Things to keep in mind, learned from previous experience:
- Plan for at least 300, maybe 400 people.
- Try to get some accomodation where most people will be happy. It does not need to be a hotel, but it does need to have beds (and curtains :).
- In Comas, add a field "wants to share room with", and "does not want to share room with".
Define where the DebConf reception, the Server Room and the Store Room will be, in advance.
If possible, multiple room keys. I did see people spending a lot of time looking for their roommates just in order to get their keys.
- There is a lot of Vegetarians and Vegans among the Debian community. It's important to take this into account when talking with the food guys.
- Also, it's nice to have some flexibility. I.e. allow for people to switch to vegetarian meals, if the non-vegetarian food sucks.
- It would be nice not to use food tickets: use a bar code reader and read the person's badge? (This is sort of geekie, but would be really nice.)
- More flexible meal times, especially for breakfast.
- Sufficient time in between talks for everyone to return from the talk, wait in line for lunch, eat lunch, use the restroom, and walk back to the talk.
- Working wireless networking makes people more productive.
- Have all information online and easy to find.
- Do not have confusing links, like allowing to register for the web interface instead of Comas.
- Set in advance the dates for registration, confirmation, paper submission, talks voting, key submission, etc. Send a confirmation message with all those dates when someone registers with COMAS. (Suggested by anibal.)
- Do not start before 10:00 (or possibly 11:00). madduck sez: I actually would prefer them to be at 9 and end early so that the afternoon is mostly free. Maybe have the more specific talks in the morning and the broader ones in the afternoon? We should probably calculate for the obligatory siesta too!
- Have the talks as near as possible to both the hacklab and the restaurant.
- Have the full schedule published, at least two weeks before the conference.
Start at 9:00 every morning with a keynote speech and before it starts, draw a number to give away a nice, brand new laptop to one of the persons present in the room. That was very effective during http://linux.conf.au/ in Canberra in April 2005. IBM was the sponsor of the keynote laptops. (Suggested by anibal.)
- Wake up speakers one hour before their talks (or at least check if they are awake)
- There are several touristic locations around the city which can be interesting for a daytrip.
[http://www.differentworld.com/mexico/places/mexico_city/teotihuacan.htm Teotihuacán Ruins]
- Give each registered person, an ID which the reception will work with. Searching by names isn't easy with variant names from around the world.
- Organazing lift from the Airport to the dormotory was GREAT!
DebConf is increasing in size and naturally people clump together along cultural lines or such. It would be nice to make it easier to meet other people. For instance in a game fashion like:
- Person A get a game-tag from the reception
- This game-tag contains a name of person B, an interesting random question, a question about favorite package or Debian project.
- Person A finds person B and ask the questions on the game-tag, hopefully this sparks an interesting conversation for the both of them
- Person A returns to the reception with a filled in game-tag
- Person A gets another game-tag if he wants
- If the participants list a few special interests upon registration, the matrix of special interests can be used to arrange groups of people with some common interests. These people ought to meet, early.
- Organise sporting activities so people meet eachother more easily (like the sauna and frisbee during ["DC5"])
- Icons indicating areas of interest on the badges
- Ask the sponsors for diverse hardware not only i386 (or 64bit). It's great for testing.