dprobes or porting device drivers to the Power platform. If Linus 
appears there, it would be a cameo on the first or last day as he was 
on his way to/from LCA.

So, for example, you might have five streams: call them user1, user2, 
power, admin, meta.

User1 and user2 are for the GIMP jockeys and learning how to use 
Konqueror for fun and profit.

Power is "How to boot Ubuntu and then install it on your system" or "My 
LAN has fallen and it can't get up - but I have this live CD..."

Admin is "Integrating Linux workstations into an Active Directory 
evironment" and "Migrating from IIS to Apache".

Meta is "Overcoming legal barriers to opening your source", "Minimising 
patent exposure with Open Source Software" and "Finding the balance: 
practical economic analysis of Open Source deployment within your 

The grand vision is to both grow the FOSS (and by implication Linux) 
"market" and also to introduce more technical people to it in a 
practical sense. Growing the userbase is all well and good, but if 
they're starved for support several bad things will happen:

  * Users will be left helpless, and FOSS will get a bad name;

  * Sharks will move in to take advantage of the above, and
    FOSS will get a bad name;

  * Money will continue to go to paper tigers and get shipped
    overseas to people who aren't exactly cash-starved rather
    than going back into the pockets of working Australians.

By staging conferences like this, we will familiarise people with FOSS 
and specifically Linux, and show them that something other than their 
friendly neighbourhood geek is happening in the area.

With this in mind, it would make sense to have such conferences in every 
capital city and perhaps a handful of regional centres as well, but to 
put it simply, we don't yet have enough people to pull that off.

So... what _I_ think we should do is send up a trial balloon later this 
year, maybe in August or September, in one of the capital cities, and 
if that works out we should have *two* running more or less back to 
back in widely separated cities for 2006. Maybe do that again in 2007, 
or maybe split out to *three* cities, and maybe make one of them Kiwi, 
and so on, expanding gradually until we have one in every capital city 
each year.

Back to back means you can retread your speakers, which you can't do 
with parallel conferences. And I reckon the cities to do this in are:

    2005: Sydney
    2006: Melbourne and Perth
    2007: Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland
    2008: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Wellington
    2009: Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart, Auckland, Newcastle

...and so on.

And since nobody picked up on renaming LCA to CLANZ, I propose naming it 
FANZS - FOSS Aus & NuZulund Symposium. Symposium makes particular sense 
if you read the definition:


 1. A meeting or conference for discussion of a topic, especially
    one in which the participants form an audience and make

 2. A collection of writings on a particular topic, as in a magazine.

 3. A convivial meeting for drinking, music, and intellectual
    discussion among the ancient Greeks.

Since Novell is into expanding their dealer and user base in a big way, 
it makes sense to me to approach them about being the el primo sponsor, 
at least for the first few.

We could probably encourage definition 3 by deliberately scheduling the 
last presentation in at least a couple of the streams each day to be 
slightly lighter-hearted topics like "Using Open Source in Jam 
Sessions" and "Configuring your LinkSys Router to run a MicroBrewery". 
Conrad will be in it. (-:

Any other takers?

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Member, Perth Linux User Group
http://osia.net.au/             Member, Open Source Industry Australia
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Member, Linux Australia