Decisions, Decisions...

One of the things I told the rest of the committee when starting organizing for FOSS4G 2007 was that I wanted a “narrower” conference. The 2006 event had run 8 tracks wide, which meant that, no matter which room you chose, there were always two other rooms that had something else you wanted to see at the same time.

So I lobbied hard to shrink down a little, and got folks to agree to a presentation program that was “only” 5 tracks wide. But then the Call for Workshops was flooded, and we couldn’t bear to say no to 80% of the submissions, so we ended up tacking two labs tracks onto the side of the main program, and voila, we are back at seven tracks wide.

All this means that there are no easy decisions in figuring out what parts of FOSS4G to see this year, sorry, I tried! Here’s the tentative schedule grid:

Biggest. FOSS4G. Ever.

With 450 registered as the early bird deadline passes, the 2007 edition of FOSS4G is now well positioned for attendance in the 600 to 700 range, easily besting last year’s total of 535. Previous conferences registered up to 50% of their attendees in the last month before the conference, so attendance could go even higher.

Biggest. FOSS4G. Ever.

Many of the workshops are now at capacity, but there are still a couple left. Not for long though. All I need now is Comic Book Guy, or Juan Antonio Samaranch to declare FOSS4G 2007 the “biggest FOSS4G ever!”.

FOSS4G Workshops Going, Going...

I mentioned earlier that workshops are the most popular features of FOSS4G, and as we rush into early-bird, the numbers are bearing that out. Already over 2/3 of the slots are full.

Per usual, everyone is waiting until the last possible second to get their registrations in at the reduced rates. That means if you register now, a whole 24 hours before the deadline, you still have a fighting chance of getting a workshop seat. Go get that credit card. Go on.

FOSS4G Early Birds get the Worm

Or, perhaps they avoid the worm… it all depends on what you think the worm is.

Regardless, the early discounted registration rates end on Friday and that means a big bump up in cost for those who do their registration at the last minute. Before the deadline, conference registration is just $395CAD; after Friday July 27, registration is $565CAD.

FOSS4G 2007

Some statistical conference notes:

  • 52 workshop submissions were sent in. 12 were accepted as 3-hour workshops, 16 accepted as 1.5-hour labs.
  • 216 presentation submissions were sent in. 120 were chosen for the final program.
  • 250 community members participated in the program review, providing over 12,000 rankings.
  • 20,000 visitors have come to the site so far, 7,300 in the last month. The site is receiving 500 visits per day. Over 50% of the visitors use Firefox, 13% use Linux, 9% use Macs.
  • 10,000 invitation postcards were mailed out last month.
  • Victoria Conference Centre can handle up to 1,200 delegates.
  • One of the three conference hotels is already sold out.
  • Most of the workshops are already half full.

FOSS4G 2007 Presentation Program Selected

On Friday I sat down with the conference committee and we selected the 120 presentations that will make up the middle of the FOSS4G 2007 program. We had 217 submissions to choose from, and the job was made waaaaay easier by starting from the numbers generated by the community program review.

The review ended up generating 12,000 distinct rankings (a score on a talk) gathered from over 250 reviewers. Talks ranged in popularity from just over 50% (1 in 2 reviewers indicated they had interest) to 6%. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the process is that no submission was so unloved as to receive no votes – even the lowliest submission received 16 expressions of interest. We are a community with a wide ranges of tastes.