Planning for OsmoCon + OsmoDevCon

Harald Welte laforge at
Sat Oct 14 06:01:40 UTC 2017

[cross-post to many lists, please follow-up-to openbsc at]

Dear all,

time is flying, and I would like to start early with discussions and planning
about OsmoCon and OsmoDevCon in 2018.  It helps to start early.

Side note: We have some pending issues about the events from last year at - I've incorporated them
in the text below.

== OsmoDevCon ==

For OsmoDevCon, I think it's easy: We keep it as-is.  Same procedure as
every year, which means:
* same venue, same catering options
* same concept of 'anyone contributing to Osmocom can apply for
  registration until all seats are taken'
* same idea of inviting some few speaker[s] doing other FOSS mobile
  communications work to join us

The parts that we need to change, IMHO:

* don't reduce from 4 to 3 days like last year. Have full 4 days again
* sort topics per day / half-day, i.e. have "GSM/UMTS Cellular
  Infrastructure" days for BTS/BSC/NITB/MSC/HLR/SGSN/GGSN & Co,
  but then have other days for other projects.  This would enable people
  not interested in the [continued evolvement] of the cellular projects
  be able to skip those days, or to simply meet in an adjacent room for
  parallel hacking sessions/discussions
* try to be a bit more structured with the schedule in general. The
  existing approach works for people who attend all the event all day
  long, but not so well for people with other plans / limited time

Any further change requests or topics to discuss?

Please note that Pablo Neira has offered to kindly host an OsmoDevCon in
Seville (Spain).  I've attended a number of netfilter workshops he
organized there, and he's doing a great job!  However, given the large
number of attendees from Berlin (and Germany in general), I think this
would make things more complicated, and more expensive for most
attendees.  If you disagree with that assessment: I'm open for having
the discussion, I just thought it's more practical/economic to do it in

=== 10 year Anniversary Party ===

Given that 2018 marks the 10 year anniversary of Dieter and me hacking
with the Siemens BS-11 in 2008, I think the 2018 incarnation deserves
some special celebration of some form.  I have no concrete idea yet, but
for sure we should so something, and it should be at/around
OsmoDevCon.  And for sure we should have a BS-11 around :)

== OsmoCon ==

The public OsmoCon was welcomed and was a success.  However,
let's start this discussion with a review of last years event.

=== Registration ===

* Registrations came in way too late. Two weeks ahead of the event, we were
  considering to cancel it.  And then within the last few days, we had
  to turn people down due to limited seating capacity

* To make planning more reliable, we see on other option but to
  significantly raise the registration fee combined with an equally
  significant discount for early booking

=== Duration ===

* Many people requested multiple days rather than just one, in order to
  make more out of (long distance) travels.  This is obvious, but as we
  had no idea how many people would attend at all (or if we have to
  cancel due to lack of attendance), planning multiple days in the first
  incarnation would have been high risk and a multitude of work

* I would suggest to expand to two or even three days this week,
  possibly one days with tutorials and the other day with tech talks

* Slightly less crammed schedule due to multiple days

=== Venue ===

We recognize this yearso venue was not the best option, due to
* Bad ventilation in the basemenet
* Difficult to find
* No space next to the conference room where people can meet / hang out
  in parallel to talks (not everyone attends every talk)

I still like the "understatement" of the venue.  I'd prefer any hostel /
non-profit / hackerspace / university over luxurious hotels any time.
Going to an expensive venue means more or less automatically more
expensive ticket fees, which again is more likely to exclude pure
community members without a commercial activity related to Osmocom.

So any future venue would ideally:

* be able to hold slightly more people than this year
* have a second room or large lobby in which people can meet for
  extended coffee breaks in parallel to some talks, as needed
* be slightly easier to find (and we have to put up some signs outside
  and in the lobby)
* have better WiFi and/or wired connectivity

=== Programme / Format ===

* less crammed over multiple days
* some more "interactive" formats were requested, for users to provide
  feedback to developers
* there was some discussion about topics / speakers in redmine last
  year, but not too much participation [until it was too late].
* I'd suggest a more formal CfP process with a submission deadline that
  allows us to publish a preliminary schedule long ahead of the event

=== Video Recordings ===

I think they were a big success, and it was a very big surprise that the
CCC Video Operations Center was volunteering to help such a small and
niche-interest event like OsmoCon.  We should make sure that we can
repeat this for 2018.

== Dates / Frequency ==

Having OsmoCon and OsmoDevCon back to back becomes somewhat long, if
OsmoCon is 2-3 days and OsmoDevCon is 4 days. Basically we're looking at
a full week for those of you who would like to attend both events.  But
then, I think the number of people attending both events is actually not
all that big.  Without checking the details, I think not more than half
of the OsmoDevCon attendees were attending OsmoCon.  I would expect that
tendency to remain or even increase.

I still think it's good to keep them back-to-back.

In terms of frequency,  I would actually suggest we move to a 6-month
cycle rather than a 12-month cycle.  There's a lot of development going
on at all time. I understand that not everyone is able to attend two
events just on Osmocom, especially if it's a spare time / hobby type
activity.  That's ok, I think there's no problem with attending either
of the two only, and catching up by video recordings and/or mail on the

The qeustion is: Should that second event be developer-oriented or
user-oriented?  Or again both?  Any comments here?

Ok, that was a somewhat lengthy e-mail.  Please make sure to provide any
feedback you may have as early as possible, to increase the chances of
your feedback being reflected in the planning.

Happy hacking,

- Harald Welte <laforge at> 
"Privacy in residential applications is a desirable marketing option."
                                                  (ETSI EN 300 175-7 Ch. A6)

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