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Somehow, and I am certain I had my fingers in it, discussion about oSC has somewhat high jacked the thread about the wording of a form letter for membership applicants. As we have lots of discussions going on, rather than continue to high jack the other thread lets just add another log to the fire.
Let me start out with a proclamation about oSC:
The intent of the openSUSE Conference (oSC) is/was to be an inward looking conference. Focused on the openSUSE community and project the idea is/was that a significant number of contributors gather once a year to discuss the current state of the project, make plans for future direction, innovate, start new initiatives, socialize face to face, and bond. Everyone is welcome to contribute and attend the event, but it is not targeted to be an outreach conference with a focus on "finding" new contributors. The conference should have ample of time to mentor those that attend that are new or relatively new to openSUSE and want to be more involved.
We can of course argue over this proclamation/charter but I will consider it as basis for what is to come.
Lets look at the facts:
- - While in the end we had a good turn out at oSC15, it took a herculean effort to get there and I would say we did not meet the goal of having "..a significant number of contributors gather..".
- - The most recent oSCs required an unbelievable effort by a very small group of people. Each year we got lucky and found someone who was willing to take on the organization. But effectively we are in "burn mode", i.e. once someone organized the event they are completely and utterly burned out. This is simply not sustainable. + Arguments about this point will probably range anywhere from personality issues to "I am too far away to help"
- - Not having "a significant number of contributors gather" at oSC makes it impossible to achieve the other goals: + discuss the current state of the project + make plans for future direction + start new initiatives The glaring example here is that the "Booth box" session at oSC15 was attended by 2 people, both of whom were already familiar with the current state and how we got there etc. Making it impossible to have a discussion about what works and what doesn't and how we can do better going forward.
So what's next?
- From my perspective we are failing at "fulfilling the charter of oSC". Yes there are a million reasons why contributors cannot come, Travel is expensive, it is too far away, it is over a weekend, one needs to take vacation, bad timing, .....
Given that everyone can probably give at least 5 reasons why oSC attendance is at the bottom of their list, we have no sustainable way of organizing oSC, and we are failing the charter (as defined above) I think it is fair to ask a few questions:
Staring with the most provocative one on purpose:
- - Should the effort be made to continue oSC past oSC16? + Consider that no proposals were received for the call for location of oSC16 + Everyone that says "yes we should", be prepared to help
- - Should we strive to change the charter/nature of oSC and brand it more as a "FOSS conference organized by the openSUSE project" + Even this will require us to figure out how we get more people involved in the organization. Burning people out year after year to organize oSC is not really a good approach
- - How can we come up with a model that provides a more sustainable organizational effort?
- - What would it take to raise oSC attendance closer to the top of your list, given the other reasons listed above plus your own are still present? + Do we need a rock star act for the party? + More beer, less beer, .....?
- - What prevents people from contributing to the organization of oSC?
Obviously a rather incomplete list of questions, but it is a start.
Anyway, as it stands at this point (business as usual) a call for location would go out towards the end of this year for oSC17. This will probably go unanswered adn thus a few of us will be left sending out direct e-mail to someone who might be willing to take on the task. Unless we do something about it oSC might die all by itself without having this discussion. Thus, rather than having a death by apathy, lets figure out if we are all comfortable with this, i.e. oSC dying, or if collectively we have the energy to save the event and we can come up with a plan to do so.
P.S. If I inadvertently steeped on your tows or pointed the finger at you, or was offensive in any way, I apologize. I believe it is necessary that we have an honest and open discussion about oSC, attendance and organization.
- -- Robert Schweikert MAY THE SOURCE BE WITH YOU Public Cloud Architect LINUX email@example.com IRC: robjo