There has been quite some discussion on various places on the net about the recently-announced change of the FOSS.in conference format. Instead of lots of talks/presentations, there is an emphasis on workshops and similar more interactive and collaborative types of events.
I have been speaking to a number of developers who have been to FOSS.in before and who have been putting in proposals for FOSS.in/2008, too. They all think it is a very courageous step: going from a successful, working 'traditional conference' scheme with presentations, sufficient sponsors to cover travel expenses of foreign speakers, etc. to a very different, much more developer-community oriented event.
I also think it is a courageous experiment. I have not yet heard of any event similar to this before. Sure, there are project days and developer meetings or miniconfs or whatever you might call them. But not to the extent as, at least to my perception, FOSS.in is planning right now.
In any case, it depends on what your target is. 'typical' Linux conferences are basically focussing on either one (or multiple) of the following:
- Spread the word about Linux/FOSS, to generate more adoption
- Provide updates on development progress to various people in the community as well both individual and professional users
However, if you emphasize on the actual FOSS development, then I think it is quite legitimate to go for a event format that FOSS.in is heading to right now.
It is exactly FOSS.in who can try such a change, since it is a true community event without any commercial interest and without affiliation to particular companies.
And after all, who wants to see the same kind of event happening each and every year, with the same kind of people talking? Wouldn't that be boring after some time? Especially if there are a number of other events doing more or less the same?
In any case, personally I'm planning to do a FOSS.in WorkOut on a USRP+gnuradio based GSM scanner project. India is the perfect place on earth to get this done, since the government mandates A5/0 (no encryption) and thus all the packets can be captured and each and every bit implemented as wireshark plugin.