DebConf4 - Final Report

Pablo Lorenzzoni

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
1.1. ASL
1.2. The DebConf4 Team
2. Demographics
2.1. Attendee List
2.2. Countries
2.3. Debian Teams/Structural Members
3. Sponsor List
4. Schedule
5. Place Report Summary
6. Financial Report Summary
7. Extra Money
8. Impressions and Lessons
9. Conclusion

This document reports every information regarding DebConf4 its team had access to. Together with the other 2 previous reports (Place Report and Financial Report), this wraps up everything there is to know about DebConf4 from the organizational point of view. Although information from these previous reports can be found in the corresponding documents, a summary of their information were added to this one, so people that want a quick wrap-it-all document will be satisfied as well. The main purpose, besides opening the information to the public, is to serve as reference for future teams that will be organizing next DebConfs (or any other event).

Revision History
Revision 1.030-Sep-2004Revised by: spectra
First Release. All dates relative to this.
Revision 1.126-Dec-2004Revised by: spectra
How could I forget to mention Michelle???
Revision 1.227-Dec-2004Revised by: tbm/spectra
Fixed some typos and nationalities via IRC.
Revision 1.328-Dec-2004Revised by: spectra
Changed references to "the local team", since "DebConf4 team" makes more sense in the context of this report.
Revision 1.43-Jan-2005Revised by: stockholm/spectra
Revised the attendees list (now James Troup became an UK citizen) and improved the text that mentions the what-to-do-with-extra-money meeting.
Revision 1.55-Jan-2005Revised by: nanda/spectra
Added important considerations regarding the hacklab, and two more attendees left out in previous revisions.
Revision 1.612-Jan-2005Revised by: rudy/spectra
Rudy Godoy "became" a peruvian citizen and a lot of other nationality fixes.
Revision 1.716-Jan-2005Revised by: weasel/vorlon/93sam/blackm/peterd/spectra
First post-public release revision. More nationality fixes. Jeff Waugh and Colin Walters were excluded since, according to Steve Langasek, they were not present. Added Steve McIntyre to the CD team. Fixed dates on the last revisions.
Revision 1.824-Jan-2005Revised by: phil/ayor/spectra
Fixed a missed link in Women in Debian talk schedule. More nationality fixes.

1. Introduction

The 5th International Debian Conference took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from May 26th to June 2nd 2004. It was a great event and involved a lot of work behind the scenes from the DebConf4 team. Apart from this team of fine people who took their own spare time to help with the event, it involved some sponsors and entities that will be mentioned in the right section of this report. But one of these entities deserves a mentioning right here: ASL.

1.1. ASL

ASL stands for Associação (Free Software Association), a NGO that aims to improve FLOSS visibility and use through influencing civil society and government towards its use. ASL is the entity behind International Free Software Forum, the largest Brazilian Free Software Event.

ASL, besides being one of our sponsors, also provided bank accounts and financial, legal expertise and infrastructure. Without this, DebConf4 would not have happened.

1.2. The DebConf4 Team

Follows the list of fine people who took the great responsability of organizing DebConf4. These were tireless people who have not measured efforts in making this event happen.

  • Michelle Ribeiro <>

  • Andreas Schuldei <>

  • Rudy Godoy <>

  • Marlon Dutra <>

  • Loimar Vianna <>

  • Mário Teza <>

  • Marcelo Branco <>

  • Eurico Pittas do Canto <>

  • Christiano Anderson <>

  • Fernanda Weiden <>

  • Me :-)

2. Demographics

2.1. Attendee List

This is an attempt to summarize people present at the event. Since not only people enlisted in the subscription form took part in the event, this information came from several other sources and may not be completely accurate.

