[Linux-aus] Grant proposal: Software Freedom Day CDs for Australia

Jon 'maddog' Hall maddog at li.org
Tue Jun 17 13:21:57 EST 2008

>I know that once we start selling something at a conference or show, we
>may have issues with booth prices etc - hence to insist it is a
>donation only to help cover media costs - not that you are paying for
>the software.


I agree with this, particularly if everyone knows about it "up
front" (the sponsors of the CD, etc.)

Too many times I have seen CDs fly into people's hands and they did not
even know what was on them.

Another way of looking at it, if you get some people to donate for the
CDs, it means there are more disks that you can press the next time.

I also feel the same about asking for donations at gratis conferences,
if done in a non-forceful way.  Many people are willing to give money to
help cover expenses, etc. if they are only asked.

Over the years I have gotten into the thought pattern of advocating for
some small admission fee to any conference, but then making sure that
people get their money's worth.  There are few people that can't afford
$5-$10., and this can go a long way to covering variable expenses in a
one-or-two day event.  There are trade-offs, to be sure.  Admission fees
mean that you have to collect them, have badges, etc.  Donations mean
that several times a day you pass around the "donation jar".

Once upon a time I was contacted by a conference committee that had
found out one month before their heavily advertised free conference that
they had no venue.  The university they were counting on had never been
contacted, and had no room for them ("bad organizer on device").  A
hotel that did have room wanted $3K.  I put the hotel charge on my
MasterCard, then went to the event with a few "auction items".  Between
the auction and passing the hat, we came within $200 of breaking even.

Now each year they run a free conference, but the auction and the
hat-passing are standard fare.

Free software is great.  Free beer does not exist.

Jon "maddog" Hall
Executive Director           Linux International(R)
email: maddog at li.org         80 Amherst St. 
Voice: +1.603.672.4557       Amherst, N.H. 03031-3032 U.S.A.
WWW: http://www.li.org

Board Member: Uniforum Association
Board Member Emeritus: USENIX Association (2000-2006)

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