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From Ross Gardler <rgard...@apache.org>
Subject Why no Academic discounts taken up at ApacheCon? Come and help us address this at Barcamp Re: ACUS registration report [20091021]
Date Thu, 22 Oct 2009 09:45:09 GMT
There has, to date, not been a single use of the academic discount
code for ApacheCon. If you care about this then come to our BarCamp
session on community outreach at ApacheCon -
http://barcamp.org/BarCampApache

On the one hand the lack of academic registrations surprises me -
there are many unis in the area and they claim to understand the
importance of open source - they certainly use it a great deal. On the
other hand it doesn't surprise me for the following reasons:

a) it is massively expensive for academics (lets hope we get some
academic folk to the freebies, but don't hold your breath)

b) the academic sector does not understand open source - to the extent
that major projects are usually funded under a hybrid model they call
"community source"  [1] and [2]

c) there is almost no content of interest to the the average academic
developer - they use Apache software but because of (b) they don't
realise they can participate.

Point a) is a difficult one to deal with in isolation since we want
the prices to come down for everyone and the event has to be paid for
somehow.

Point b) requires a significant amount of outreach from the ASF. There
is a huge amount of FUD in the sector, most of it born of a lack of
understanding rather than malice (although a big-corp director
recently accused my team of being biased towards the GPL in my
***non-advocacy*** day job advisory role. Quite amusing since my team,
understandably, tell me I'm biased towards permissive licences and
that is showing in our work).

For point c) what we need is activities focussed on awareness of the
way we do things. If we want people to understand how things work
around here, we simply cannot expect people to read through our dodgy
documentation and then jump into a mailing list full of confidence.
Apache is a very scary place for newcomers, people on this list will
not recognise that - we're already here and we've got over that
hurdle.

Take a look at an independent report from one of my recent day job
events in this context - it happened that 2/3 projects speakers
represented ASF projects but it was not an ASF event [2]. I intend to
be doing a session on this at the BarCamp, so please come along and
help figure out what we can do and, more importantly, what you can do
to help.

I feel pretty sure that some people will say "we don't need to do
outreach" - that's fine, some of us think we do need to, so rather
than standing in our way in this thread I politely request that you
step aside and let us get on with it - it's not going to *hurt* your
project (if I'm wrong in this then of course I would like to hear
those thoughts).

So see you at the BarCamp...

Ross

[1] http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/communityvsopen.xml
[2] http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk/resources/communitysource.xml
[3] http://devcsi.ukoln.ac.uk/blog/2009/10/17/event-report-oss-watch-workshop-engaging-developers-with-open-source-projects/
-- 
Ross Gardler

OSS Watch - supporting open source in education and research
http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk

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