Table 1. Attendees

Alberto Bengoaalberto(at)
Alessandro Preite Martinezale(at)incal.netIT
Amaya Rodrigo Sastreamaya(at)debian.orgES
André Aguiar Queirozandre(at)alu.dc.ufc.brBR
André Dolencandre.dolenc(at)nokia.comFI
André Luís Lopesandrelop(at)debian.orgBR
André Luiz Rodrigues Ferreiraalrferreira(at)
Andreas Muelleramu(at)tr.debian.netDE
Andreas Schuldeiandreas(at)debian.orgSE
Andrew Bennettsandrew-debconf(at)puzzling.orgAU
Andrew McMillanawm(at)debian.orgNZ
Angela Doerksenangie(at)raspberryginger.comCA
Anibal Monsalve SalazarA.Monsalve.Salazar(at)ieee.orgAU
Antonio Soares de Azevedo Terceiroterceiro(at)im.ufba.brBR
Arthur Henrique Casals do Nasccasals(at)h8.ita.brBR
Aurélio Adnauer Heckertaurelio(at)im.ufba.brBR
Bdale Garbeebdale(at)debian.orgUS
Benjamin Mako Hillmako(at)debian.orgUS
Blaine Cooklattice(at)resist.caCA
Brett Johnsonbrett(at)hp.comUS
Brian Nelsonpyro(at)debian.orgUS
Carlos Eduardo Langonikadu(at)
Carlos Guerreirocarlos.guerreiro(at)nokia.comFI
Cesar Menin de Mellocmello2(at)
Changwoo Ryucwryu(at)debian.orgKR
Chris Hallshalls(at)debian.orgUK
Christian Perrierbubulle(at)debian.orgFR
Ciro Cavanicavani(at)redecasd.ita.brBR
Clauzio Cristiano Perpetuoclauzio(at)
Colin Watsoncjwatson(at)debian.orgUK
Cosimo Alfaranokalfa(at)debian.orgIT
Cristian Escalanteescalante(at)
Dafydd Harriesdaf(at)muse.19inch.netUK
Daniel Ruosoruoso(at)debian.orgBR
Daniel Silverstonedsilvers(at)debian.orgUK
Dann Frazierdannf(at)debian.orgUS
Danny Cautaertdanny(at)limehouse.orgBE
David Moreno Garzadamog(at)damog.netMX
Dennis Stampferseppy(at)debian.orgDE
Diego Pereiradiegop(at)inf.ufrgs.brBR
E. Gabriella (Biella) Colemanbiella(at)healthhacker.comUS
Ean Schuesslerean(at)debian.orgUS
Eder Diego de Lima Marquesfrolic(at)debian-ce.orgBR
Eduardo Marcel Maçanmacan(at)debian.orgBR
Elias Otavio de Paula Mussimussi(at)minaslivre.orgBR
Enrico Zinienrico(at)debian.orgIT
Erinn Clarkerinn(at)double-helix.orgUS
Fabio Massimo Di Nittofabbione(at)debian.orgIT
Fabricio Ferrarifabricio(at)
Felipe W Damasiofelipewd(at)
Fernanda G. Weidenfernanda(at)softwarelivre.orgBR
Fernando Martinslalo(at)laranja.orgBR
Florian Lohoffflo(at)rfc822.orgDE
Geovani Mazioligeovani.geo(at)
Gleydson Mazioli da Silvagleydson(at)debian.orgBR
Goedson Teixeira Paixãogoedson(at)debian.orgBR
Goto Masanorigotom(at)debian.orgJP
Greg Pomerantzgmp216(at)nyu.eduUS
Guido Güntheragx(at)debian.orgDE
Guido Trotterultrotter(at)debian.orgIT
Guilherme de S. Pastoregpastore(at)
Guillaume Pernotgpernot(at)praksys.orgFR
Gunnar Wolfgwolf(at)debian.orgMX
Gustavo Francostratus(at)acm.orgBR
Gustavo Noronha Silvakov(at)debian.orgBR
Gustavo Rezende Montesinoikki_gerrard(at)
Gutemberg A. Vieiragutoav(at)brturbo.comBR
Henrique de Moraes Holschuhhmh(at)debian.orgBR
Holger Levsendebian(at)layer-acht.deDE
Ian Murdockimurdock(at)progeny.comUS
Iasn Lawrencevern(at)riseup.netUS
James Gettysjim.gettys(at)hp.comUS
James Trouptroup(at)debian.orgUK
Jason Gerard Derosejderose(at)jasonderose.orgUS
Jeff Baileyjbailey(at)debian.orgCA
Jeff Licquialicquia(at)debian.orgUS
Jesus Climentmooch(at)debian.orgFI
Joey Hessjoeyh(at)debian.orgUS
Jonas Smedegaarddr(at)jones.dkDK
Jonathan McDowellnoodles(at)debian.orgUK
