[Linux-aus] Sydney's bid for LCA2014 and 2015

Mary Gardiner mary at puzzling.org
Mon Oct 1 20:44:53 EST 2012

On 2012-09-26, Tim Ansell wrote:
> Hello Linux Australia community,
> You can find our bid document for LCA2014 and 2015 at
> https://docs.google.com/a/mithis.com/file/d/0B5VlNZ_Rvdw6WVA2Y0phUHFtQ1E/edit

Excited to see a Sydney bid, and one looking at modifying some parts of LCA.

The proposal to alter the travel funding I think is very interesting! Copying
and pasting from the bid doc for the benefit of the list:

This exciting new program aims to target diversity, not just gender diversity,
but regional and income. This is based on the very successful PyCon US model,
another community run conference which funds a community run organisation.
Jesse Noller, a PyCon US organiser, has explained why this program is so

    "... offers a very generous financial aid program — this means that some
    attendees, speakers, tutorial presenters, etc have some, or in rare cases,
    all of their expenses such as flight, hotel and admission provided to them
    from the PyCon budget.
    PyCon goes out of its way to encourage people to a pply for financial aid
    even if we cant cover all of your expenses, we will give you free admission
    based on need. The FA application process is simple, and straightforward.

    We also don't ban anyone from applying (for example, I needed assistance in
    2010 even as the PC chair)."

The funding for this program [at a Sydney LCA] will come from the money
normally allocated for the speakers travel budget. A majority of our speakers
work for large corporations that are happy to pay both their travel and
accommodation and LCA does currently not utilising this fact. This doesn't
leave speakers who don't meet this criteria out in the cold, as they can apply
to the grant program too.


The budget can be extended even further through a "Donate to the grants
program, get discount on your professional ticket" or a "Buy one, give one"


On average, these costs will mean that the average grant will be ~$1200 meaning
we can bring ~33 people to the event.

I have some miscellaneous commentary on this:

As a brief correction: most LCA speakers who work for large for-profit
corporations already do have that corporation pay for their travel to LCA: the
bid team should not expect enormous savings in this respect. Speakers asking
for travel are, by and large, working for smaller or newer companies, working
for non-profits, working as hobbyists or volunteers, or in the odd case here
and there working for the occasional large corporation with a very stingy staff
travel program. I would expect that almost all of those speakers would apply
for the travel grants under the new model too.

Which doesn't make it a bad idea!

For the benefit of history only, I should note that LCA has also had variants
on such a scheme before:

1. a Regional Delegates Program, sponsored by Sun, for linux.conf.au 2003,
   2004, and 2005, which selected one person from each Australian state and
   territory to receive travel, accommodation and registration to the conference.

2. a Diversity Delegates Program, sponsored by Google, for linux.conf.au 2009
   and 2010, which selected women (in 2009) and members of minority groups (in
   2010) for grants to attend. LCA2010 also had grants for people from New Zealand
   and Oceania, funded by other sponsors.

So what the Sydney bid is proposing also fits into that history, with the
change that it comes from central conference funds at the expense of the fund
that is limited to speakers' travel.

As a note: some conferences have also done a similar "donate to the [cause]
fund" at registration time in order to fund the provision of childcare.


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