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[edit] Local team

The local team will consist of one DD - Aigars Mahinovs "aigarius" well known for his photos and loud voice during previous Debconfs and the following local people:

  • Peteris Krišjānis "pecisk" (a developer in Jokosher, audio enthusiast, main local video team contact).
  • Leo Trukšāns "leot" (chief or the Linux center of the Latvian University, managing several paid employees that should also be available to help us).
  • Rūdolfs Mazurs "rudolfs" (main Gnome translator for Latvian, manages a small crowd of locals that are willing and able to translate for us).
  • Dmitrijs Golubevs "lastguru" (server administration and network administration expert).
  • Jevģēnijs Butāns "eugene" (computer scientist with great connections in active sports community - will organise the DayTrip; has experience in organising ~100 people conferences).
  • Dmitrijs Borisogļebskis "coced" (scientist in information technology and manufacturing management; has experience in organising ~100 people conferences).

The above people are the ones who confirmed their willingness to fully dedicate 1 month of their time in year 2013 to organisation and running of the conference. A few other potential local team members are likely to join.

[edit] Choice of city

The conference will be held in the capital Rīga[1][2], 10km away from RIX airport with numerous conections to European airports. Nearby (45 min flight or 2 hour ferry + 4 hour bus) HEL airport services even more airports and has connections to/from Asia and USA.

Riga is a home to approx. 900 000 people with a large number of tourists in the summer. [3][4] And it historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For regular stuff Riga has many supermarkets and also corner shops, there is a supermarket within 100m of any of the venues. There is a multitude of computer and electricity shops in the city.

Many routes around the city are friendly to handicapped people and that has improved in the last few years as extra ramps have been built all over the city for bicycles.

RIX airport[5] has Ryanair connections to their key hubs of Frankfurt-Hahn, Bergamo, Stansted, ... AirBaltic[6] is operating with RIX as its base airport and has flights to over 50 airports, mostly in Europe. AirBaltic flights show up as normal in most air travel planning services.

Latvia is part of Schengen, so all Schengen regulations apply as usual. There are a lot of tourists in Riga every year and they overwhelmingly report a pleasant experience.

Young people mostly understand and talk in English without problems, English is taught in schools starting with the first grade for the last 10 years. Most people under 30 would have had English taught to them starting from the age of 13.

Smoking is not allowed inside most of the buildings and within 10 meters from an entrance to any government building or hotel.

[edit] Conference Facilities

There is a primary location (both venue and housing) with multiple backup fall-back options:

  • Primary location: centre of Riga [7]
    • Latvian university venue - the main building of the Latvian University: grand auditorium (800+) and small auditorium (120) with some video/audio equipment already in place and lots of hacklab spaces for 30-50 people. There is also a student buffet that can feed all of us inside the venue building. Wheelchair accessible via side entrance and special elevator inside the building, there is a student in a wheelchair who has been using these facilities for more than a year with no issues. It has also been verified that a person in a wheelchair can travel from hotels to the venue. The venue will be accessible to conference participants on a 24/7 basis by showing conference badges to a guard at night time. The venue will be free for us.
    • Primary hotel - Tallink Hotel Riga [8] - 5-8 minutes walking distance (700m along the sidewalks) from the LU venue, a bit expensive (34€ ppn with breakfast, morning sauna and gym) newly built hotel (opened in 2010), have enough rooms to accommodate all of us, have special rooms for people with special needs including specially built rooms for people in a wheelchair and for people with strong allergies. Provides breakfast buffet, a bar in the reception, free morning sauna, there is also a spa. [9]
    • Hostel option - hostels in the Riga centre. In a manner similar to Debconf7, Riga has a large number of hostels. We can arrange to take over a few hostels that are closest to our venue. An offer has been put forward by three large hostels [10] [11] [12] offering to house all 300 people in dorms sized 6 to 16 beds per room for the price of 13€ ppn including breakfast with most people staying in Franks. As the other two offered hostels don't have great reviews, we might want to adjust to use other hostels for the people beyond the first 200. It is unlikely that the price will grow beyond 20€ ppn including breakfast. If we use this option, people with special needs will still need to be housed in a proper hotel, such as the primary hotel, but the price then will likely be closer to 45€ ppn there.
    • Backup hotel option - Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija [13] - expensive (40€ ppn with breakfast), largest hotel in town with a large number of rooms, great view of the city, a bit closer to the venue than Tallink. [14]
  • Backup location - Kipsala island on the river Daugava, across a bridge to city centre [15]
    • Riga Technical University venue - there are 3 RTU faculties on the island with a 4th being built now and will be completed in early 2013, only the building under construction has auditoriums for 300+ people, other buildings have multiple 200+ people auditoriums and plenty of hacklab style rooms. This will be free for us. Accessibility oriented renovation is scheduled to be completed before mid-2012.
    • Student housing facilities - cheap (10€ per day for the first 100 and 25€ for another 100), 2-3 people per room, great network in rooms, 100m from the backup venue candidate, on a mostly-student occupied island on the river across the bridge from the city centre. Not suited for people with disabilities, they will have to be housed in Islande hotel instead.
    • Islande hotel - expensive (standard rate at 40€ ppn with breakfast, gym and morning sauna), they advertise 128 twin/double rooms and 35 double twin rooms, includes 7 rooms with full facilities for people with special needs and 28 non-allergic rooms.