Josef Spillnerjosef(at)coolprojects.orgDE
Junichi Uekawadancer(at)debian.orgJP
Kenshi Mutokmuto(at)debian.orgJP
Konstantinos Margaritismarkos(at)debian.orgGR
Krishnamurti Lelis Lima Vieira Nuneskrishna(at)im.ufba.brBR
LaMont Joneslamont(at)debian.orgUS
Leonardo Antunescostela(at)debian.orgBR
Leonardo Ribeiro Oliveiraleonardo.oliveira(at)gmx.netBR
Leonardo Serra Maciel de Maciellinuxbh(at)
Loimar Viannaloimar(at)softwarelivre.orgBR
Louise McCance-Priceloumccp(at)
Lucas Correia Villa Reallucasvr(at)gobolinux.orgBR
Luciana Baigunluciana_baigun(at)
Luciano Belloluciano(at)
Luis Flavio Loreto da Rochaluis(at)
Luiz Blanesblanes(at)
Luiz Eduardo Guaraldosoftware.livre(at)
Marcela Tiznadomtiznado(at)
Marcelo André Soaresbill(at)debian-ce.orgUS
Marco Presizufus(at)debian.orgIT
Marcos Ennes Barretobarreto(at)lasalle.tche.brBR
Margarita Manterolamamante(at)fi.uba.arAR
Mark Shuttleworthmark(at)hbd.comZA
Marlon Dutramarlon(at)
Martin Langhoffmartin(at)
Martin Michlmayrtbm(at)debian.orgUK
Martin Wuertelemaxx(at)debian.orgAT
Matthias Klosedoko(at)debian.orgDE
Matt Kraaikraai(at)debian.orgUS
Matt Taggarttaggart(at)debian.orgUS
Matthew Garrettmjg59(at)debian.orgUK
Mauro Sérgio Rechimauro(at)
Maximiliano Curiamaxy(at)
Micah Andersonmicah(at)riseup.netUS
Michael Bramergrisu(at)debian.orgDE
Michelle Ribeiromichelle(at)
Mika Matsuzakimika(at)yukidoke.orgUS
Moray Allanmoray(at)debian.orgUK
Noèl Köthenoel(at)debian.orgDE
Norbert Tretkowskinobse(at)debian.orgDE
Orzenil Silva Juniororzenil.jr(at)intelecto.netBR
Otavio Salvadorotavio(at)debian.orgBR
Pablo Lorenzzonispectra(at)debian.orgBR
Paolo De Rosaphasa(at)autistici.orgIT
Patty Langasekharmoney(at)dodds.netUS
Peter De Schrijverp2(at)mind.beBE
Petter Reinholdtsenpere(at)debian.orgNO
Philip Stadermannphilip.stadermann(at)iterationx.deDE
Polkan Alexis García Rodriguezchangux(at)mycrossoff.comCO
Rafael Antonio Guido Peregrino da Silvarafael(at)spiritismus.orgDE
Rafael Ferreira Silvarfsbsb(at)
Rafael Konrathrafael(at)sl-linux.orgBR
Ralf Bragaralf(at)
Ramayana Assunção Menezesramayana(at)
Rob Taylorrobtaylor(at)fastmail.fmAR
Robert Collinsrobertc(at)squid-cache.orgAU
Robert Guerrarguerra(at)lists.privaterra.orgCA
Robert Rittmanvagrant(at)freegeek.orgUS
Roberto Maluhy Juniormaluhy(at)astro.iag.usp.brBR
Rodrigo Gresslerrodrigo.gressler(at)
Roland Stiggestigge(at)debian.orgDE
Rubens Cavalcanti Limarlima(at)cisco.comUS
Rudy Godoyrudy(at)kernel-panik.orgPE
Sam Hocevarsho(at)debian.orgFR
Scott Diersdier(at)debian.orgUS
Scott James Remnantkeybuk(at)debian.orgUK
Simon Richtersjr(at)debian.orgDE
Steve Alexandersteve(at)z3u.comUK
Steve Langasekvorlon(at)debian.orgUS
Steve McIntyre93sam(at)debian.orgUK
Tássia Camõestassia(at)im.ufba.brBR
Theo Cabrerizo Diemdiem(at)carpediem.shBR
Theodore Karkoulisbilbo(at)debian.orgGR
Thom Maythom(at)debian.orgUK
Tiago Bortoletto Vaztiagovaz(at)im.ufba.brBR
Tollef Fog Heentfheen(at)debian.orgNO
Tomas Kragtkrag(at)wire.less.dkDK
Valentina Commissariayor(at)quaqua.netIT
Vanessa Maia Bernyvmberny(at)atlas.ucpel.tche.brBR
Wagner Alexander Olahwagner(at)
Wojtek Boguszwojtek(at)tacticaltech.orgPL
Wolfgang Klierwolfgang(at)klier.orgAT

