LPC 2020 Survey Results

We had 185 responses to the Linux Plumbers survey in 2020, which, given the total number of conference registrants of 809, has provided confidence in the feedback. Given that the event was held virtually this year, it’s encouraging to see the community remaining engaged. So we are pleased to offer an especially heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who participated in this survey!

98.4% of respondents were positive or neutral about the event, with only 1.6% indicating they were dissatisfied. Given the fact we had to shift the event to be online this year, that is a very encouraging result. Co-location with the Kernel Summit continues to prove popular (67.5% considered it helpful/very helpful), and the first time introduction of the GNU Tools track was very well received with 68% of the respondents considering it helpful/very helpful as well. One thing we were a bit worried about is whether the online format would enable discussions to help resolve problems 73% found them useful, which compared to most online events was a great result.

The BOF track was very popular and we’re looking to include this again in 2021. Conference participation was up from 2019 and even though we increased the capacity to 810, we sold out of regular tickets again. Given that the participants adhered to the guidelines for online we didn’t bump into the capacity limits we were worried about, so are considering raising the cap next year if we need to be virtual. From the survey, the overwhelming majority of attendees prefer us to try to hold the conference in person, with a fall back to virtual. With this in mind, we’re working with the Linux Foundation events team to identify options in Dublin for a hybrid event, but may fall back to be entirely online.

Based on the fact we sold out, we live-streamed and videotaped all of the sessions. All the live streams are available for playback now on our YouTube channel. There are over 120 hours of video for 2020 already and we are adding more. The committee is in the process of re-rendering them and linking them to the detailed schedule. The Microconferences are recorded as one long video block, but clicking on the video link of a particular discussion topic will take you to the time index in that file where the chosen discussion begins. The recorded BoFs will also be posted soon.

In terms of track feedback, Linux Plumbers Refereed track and Kernel Summit track were indicated as very relevant by almost all respondents who attended. The BOFs track was positively received and will continue. The hallway track continues to be regarded as very important and appreciated. Based on the feedback, if we have to be virtual again, we will look at options of making more hack rooms available, as they were well received for follow on conversations. If we are able to meet in person, we will evaluate options for making private meeting rooms available for groups who need to meet onsite.

The emails from the committee continue to be positively received as was our new website. There were some excellent suggestions in this year’s write-in comments, we’ll be looking into options to incorporate. In particular, because were online, it was possible for a more people to join us who would not have been able to get travel funding or visas approved.

There were lots of great suggestions to the “what one thing would you like to see changed” question, and the program committee has been studying them to see what is possible to implement this year. Thank you again to the participants for their input and help on improving the Linux Plumbers Conference. More information on the 2021 conference will be shared early in the new year.

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