2017 US LLVM Developers' Meeting - Registration Opening!

Your are invited to attend the 2017 LLVM Developers’ Meeting on October 18-19 in San Jose, CA. New this year will be a Women in Compilers & Tools pre-conference event on October 17th (details to come).

Registration will open today, June 16, at 10:00AM PDT.

You may register here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-llvm-developers-meeting-bay-area-tickets-35155516095

Registration fees are $300 for the 2-day event and reception (October 18). A conference only registration is $250. Tickets will be capped at 500 attendees and the last day to register is October 6.

If you are a full-time student, please contact the organizer for a student rate ($50/event, $25/reception). You must send us your student ID. Student travel sponsorship details will be announced when available.

We would like this event to be accessible to all LLVM developers. If attending the meeting is cost prohibitive for any reason (i.e… you do not have an employer who refunds tickets fees, financial hardship, etc), please contact the organizer to discuss a discounted ticket.

Thank you,

Tanya Lattner
President, LLVM Foundation

I realize the popularity of this event may bring additional costs, but I think it really stinks that there’s a fee and that it’s limited in the number of people.

What’s next corporate sponsors with banners and booth babes walking around?

I think that putting on an event like this with the high standards we expect requires a significant expenditure of money. You might consider the fees that are paid by normal registrants and corporate sponsors as subsidizing the students who have a reduced fee. Not having any fee at all would open the conference up to casual entrants who might spontaneously change their plans. Thus, given the limited attendance, other would-be attendees who require time to make travel plans would not be able to take their place.

I agree that it sounds attractive to hold a conference without attendance limits or fees. But – seriously – where could you host such an event? In someone’s home? Outdoors in a park? (“ahem, could you speak up, we can’t hear you back here.”).

A modest-fee (indoors) conference with barebones A/V (project slides on a white wall) does seem feasible. No-fee conferences I’ve attended (“Ohio Linuxfest”, e.g.) were heavily sponsored by vendors, which seems contrary to your goals. It seems beyond the scope of the foundation to organize such an event. I think if you want that to happen, you’d need to organize it yourself. Or, perhaps we should take a survey of mailing list subscribers about who would like to attend but cannot for lack of available spots or due to fees.

-Brian

I realize the popularity of this event may bring additional costs, but I think it really stinks that there’s a fee and that it’s limited in the number of people.

What’s next corporate sponsors with banners and booth babes walking around?

While I welcome all comments and questions, I find your approach not very constructive.

The ticket price is heavily subsidized by sponsorship and donations. While we want to give company recognition for their generous contribution, we also want to keep this event educational and focused on the technology. We do display company sponsorship in a few places, but do not have booths.

The remainder of the sponsorship funds go to our other programs such as travel grants for students, sponsoring other conferences or LLVM events, and women in compilers and tools. All of these programs are in various stages and we hope to expand them over time.

We have actually had free developer meetings in the past. Unfortunately, we sold out every time and then had a significant no-show rate. At one point it was up to 35% which was why we switched to charging a small fee. As we increased the fee to cover more of the costs, we have always given discounted tickets to those in need (we had several for the last developer meeting) and for students.

As the event has grown, we have difficulty finding venues large enough to host us. With these venues and the size, comes increased costs as well. In addition, we still need to cap the registration to a specific number so we have enough chairs for people to sit and enough food. There are also logistics issues such as medics that are required for events of this size. Food is a bit easier to increase on the fly, but we can’t make a room bigger. I cap the registration to ensure attendees have a great experience. Each year, we have tried to increase it to allow for as many developers to attend as possible.

As a nonprofit, all of our financial records/tax returns and detailed budgets are available online for public viewing.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions and I am happy to answer them. I hope you can attend our event.

Thanks,
Tanya

I’m not really suggesting this, but I wonder -

What if there was like a pre-registration (that maybe even required a deposit) and based off that the venue was selected.

Sure! As long as everyone is okay with pre-registering three years in advance, yeah, that’d work great!