2.2. Countries

Based on the table in the previous section, this is an attempt to summarize the number of people from each country.

Table 2. Countries

CountryNumber of Attendees

2.3. Debian Teams/Structural Members

Based on Debian's Organizational Structure, the following table show which members per Debian section have showed up

Table 3. Teams/Structural Members

Team/Section Attendees
LeaderMartin Michlmayr
Technical CommitteeBdale Garbee
FTP ArchivesJames Troup, Daniel Silverstone
Release ManagerSteve Langasek, Colin Watson
Release AssistantsJoey Hess
Release Manager for 'stable'-
Quality AssuranceMartin Michlmayr, Colin Watson
Installation System TeamJoey Hess and others
Installation System for 'stable'-
Release Notes-
CD ImagesSteve McIntyre
APT Team-
PortsBdale Garbee, Guido Günther, James Troup, Jeff Bailey
Support and Infrastructure 
Bug Tracking SystemColin Watson
Mailing Lists-
NM Front DeskMartin Michlmayr
DAMJames Troup
Keyring MaintainersJames Troup
Security Team/Auditing Project-
WebPagesMatt Kraai
Consultants PageNoèl Köthe
CD Vendors Page-
System AdministratorsJames Troup
Package Tracking System-
Key Signing CoordinationMartin Michlmayr
Hardware Donations CoordinationBenjamin Mako Hill
AccountantBenjamin Mako Hill
Alioth Administrators-
Custom Debian Distributions 
Debian-EduPetter Reinholdtsen
Debian-NPBenjamin Mako Hill, Enrico Zini

3. Sponsor List

What follows is the list of DebConf4 sponsors. We know that this is the section people usually skip when reading event reports, but we would like to ask the reader to take just some seconds to read this list since these were the companies/organizations that really made DebConf4 possible.

4. Schedule

26 - Wednesday

27 - Thursday

28 - Friday

29 - Saturday

30 - Sunday:

31 - Monday

1 - Tuesday

2 - Wednesday

5. Place Report Summary

Right after the Brazilian Debian developers decided the best suited city to hold DebConf4 were Porto Alegre, a research in seek for the place to hold it were run during 5 months by a group of locals.

This local team attended over 20 meetings and enlisted 11 places from which 7 were chosen to be taken to the negotiation table. Everything concearning this 7 places can be learned from the Place Report.