All pubs, night clubs, restaurants and bars are in the centre of the city, which is near the central location, and around 1 km / 10min public transport ride from the Kipsala location.

[edit] Food

For the approximate sum of 5€ per person per meal set menu food can be easily provided, the food provider of the university has no problem feeding 300+ people lunch and dinner (they have served events up to 450 people just this summer) every day for two weeks including Saturday and Sunday. For speed they recommend using a pre-set menu with only two options (regular or vegetarian) so that they can just have several people plating the food and people queueing just to pick it up, but they can also make it a buffet type meal at roughly the same price level. The 5€ price point includes a soup, a main dish and a dessert. The quoted amount is for the current price levels, there might be some inflation in the next two years that might drive the price up to 6€.

For the formal meal the LIDO recreational centre would be the default choice - [16] . This place can provide laid out meals for up to 500 persons and can also offer a buffet service, which is how it serves customers normally. Nice meals in Latvian and European traditions are cooked continuously right in the view of customers and provides acceptable quality for reasonable prices. We can expect a full meal to run up to 20€ per person. It has been verified that both vegetarians and vegans will have no problems having a full meal with multiple options available for each course. Riga culinary scene is quite dynamic, so better options might be available at the time, but this is a solid and time tested provider with good reputation. - guide to Latvian beer, which can be had in pubs and shops near the venue.

[edit] Network connectivity

All prospective venues are connected to either 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps optical network uplinks directly to the national Internet exchange with no traffic limits or shaping and all switches in the buildings are connected with at least 1 Gbps link to the trunk. The venues are already covered with wireless networking, but we will be free to beef it up as needed, local volunteers from the venue employees will take it as a pride issue to insure that all the networking (including a separate video network) are set up before the Debcamp begins.

In general Latvia is #7 in the world by Internet speed -

[edit] Special rooms

All locations have dedicated server rooms that we will be able to access.

[edit] Fun and Free time

Riga is an active tourist location with a busy and compact city centre that houses many entertainment options from bars and night clubs to museums and libraries. Self-service rentable bicycles (by the hour or by the day) are available for travel around the city. There is a bicycle renting racks at each of the prospective locations. You can also easily reach the sea beach either directly in Riga (25 minutes by city bus from primary venue) or by going to a resort town Jurmala (literally translates to 'sea side', 20 min train or a 20 km bike ride via a special bicycle path) [17] .

For the day trip the plan is to take buses to Cesis castle [18] [19] , have breakfast there, then take 6-12 man boats downstream the river Gauja trough a national park with an easy stream and great riverside views, the buses will be waiting for us in Ligatne [20] (15km downstream, eta 3 hours) which will then bring us back to Cesis castle for a late lunch with spit-roasted meat and other local food in medieval traditions, the castle staff will also provide entertainment options that range from a simple castle excursion to bread baking, archery and learning medieval dances. After that the buses will take us all back to the venue.

[edit] Budget

(Thanks to the Swiss team for the idea and example)

Cost position Cost in hostels Cost in a hotel
Accomodation (note 1): 38025 EUR 99450 EUR
Food (average of 12 EUR per day, note 2): 28200 EUR
Venue (note 4): 0.00 EUR
T-Shirts and bags (note 3): 3200 EUR
Sub-total 69425 EUR 130850 EUR
Daytrip: (note 5) 12000 EUR
Formal dinner: 4500 EUR
TOTAL: 85925 EUR 147350 EUR


  1. room costs are calculated for an average or 195 people over 15 days, average of 13 EUR per day in hostels or 34 EUR per day in a hotel
  2. based on previous DebConfs, the first 7 days of Debcamp average of 100 people, for the 7 days of Debconf average of 300 people, excluding 1 day for daytrip and 1 meal for the formal diner, so the calculation is 7*100*12+5*300*12+1*300*6
  3. the price for one T-Shirt was based on an offer from two most popular printing companies average 6 EUR per shirt for a batch of 400 210g t-shirts, two color screen print front, one color back and average of 2 EUR for tote bags for a batch of 300 bags with one color printing on one site
  4. all proposed venues are fully sponsored by the corresponding university
  5. Daytrip cost estimated according to the Daytrip plan described in the dedicated section with 4000 EUR of the money being food costs for the day, these prices have not been negotiated at this point

[edit] Local Sponsors

Both main local universities (RTU and LU) are willing to sponsor connectivity, network hardware and conference facilities. Agreement on a sponsorship of a batch of local pre-paid SIM cards is very likely (especially considering that basic pre-paid SIM card packages are sold in the shops for under 2€). Significant local monetary sponsorship is unlikely.

[edit] Timing

The best time would be first two weeks of August, so August 4th - August 18th 2013.

[edit] Additional local helpers

If you are local to Riga, Latvia and want to help, please add yourself here:

  • Name, contact email, what areas you would want to work on
  • Atis Lezdiņš - (VoIP application developer):
    • can help with anything
    • have experience on organizing smaller events (20 persons as coordinator, 50 persons as active helper)
    • have car + driver's license (logistics)
  • Anita Reitere - nitalynx [a] gmail [.] com
    • organizing, registration, translation.

[edit] TODO (post proposal acceptance)

  • agree on the local legal entity to be used as a funding bridge (there are at least 3 feasible options)
  • seek out potential local sponsors or global sponsors trough local connections
  • try to find a better location for the formal dinner
  • inform all housing options of our choice
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