Another alternative is that you could donate so much money to run the conference that a venue which is much larger than feasibly needed can be purchased, and then nobody has to pre-register at all.

I’m not really suggesting this, but I wonder -

What if there was like a pre-registration (that maybe even required a deposit) and based off that the venue was selected.

Contracts are typically signed a year in advance at the minimum, so a pre-registration would need to happen about 1.5 years before the event. I think most people would not want to commit that far out.

If you are trying to solve the “reaching capacity” problem, then we can explore using the large exhibit halls at the SJCC in 2018. This would obviously have impacts to all areas of the budget as these rooms are quite large. Our community is continuing to grow and we obviously want as many developers to attend as possible.

-Tanya

I hear rumours that there are some universities near the San Francisco Bay Area that have quite large computer science departments.

A lot of open source conferences (including EuroLLVM) keep their costs down by relying on a university to provide the space and Internet access. FOSDEM manages around 5,000 attendees each year at ULB in Brussels without a registration fee (though also without providing any food, which is less than ideal), and puts all of the main track talks online (smaller devrooms are responsible for arranging their own recordings if they’re doing formal presentations). I would encourage the Foundation to look at BSDCan and PGCon (co-located spatially, but not quite temporally) as an example of conferences for open source projects that manage to keep their costs very low, yet provide a very positive experience for both the few hundred attendees and those watching the videos afterwards.

David

I'm really really glad David pointed this out because I felt kinda awkward
for being the only person to push back against the "commercialization" of
an open source project. On the other hand I'm extremely appreciative that
it's being organized so professionally.

I feel there's probably others with better connections to bay area
universities to connect the dots, but if this is something that would be an
option I'm happy to try to find space which is suitable.

I've never attended the conferences which David mentions, but there's a
long list of conferences which have a relevant audience and probably would
love to share. With that in mind I wonder how open the foundation is to
having this outside the bay area. (Some conferences rotate east/west cost
to balance the travel for those who aren't in cali)

* apachecon
* oscon (maybe this is too commercial)
* C++Now/cppcon
... (Need more?)

How exactly is the developer meeting “commercialization” of an open source project?

What problem are you trying to solve exactly?

To hold it at a university we would most likely need to have it during a break or on a weekend as most of their year round event spaces are not big enough. I think there is a false assumption that this is an idea that has never been explored.

I am always looking at other conferences to learn and grow from. CppCon is an amazingly well organized conference and I’ve looked at them quite extensively for ideas.

I would never rule this out, but we have a very large number of developers in the bay area that attend this event. Given the statistics, I do think moving to the east coast would drop our attendance. I’m open to feedback if people think that its something we should try. This isn’t something I’m seeing in the surveys I do after the event.

I think this achieves the opposite of your points above about “commercialization”.

Not going to happen.

-Tanya

I'll ignore the rest of the mail, but this point deserves a bit more
attention. Coming from the background of EuroBSDCon which moves every
year, I certainly see a strong fluctuation in the attendee number. At
the same time, beyond a certain core set of attendees, this has the very
important aspect of adding fresh blood. The only reason I attended
EuroLLVM this year was the "local" aspect of having to go to the other
end of Germany. I wouldn't be surprised if similar thoughts apply to
many non-SFBA LLVM users and developers. In short: a smaller meeting is
not bad by itself, if it means people attend that would otherwise not
go.

Joerg

Is having to hold it during a break considered a bad thing? I haven’t been able to attend the US meeting for several years, because it is always scheduled at one of the busiest times in the academic calendar (I did manage to attend the GSoC Mentor Summit held a couple of days later over the weekend one year, but flying to California for 3 days is an experience that I’m in a hurry to repeat). When I did attend, I noticed that it had a far less diverse mix of academic and industrial attendees than EuroLLVM, which is always scheduled at a more convenient time in the academic year (at least, for the Northern hemisphere).

David

How exactly is the developer meeting “commercialization” of an open source project?