SESC were recommended by the local team as the best suited place to hold DebConf4. The cost of this choice, according to that report, was estimated in R$ 53,833.50. This considered 150 people and only the DebConf4 days stay. The actual cost raised to R$ 77,562.70 as can be read in the next section. That is explained in full details in the Financial Report and more on that is out of scope for this document, but it has to do with more people than previously planned, special dinner not originally counted, and all the little details that we never predict. Anyways, we had a 30% error margin and some days before DebConf4 we already knew we would surpass that. Fortunatelly that was not a problem, as can be understood in the next section.

SESC's facilities and personnel proved that to be a good decision. It's local team common opinion that any other place enlisted in the Place Report would not have been as convenient.

6. Financial Report Summary

The following table summarizes the information in the Financial Report (which is only available in hardcopy archived with ASL, since it deals with paper bills and tickets - some day it may be scanned, but do not count on that!). It does not include any detail and only show the financial data from a higher perspective.

Also note that all values are written in Brazilian Reals. One can use Bloomberg's Calculator to convert it into any other currency.

Table 4. Financial Report Summary

DescriptionDebit Credit
Brazilian (not from ASL) R$ 2,550.00
International R$ 90,690.00
ASL's R$ 57,400.00
Total R$ 150,640.00
Hosting + FoodR$ 77,562.70 
Graphics MaterialR$ 5,739.60 
Equipment RentalR$ 11,465.00 
TransportationR$ 2,890.92 
Mail + PhoneR$ 400.16 
Working CompaniesR$ 7,080.00 
Working PersonnelR$ 720.00 
TaxesR$ 2,681.91 
Bank ExpensesR$ 170.46 
Financial ExpensesR$ 525.46 
TotalR$ 109,236.21 
Credit R$ 41,403.79

7. Extra Money

When we realize that we would have extra money, and that such money belongs to Debian, we called on a meeting with the Brazilian Debian developers and the DPL to decide what to do with that money.

Unwarned people may think at this point "what does it mean 'decide what to do'? Since it is Debian's money just give it to them, right?"... well... not quite.

The accounting for the event was not really finished (and it was only finished some days ago), but our predictions were that we would have some money left. We still had one bill: the travel sponsorship some attendees had. Then ASL legal advisors came in the scene...

Since that money had to leave our account, and being bound by strict laws as a non-profit organization, ASL had to have a good excuse to "take that money out of the country". Some NGO scandals had being popping up every day and our legal advisors were scared to death. The same thing goes for money entering ASL's account. HP was dealt long before and an international agreement were signed, but other sponsors such as Linspire and XandrOS were left for the last minute, not being feasible to build another agreement in a nice timeframe.

Scared or not, it is really a complicated thing to take money in or out of the country, and, besides paperwork, the government charges huge taxes, so that it is not very attractive to try it. Besides, we still had another drawback: a huge portion of our sponsors' money was blocked. This happened because one of our sponsors had given us a check, and it takes 30 to 45 days for it to became available in our account. So, even if it were easy to take money out of the country, we would only be able to do that a month after DebConf4 were over. That was explained in detail during that meeting, and another solution was built: the extra money (we didn't know how much by that time) would remain Debian's, but credited in ASL's account (on Debian's behalf) in Brazil, invested by ASL and at DPL's disposal. SPI would pay the travel sponsorships DebConf4 had pending and would receive Linspire and XandrOS' sponsorships. Later on, if Debian needed the money, an international agreement would be necessary so ASL can have a plausible excuse to take the money out of Brazil and deposit it in SPI account. Meanwhile, if the Brazilian developers had some Debian-related use for that money, it could be used if the DPL agrees. This arrangement in similar to the one with FFIS in Germany, which takes care of Debian's assets in Germany and other parts of Europe.

That saved a lot of trouble and solved the issue. The amount named as "Credit" on the table in the previous section is invested by ASL (so it may have grown as for today), on Debian's behalf, in Brazil. A 10% administration fee is charged and it can be withdrawn after a 30-day notice (that is common practice in these cases) either in credit of SPI (by means of an international agreement) or to be used in Brazil as explained before.

