Conference HOW-TO

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Notes for Conference organising teams

General Guidelines Pertaining to Exhibitors/Presenters

  • OOo conferences are primarily for the people who produce the code, documentation, artwork and everything associated with the product and website and project. They are for the community. But they are also vehicles for expanding the community, for reaching out to new parties, for educating others. We are open to others and our conferences should demonstrate that.
  • We are open, and do not charge admission (unless there is a compelling need) but are free for all to attend. We do ask that people register, however.
  • Exhibitors can come from all industries and it is the job of the hosting group to discriminate as they see fit.
    • Is Microsoft allowed to exhibit? Yes, they are allowed to exhibit, as they have before. The argument against is simple: They are vastly powerful and have a huge marketing budget. Giving them yet more space to announce themselves to the world makes no sense, when taken in context. However, OOo is also about being interoperable; that is, with MSFT Office. And Novell's OOo is even more about that. So, I would allow them to exhibit. Feel free to argue against this position :-)
    • Is MSFT allowed to present? For presentations we should focus attention on OOo and its format and the emerging ecosystem and not on our competitor's technology. If someone from MSFT wants to talk about how great OOo is and how wonderful the ODF is and has something interesting to say, fine; if she wants however to talk about MSFT technology, nope. They can do that at their own conference.
  • All events must be inclusive. There should be no executive events that divide the community. If this or that sponsor wants to hold such, then fine, they can do it--just not during a OOoCon or Regional Conference.

At proposal time


You'll have to ensure that

  • an airport and transport facilities are all around the place you've chosen for the manifestation
  • taxis are also available for VIP or Companies.
  • number of conference/meeting rooms is extensible.
  • connection (wireless and LAN) to Internet is available and can be extended.


Part of the team have to be in the town where you organize the conference. This is really important because this team (2 or 3 persons) will manage all the relations.

This part should also have good connexion with the organization hosting the OOoCon but also the administration. It will help to organize the side events and it will be easier to get the several prior authorization needed.

Don't hesitate to work with the local LUG(s), even if they have not a lot to gain because it's not a local event where they would have more visibility, they have been of great help for us, bringing their ideas, knowledge of the town (they already may have organized events) and formalities that are required for such crowded manifestations.

Think of one or 2 persons that are always complementary available.

Signed engagement with the hosts

You have to be as precise as possible when signing this engagement :

  • availability of the rooms and the keys (at least 2 days before the OooCon)
  • cleaning before, during and after the conference,
  • a technical person available able to solve all the small details like
    • printing documents,
    • have root access to the network when needed (for streaming for example)
    • direct access to administration issues
  • check with them before how many indication panels you will need and don't forget to change everything if the room are moved during the preparation time.

Signed engagement with sponsors

Some of what was in our sponsor agreement was nonsense :

  • one page of advertisement in the conference program : this is possible if you have one or two sponsors but having more, there is an issue with the place (you'll see the number or pages growing very fast!) and the more sponsors you have the more difficulties you'll met to get all their materials (logos, advertisement, and so on) in time.
  • Be sure that you get ssh access during the conference for uploading the news promised in the agreement (that was not our case :-(

Preparing the conference

Think of a place where every body can meet, something like a life center close from the conference rooms.

Have a list of taxis, plans and a list of shops where to buy “souvenirs” for your attendees. Have regular meetings with the organization team and the people hosting the conf (INSA for us) to ensure that everything is clear.

Maintaining the OooCon site takes a lot of time, so having to people dedicated to it would be good.

The same for the program preparation (many details have to be set).

Keep quiet in any circumstances ;-)

Think of presents for those who are hosting you (Town hall and INSA for us)

During the conference

The help desk is the most important place and need a lot of energy and patience. I think having 3 people available here is a good number.

Bottles of water in every conf rooms and renew them for each conf.

Have a planing of rooms available for small private meeting

Check that the video material is supporting several formats (there is difference between American, European, etc...)

Have a room for the luggages of the attendees.

Those people helping with the conference organization should be easily identifiable ( e.g. wearing specially printed t-shirts)

Very clear signage to make it easy for people to know what exactly are in specific rooms ( making the printouts per day, in large font, at each room and above normal height, will make it most useful).

Clear sign posts to locations when they are not all in the same central location.

Money talks

Some numbers of income and outcome for past OOoCons. Please, bare in mind, that these numbers depend VERY much on country BGP (you know what I mean - 1 EUR doesn't have the same price in Germany and in Slovenia :-)

OOoCon 2005, Koper, Slovenia

Organized by Slovenian and Italian OOo community.


  • ~16.000 EUR cash on bank account (from sponsors)
  • ~ 5.000 EUR direct subsidization from Sun Microsystems to conference keynotes, guests, presentators for travel costs
  • ~ 4.000 EUR direct payment from Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology to a firm that took care of broschure printing and some other material

Total income: ~16.000 EUR (we'll operate with 16.000 EUR, since this is amount we have in our pockets :-)


  • ~ 1.000 EUR for session and party places
  • ~ 2.000 EUR for parties (dance group, food, drinks)
  • ~ 4.000 EUR for T-shirts
  • ~ 1.000 EUR for on-site expenses (paper, printer toners, cables, WLAN routers, some food ...)
  • ~ 3.500 EUR for all rest (sleep and food for workers, for DJs and their equipment, shuttle service, hostesses ...)

Total expenses: ~ 11.500 EUR

So, we ended up with ~ 4.500 EUR surplus, which we splited like:

  • 1/2 as OOoCon 2006 sponsorship (we wanted to call this "a starting funds", but we didn't manage to transfer money to Lyon until 1 week before OOoCon ;-)
  • 1/3 for LUGOS
  • 1/3 for LUG Trieste

Useful Links

These two links should help. One is a checklist devised for the Lyon conference (OOoCon 2006) the other an article published on NewsForge by an Argentine group.

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