Not the developer meeting per se, but charging $300 a head for it. With attendance of 500 you’re pushing $150k revenue, even with some subsidized attendees. (I understand that the expense of SJCC makes something like this necessary, but that’s a choice you’re making regarding venue, and the decision-making behind it is pretty opaque.)

To hold it at a university we would most likely need to have it during a break or on a weekend as most of their year round event spaces are not big enough. I think there is a false assumption that this is an idea that has never been explored.

That sounds a bit snippy…. It would be more helpful to the discussion if you described what was explored and why it was rejected. It’s worth observing that EuroLLVM’s distinctly worst recent attendance was at Barcelona, using a commercial space and co-located with CGO rather than standalone at a university.

–paulr

I think there is no one-size-fits-all conference format. It’s a fact attendees have different backgrounds or interests (academic, industry, hobby, …) and different philosophees as well.

Having different LLVM conferences addressing different tradeoffs is a richness. They are all located at different positions in a wide spectrum. I enjoy the US conference, the EuroLLVM and FOSDEM, but each one for different reasons.

The price charged is reasonnable compared to a number of other conferences in our fields (what’s the fee for cppcon or cgo ?), and to bounce on David’s comment, I can remember some FOSDEM editions where we had to queue under the rain to get some bad food and have no seat available in the talk room. I however consider myself lucky because some people could not even enter the room ! And it also happened that video recording did not work (in 2016 for the LLVM dev room for example)… This never happened at a US or Euro LLVM.

It’s worth observing that EuroLLVM’s distinctly worst recent attendance was at Barcelona, using a commercial space and co-located with CGO rather than standalone at a university.

As a EuroLLVM organizer, I believe the poor attendance in Barcelona was due to a number of factors others than those you name : there was a conflict with a game developers’ conference and we were lacking a strong local community — unlike all the other editions. Hosting the conference at a university (in Barcelona) would not have changed anything regarding the attendance. Colocating with CGO was an experiment worth trying though in my opinion.

Cheers,

Joining in a bit late, but given the conversation which happened down thread I want to make a point of saying this.

Tanya, thank you for all of the work you put into LLVM dev each year. I have greatly enjoyed the conference year after year and get a lot out of attending. It is currently the only tech conference which I attend as a routine matter of course. For an event of it's size, the conference usually goes exceedingly smoothly.

I want to explicitly call out the work which has gone in to keeping the conference accessible to all. A $300 price is well within budget for most of attendees, and the foundation has made sure to offer reduced student and need based rates. The focus on doing that later bit says good things about the organization and the folks involved in running it. I know for that for me, the benefits I receive by attending far outweigh the cost.

It is unfortunate that attendance has to be capped. It seems like demand has increased a lot the last couple of years. However, I do want to call out the efforts which have gone into making most of the content of the technical tracks available to a much wider audience. All of the effort to post recording of talks is subsidized by the local attendees and the organizers have ensured the content is available not too long after the conference. That is itself a huge investment in making the event accessible to those who can't attend in person.

Tanya, one thing which might help prevent concerns like those raised would be to have an open discussion of where the funds are going. Is there a publicly available budget document for last years conference you can point to?

Philip

I say this with a soft tone..

I think it's very anti-open source to have foundations behind projects them
with no or little transparency making decisions which seem more corporate
focused. (It isn't to say it's wrong or not the right approach, but there's
some philosophical "feelings" tied to it)

transparency isn't only about where the money is spent.. It's about how
decisions are made, how the secret board conducts things.. the meeting
minutes. etc.. There's a time and place for discretion, but everything
secret by default doesn't seem like the Right Way (tm)...

There’s a significant amount of information on this in the 2016 budget document (especially starting from page 5): -Hal

Can you elaborate on why the decisions seem “more corporate focused”? It is not clear to me what you mean by that. As a member of the board, it certainly doesn’t feel “corporate focused” to me. The meeting minutes are all publicly available: -Hal

Thank you. That was exactly what I was hoping to see.