[ubuntu-us-ut] Utah Open Source Conference thoughts

Bryan Petty bryan at ibaku.net
Wed Sep 12 00:10:25 BST 2007

On 9/11/07, Clint Savage <herlo1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Clearly stated, the price was $199 (or it was $40 total with a UG
> discount code) in many emails.  I suggest that there was a bit of
> confusion.  To me though, you are just whining now and if you were
> gonna come, it would have been easy to determine this by asking...

I would have asked if I didn't know how much it was, but I had already
looked up the price back in March or April. Back then, the price was
clearly stated as something north of $500. I knew I wasn't going to
afford that, or care to go at that price, so I didn't waste my time
reading through the announcements about UTOSC beyond that.

Maybe this is something you should have thought of before picking some
ridiculous price out of thin air and making announcements about UTOSC
back in March and April before you had everything figured out.

I thought that UTOSC had some big plans for multiple big names coming,
training sessions, and some big international programs putting it in
the leagues along with the other conferences that cost the same.

Listen, I already mentioned that I fully understand that this is the
first year it's been held and that there was bound to be some issues
to come up. I also already mentioned that I only brought this up
because Christer asked for some feedback. But I didn't give my
feedback expecting to just be called a "whiner", it's not whining when
you've been asked for your opinion.

> The $200 price tag is a very reasonable one and indeed we're looking
> at raising (not lowering) the price overall.  We do expect, however,
> that most people will get in for the LUG/Sponsor discounts we're
> looking to provide next year.

I don't honestly think $200 is a reasonable price. You probably
already know this now that UTOSC is over though. Is there going to be
any kind of disclosure about numbers of attendees at UTOSC and how
many came in on the discount? How many people were really willing to
pay the $200, and why?

DefCon isn't even any kind of "open source movement" or "information
is free" related organization (well, maybe a "free the information"
kind), and they're always more than happy to disclose how many
attendees are there, and you already know how much each of them paid.

> The pricing structure is something we definitely learned from.  I
> don't think we should have to charge a large price to get into the
> event, but if you are willing we'll let you.  Also, there are people
> out there who will hear how *amazing* the conference was this year and
> just pay the amount we ask without question.  I want those people to
> come and learn about the LUGs, SIGs and other groups.

Voluntary donations is completely different from required fees. It's
one thing if attendees feel like donating more past the required
registration fee, it's something completely different when you require
this much up front, and call it a "donation".

And why would we want to pay past the required registration anyway?
Where's this extra money going? I don't see any non-profit
organizations involved in this effort. Neither the Free Software
Foundation, nor the Open Source Initiative are mentioned anywhere on
the UTOSC site (other than through Bruce Perens bio), nor did I hear
about any kind of donation drive for either organization being held at
UTOSC. There's at least some kind of help by paying Bruce Perens for
his involvement, sure, but it would have been best run through the
organization itself.

The fact that you're calling it a "pay if you're willing" fee says
that you didn't need to charge $200, but you haven't mentioned
anything about how much of this is a "donation" nor where it's being

I wouldn't even have a problem with this if it required that you
needed a paid staff to manage the setup, running, and cleanup of the
conference, but you also already mentioned that this was a volunteer
effort. Not a big deal either, a majority of DefCon is a volunteer
effort as well (temps are hired for at least registration desk,
possibly a couple other things as well). But I didn't hear anything
about speakers being paid either (other than Bruce Perens I'm
guessing), just free admission.

If you honestly believe that $200 is reasonable, and one that you're
even thinking of raising, I challenge you to explain why you think it
is, and what it goes towards. Let it be known that I also have no
problems with any details about yourself getting paid something in
exchange for dedicating so much time to organizing this (trust me, I
know how much work this is, and it's way more than the usual
volunteers spend helping).

Bryan Petty

More information about the ubuntu-us-ut mailing list