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From DebConf10/Meetings:

[edit] Priority List

  1. "affordable" for both sponsors and attendees
    1. Flights/travel will be relatively cheap for the majority of developers, and historically that's been the bulk of expenditures for attendees. We are fairly certain that the venue itself will cost no more than $20,000, though the accommodation costs are a bit more up in the air. Food will be fairly cheap, with average meals on MIT campus being around $5-$8. Even alcohol on campus is pretty cheap (down to $2-$3/pint of beer). There are many local technical FLOSS-friendly companies who would probably be willing to sponsor the event.
  2. strong, mature, experienced local team
    1. The majority of people on the current local team have been to at least one DebConf, with some having attended more. Some of the team also has past experience running local technical conferences. We think we've been able to put a strong bid together in about two months. There is also a large number of people who have offered to help if the bid is accepted. The large number of free software, free culture, OpenStreetMap, etc. people already in the vicinity, (most DDs per capita of any metro area) and especially at MIT, would certainly be an advantage.
  3. good working spaces
    1. The MIT environment already accommodates requirements very similar to DebConf - lots of Internet access and power, and lots of places to work without time limits. Adapting to us wouldn't take much effort. We should be able to reserve enough venue space & on-campus housing now (assuming we had the appropriate deposits available) and can always change the rooms later as more become available. We believe we can keep all talk rooms & hacklabs in the same building.
  4. excellent network connectivity
    1. MIT certainly fits this bill - every building we'd possibly be using has extensive wireless access, and we can activate wired ports if needed. MIT's network constantly outperforms nearly any other college campus, with more than 2Gbit to the Internet, and even more to Internet2. Imagine a DebConf where the admins wouldn't have to be stressing out the whole week dealing with network access, since nearly everything would be provided already.
  5. quality and quantity of food and drink in close proximity
    1. Lots of options for people to choose where to eat on their own - there will probably be a centrally located place to eat in the venue building, but there are other places within a 10 minute walk from wherever the venue may be. Vegetarians and vegans will have plenty of good options.
  6. suitable accommodation in close proximity
    1. We have confirmed that we'd be able to reserve about 200 spots for people in on-campus dorms, ranging from $40/person/night to $96/person/night. All of the dorms have plenty of space, wireless Internet, common kitchens, and common areas. All of the dorms are within a 15 minute walk from the proposed venue locations. There are at least 3 area hotels within a 20 minute walk to any MIT building, and there are two Hosteling Internationals across the river in Boston that are about a 3 kilometer walk (or short bus ride) from MIT. There are also many other hotels in Boston.
  7. presentation facilities
    1. Classrooms already have at least one projector, and most larger rooms already have audio amplification equipment. Setting up video equipment should be fairly straightforward, since all rooms have plenty of power and wired network access.
  8. travel logistics
    1. Unlike some cities, the major Boston airport is very close to the city, and is easily accessible via public transportation - the trip from the airport to near MIT should take no longer than 45-60 minutes, and it would be less than 15 minutes to walk to any MIT building. Lots of buses and trains are also available for people arriving from shorter distances. Boston is one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world, and public transportation is easily accessible; because the area was first settled in the 1600s, roads tend to be optimized more for pedestrians than cars.
  9. accessibility
    1. All of the MIT classroom buildings we're looking at are wheelchair-accessible, and pedestrian street crossings in the area have audible indicators for the visually impaired. All local hotels are wheelchair-accessible, and at least one available dorm building is easily wheelchair-accessible.

[edit] Good points about other venues

  • New York City - lots of things to do outside of DebConf in the city, and both Boston & NYC are easily accessible for travel arrangements, especially given how many US-based DDs there are.
  • Quito - Cheap prices & US currency while in Ecuador are certainly an advantage. Travel arrangements for non-US/European attendees would be easy due to lenient visa requirements. English seems pretty common there, which would be good. Being in another major city should also be an advantage for people who have free time and want to spend it outside of the conference venue.

[edit] Weak points of our bid

  • On-campus accommodation choices are much more limited than we had originally expected, but 200 is still a pretty good number to house there. However, there are still other options, such as area hotels and two hostels that are fairly close by.
  • Even though we can reserve rooms in & around the student center now, we won't be able to reserve the ideal spots (Stata Center) until January, and we won't know for sure about availability of Stata and most of the main classrooms until then.
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