I wrote this in October 2016. It was not published until August 2022.
I loved being at Grace Hopper. I met some very great people and had the opportunity to talk to them about open source software. I got some great ideas from some folks and I sure hope the stuff I passed on will encourage others to take up open source.
There’s money at Grace Hopper. Lots of money.
I counted 9 shuttle bus routes serving 44 hotels. I suspect that cost alone exceeds the entire budget for BSDCan. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am the founder of BSDCan.
I was a speaker at this conference. I gave a talk on Contributing to Open Source Software. I really enjoyed letting the attendees know how they can gain skills by working on open source projects.
Grace Hopper allows a speaker to attend the conference on the day of their talk. If a speaker wishes to attend the entire conference, they “can purchase a general registration as(sic) a discounted rate of $350” (see http://ghc.anitaborg.org/2016-speakers/). I did tell them about that typo. They didn’t fix it.
To get a small-ish booth at GHC costs $6000. Yes, if you are an open source software project, and you want a table that that two people can sit at, you have to shell out $6000. There is no consideration given to the non-profit nature of your organization.
I can’t imagine any open source project being able to attend or be present at GHC. I can only see corporate entities being able to present their open source view.
I know I would not be able to take several days of leave to speak if the FreeBSD Foundation had not covered my travel and accommodation.
Sadly, I fear that source projects are both unable to attend GHC and GHC seems unable to accommodate the budgets of non-profits. If GHC truly wants to serve its attendees, give out booths to non-profits at a token price, say $50.
I also see OSCON going the same way. They are getting very picky as to who they want at their conferences.
Individuals will find it difficult if not impossible to attend such conference without corporate sponsorship. These conferences are catering to corporations who can afford the huge budgets required to be present.
The attendees and the corporates satisfy mutual needs: jobs.
GHC makes that happen.
I’m sure it costs millions.