Last month, we held BSDTW 2017 on November 11-12th, 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan. It was the second largest BSD conference in Taiwan and the first one in this decade. In 2004, the first AsiaBSDCon was also held in Taipei. Then all of the following AsiaBSDCon conferences were held in Tokyo, Japan. (AsiaBSDCon 2018 will be in Tokyo again next year, please submit your talk proposal by December 31th 2017, and attend the conference on March 8th-11th)
We wanted to start small with the first BSDTW because we were not sure how much sponsorship or how many volunteers we might have. BSDTW 2017 was a single track, two-day conference with 11 selected 50 minute presentations and 1 WIP/lightning talk session consisting of 8 short talks. I do regret that we did not have any local presenters this year. It is also a similar problem at AsiaBSDCon. Unsurprisingly, as with AsiaBSDcon, the travel reimbursement took up a large part of the whole conference budget. We do have many good people that work in Asia, but we still need to encourage people to present their work more.
We had over 130 registered attendees, with 30% of them coming from outside of Taiwan. To our knowledge, in recent years, this is the only open source conference in Taiwan to be held entirely in English, and to have such a large portion of international attendees. This is also the first open source conference in Taiwan to focus entirely on operating systems. The attendees included students, professors, engineers or CTOs, and CEOs from technology companies. This is also the first time that GroffTheBSDGoat visited Taiwan! We were surprised that after the silence for so many years, there are still so many people that use and love BSD near us. We saw many old friends, who had “disappeared” for a long time, came back, and were glad to meet many new friends at the conference. I am really happy that this conference was able to bring together these people, from local and abroad. After attending BSD conferences around the world for many years, I feel that the friendship between BSD users is the most important thing in the BSD community, and one of the main reasons people stay. It has been my pleasure to bring this community back to my friends in my homeland.
After the two-day event, I truly understand that bootstrapping a new conference is a very hard job. One with many aspects that you don’t even imagine until you’re really in the process of planning an event. I now have an even greater respect for all of the conference organizers and realize that we need to have more people help them, to keep these conferences continue to get better and better. Plus, there will always be room for a new conference!
Thanks to the FreeBSD Foundation for being the biggest sponsor of BSDTW 2017 and always being the strongest backend of our community. We are excited about the many local companies and organizations that helped us whether with people, materials or financially. We even had 21 personal sponsors, more than two times the number of other big open source conferences in Taiwan.
As I said in the closing session, I’m not sure if there will be 2nd BSDTW next year. It still depends on the amount of sponsorship and number of volunteers. However, we will definitely hold more smaller meetups in the next year to keep building up the local BSD community.
Finally, in the beginning of this month, we had a “post-conference media workshop” for organizing the media files we collected in the BSDTW 2017. Here are the review article in Traditional Chinese and the photos:
Please stay tuned!
— contributed by Li-Wen Hsu, General Chair of BSDTW 2017