8. Impressions and Lessons

DebConf4 was a great event, indeed. But it had problems and not everything went well as planned. Below is a short narrative from the local team on the impressions DebConf4 caused and lessons we learned with it.

First of all, one thing surely was quoted by more than one people attending DebConf as a major problem: DebConf was too short! We know that, but as there was no way to foresee how many people would attend, and the money involved wasn't, by any means, a small amount, we decided to play it safe....

Next, the profile of the event was decided in an IRC meeting (about which more information can be found in DebConf4's website), and, if we choose one thing we wanted to see different in the next editions, surely that would be chosen. DebConf4, unlike previous editions, was mixed with DebCamp. It was made so mainly for convenience, but also because people at that meeting thought it would make DebConf more dynamic, with several things happening in parallel (after all, also unlike other editions, the hacking space and the dorm would be in such a mix that one could hack in the sleeping room if one wished).

Mixing DebConf and DebCamp ended up being a bad idea mainly because people got too fragmented in what they were doing. Many people, more than once, had to choose between attending a wonderful lecture or BOF and keep on some productive piece of hacking. Maybe it is still a Good Thing™ to mix them, but when more time is available.

The Capoeira workshop and the cultural events, on the other hand, were a score! Most of people we talked to enjoyed to learn something about southern Brazil (and some of them still ask us about Chimarrão - that green tea - or the "balls-of-fire" dance). The visit to Redenção park made people want to understand what Porto Alegre inhabitants found so enjoyable in just a park. That brought up the obvious conclusion: hackers are, after all, curious people, and as curious people, they take every opportunity to learn. For a lot of non-local-team advisors that was a surprise... they had that concept of hacker as a stereotypical nerd... I am happy that we have not listened to every advice they gave us. :-)

Mixed opinions on the trip to the mountains were collected. Some of them found it too "touristic". Others enjoyed it and regret it was only one day long. We kind of agree with both: Gramado is a tourist place, and people we hired to conduct the trip thought they're dealing with regular tourists. On the other hand, it is also a very pleasant place and, maybe, it could have been a good choice of an optional trip to be taken before or after DebConf... but not during it.

The social parties and all the non-geek activity were another score. If not by any other reason, it was the most funny thing to watch Junichi trying to dance forró, or Mako walking around Cidade Baixa neighborhood.

Another thing, this time related to the backstage, can be taken as a lesson: use your own computers, but if you need to borrow some or to rent some, always ask for more time than really needed. We lost our main servers too soon (in the last day, indeed, but there were still people working on them), and we were left without hacklab also sooner than the ideal.

Two considerations should be made regarding the hacklab. First, the obvious, there were too many unused machines and little space for laptops. Second, since the hacklab was a "hot zone" (a place where people were supposed to leave valuable things such as their own laptops, digital cameras, and so on), we asked the hotel to increase its security. That sure was a Good Thing™, but brought us another problem we have not predict: what to do with people without badges? Security guys were instructed to not allow people without badges in the hacklab, and that was a problem for people that just "wanted to take a peek" at the hacklab (but were not really DebConf4 attendees). On the other hand, what else the security guy were suppose to do?

With regards to money, always fully understand local laws to get money in and out the country, how long does it take to enter your account, how much does it cost to move it around, and all this boring stuff. We worked with a 30% error margin, and I recommend that! That made us sleep in peace during the event since our strength would be needed for other activities.

One final thing that was already mentioned, but deserves another mention. Hosting is not a good place to cut costs. That is one of the things we got very right. SESC's facilities and personnel were invaluable and sure deserved what we spent on it.

9. Conclusion

DebConf4 was a great experience. To be part of that experience was great, indeed, but to be able to organize it surely was an honor. A lot was learned from this experience and we, the DebConf4 team, hope this document serve the next to organize DebConf as a good source of information.

We first though of mentioning here everybody that helped, in any way, to organize DebConf4, but this conclusion had to be short (since the document is not), so if you helped DebConf4 to happen, consider yourself mentioned: many thanks to you all.