The final session of the 2007 kernel summit was about the kernel summit
itself. Was this event what the attendees had hoped for, and how should
things be done in the future?
Based on some straw polls, it seems that the group was generally satisfied
with how things went. The more process-oriented agenda was popular, and it
had visibly encouraged wide participation through the event. There is
always some discomfort with the invitation-only nature of the summit, but
most attendees seem to believe that it would not be possible to have the
same sort of discussion in an open environment. The size of the group also
appears to be about right; a smaller group would leave out too many people,
while making it any larger would make good discussions harder.
The location of the summit has been the subject of ongoing debate for some
time. Several summits in a row were held in Ottawa immediately before the
Linux Symposium. Ottawa is a nice city, but going there every year gets a
little tiresome after a while, so the number of complaints has been going
up. Having the summit in Cambridge this year proved to be a popular
change; it seems that the appetite for going back to Ottawa is pretty low.
A survey was held before the summit which, among other things, asked
attendees to rank several potential host cities. Vancouver came out on top
of the list, followed by colocation with linux.conf.au, wherever that may
be. San Francisco and Portland were also high on the list. Ottawa was
not. There were no European cities on the list, on the assumption that the
summit would not be held in Europe two years in a row.
So potential locations for next year include Ottawa (OLS, evidently, will
be held in the third week in July), with the in-the-works "plumbers
conference" being planned for Portland in September, or with linux.conf.au
at its 2009 location. While most attendees are willing to go to a summit
in the U.S., there is a significant minority which is unwilling to travel
there. But there is also a lot of interest in holding the
summit somewhere else entirely: China or India, for example.
The problem with more distant locations is that it raises the cost of the
event; travel to Asia can be expensive and tends to raise eyebrows in
corporate accounting offices. David Miller strongly encouraged putting the
event in Asia anyway. It is, he says, hypocritical of us to want
developers from that part of the world to join our community while
simultaneously refusing to host our gathering there. The presence of the
kernel summit tends to give a fair amount of energy to any conference
located with it; quite a few summit attendees had spoken at LinuxConf.eu
earlier in the week. Where there is a will, he says, the money issues will
work themselves out.
There was no conclusion reached on where the next summit will be. That
sort of decision requires lengthy discussion between organizers and a hard
look at how the budget will really work. The arrival of beer in the
meeting room also proved to be a bit of a distraction. So, after a "thank
you" to kernel summit maintainer Ted Ts'o, the event was brought to a
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