[Linux-aus] LCA2014 update

James Bromberger james at rcpt.to
Wed Aug 29 01:26:37 EST 2012

On 28/08/2012 9:06 PM, Andrew Cowie wrote:
> On Tue, 2012-08-28 at 07:09 +0000, Mary Gardiner wrote:
>> c. (possibly just a neutral statement, rather than a con) some people who
>> attended LCA primarily for the miniconf days — they do exist! — might not attend
>> LCA any more.
> Only a personal anecdote, but I found out about LCA 2003 in Perth
> because of the Debian Miniconf (which was quite heavily advertised in
> Debian circles). Glad I went!
Yay! My work here is done. :P

I've been pondering this thread for several hours. I've rewritten this
message several times.

Let me first have a word on mini-confs. They were originally supposed to
be zero load on the LCA organisers; *IMHO* they should simply be a
confirmation that there's a room somewhere that can be used for $project
WHILE the LCA organisers set up. There should be no expectation that LCA
starts when the mini confs start I think over time they've become the
tutorial preludes of LCA. Perhaps to keep them simple, they should be a
'no budget', 'no sponsorship' track (they shouldn't need that, and they
shouldn't draw sponsorship away from LCA). Any mini conf presentation
that has a wide audience appeal than should be bumped up to the main conf.

Let me turn now to the state of LCA, IMHO, as an ex organiser ('03-PER).

Times have changed. LUG participation - where we draw much of THIS
community came from, has diminished, IMHO. When I returned to Perth in
2010, PLUG had 22 members (~81 today, but that was some work). The role
of the LUG as a focal point of OSS - spreading ideas and tribal
knowledge - is diminished; there's not a lot of fresh blood coming in
that participate *IRL* in the community. I've missed the last few LUG
COMMS IRC meetings (sorry Don et al), but the attendance there has been
pretty low (I've enjoyed chatting with the other LUGs and sharing event
ideas, successes and failures; Where's everyone else been - shouldn't
someone from each LUG be there?). To me, this is a shrinking community.

The roaming objective of LCA has in my mind, been achieved, but at the
cost of not being able to seamlessly repeat with minimal effort (fresh
organisers/suppliers/venues every year).

At the same time, segments of our community have formed their own
focused conferences (DDU, OSDC, etc), so we have fragmented our
volunteers and participants.

1+2+3 = conditions that make it tough to continue as we have done.

Distributed organisation makes some sense. As does *not* moving venue
every year, and using (the same) professional organisers to reduce the
workload (picking up the slack from reduced volunteers).

Even possibly rebranding LCA (what demons have I invoked now?) and
embrasing the separate conferences (DDU, PyCon, OSDC) to run after LCAng
to encourage the community to unify at one time and place? Don't get me
wrong - LCA has an awesome reputation and history (I'm immensely
honoured and proud of my involvement, now and to the day I die); but are
we representing ourselves with branding that no longer captures people
in a market that has scattered?

Let me suggest that the community needs a session in Canberra 2103 to
debate the future: 2014 will be sorted by then[1]; it's 2015 and beyond
we need to navigate for. Tough questions with many options may leads to
endless flames and limitless threads on-list with no clear direction.


[1] No, I'm not running another LCA. But I think the distributed
management option + some stuff I'll let others put forward should work
for 2014, but consider having 'interns' each year (forces fresh
membership as people 'retire').

PS: I'll be in Melbourne Sept 16 - 22 or so (w/Mrs + 2 year old). What's
happenin' (offlist, SVP)?

/Mobile:/ +61 422 166 708, /Email:/ james_AT_rcpt.to
PLUG President 2012: http://www.plug.org.au <http//www.plug.org.au>
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