The Plone Foundation board of directors is pleased to announce that Plone Conference 2008 will be held October 8-10, 2008 in Washington, DC!
As in past years, Plone Conference 2008 will be preceded by two days of Plone training sessions, and followed by a 2-3 day code & community sprint.
We received two conference proposals this year: DC and Prague. We appreciate all of the work and community spirit that both teams put into their proposals. We felt that both proposals had substantial merit, but in the final consideration, three key factors led us to select DC over Prague:
1) Strategic location
Washington, DC is home to the second-oldest Plone/Zope user group in the world (after Germany). It's hotbed of major Plone customers, including US government agencies, corporations, national-scale nonprofits and educational institutions. There's never been a Plone Conference on the east coast of North America. Finally, Plone Conference 2007 was held in Naples, Italy, and the board (as well as many Plone Foundation members) expressed a strong desire to see the conference location continue rotate amongst the continents.
Keeping Plone Conference affordable is a high priority. The Washington, DC proposal projected a conference cost of $350-$500, whereas Prague's proposal projected a cost of US$750 (500 euros), and significantly higher accomodations costs. We believe that a less expensive conference will be more attractive to a broad array of participants, especially to first-time conference attendees.
3) Plone community preference
We conducted an advisory vote for Plone Foundation members this week; 71 members voted, and Washington, DC received 34 votes (52.1%) to Prague's 31 votes (47.9%). This was a very close vote, and reflects that the community is not of a single mind on this topic.
Congratulations to Alex Clark and the entire ZPUGDC team; we're looking forward to being your guests in a few months!
Plone Conference 2009 Selection Process
We will be starting the process of selecting a location for Plone Conference 2009 much earlier this year. You can expect the initial call for proposals in early summer 2008, with proposals due in early fall and the location announced by the end of 2008. This should give interested organizing teams much more lead time. So, if you're interested in hosting Plone Conference 2009 in October 2009, start organizing your team and your bid now!
Hey Europe! What about a Plone Symposium?
In addition, the Plone Foundation would love to see a community-organized spring 2009 Plone Symposium happen in Europe. There have been regular Plone Symposiums organized in the U.S. in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. A symposium is smaller in scale (80-150 people) and thus much easier to organize than a full-blown Plone Conference. Hosting a Symposium is a great warm-up for a team that aspires to host Plone Conference in the future (hint hint).
US Visa Information
A number of Plone Foundation members expressed some concern about onerous visa/security requirements for visiting the USA. Plone Conference 2006 organizer Jon Stahl reports that nobody wanting to attend reported any significant trouble getting a visa. Citizens of most EU countries (and a few others) don't require a visa, so long as they have a current, machine-readable passport. See http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html for complete details. If you do need a visa, you can find more information here.