NixCon 2024 preparation meetings



@Janik @hexchen @piegames @john-rodewald @fricklerhandwerk @0x4a6f @ners @infinisil @ron @das-g @julienmalka


  • Location options
    • agreed on Zurich (OST)
  • Possible event dates
    • agreed on 2024-09-28–30
  • Learnings from last years
    • skipped
  • Budget calculation
    • discussed boundary conditions
  • Tickets
  • Subsidies (public transport, food, …)
  • Sponsors
  • CFP
  • Permissions (pretix, pretalx, domain name, streaming, …)


Location options

  • Belgium proposal seems to have fizzled out
  • Zurich proposal is actively maintained
  • Darmstadt could be a fallback
  • Elephant in the room: total cost of attendance (TCA)
    • travel + accommodation + food
    • @ron: main question: What’s the highest chance of the event happening?
  • @ners: most important is to make the announcement early enough in advance
    • largest impact on TCA: accomodation
    • can’t do anything about travel costs
    • food costs determined by total available budget
      • we have vendors we usually work with - food trucks, the mensa
      • one option is to have a sponsored ticket to finance free food
  • @ners: OST must be noted as one of the main organisers
    • there must be a worst-case buffer for venue costs of 20k CHF
    • @infinisil: would be ideal to have a binding statement from the venue
    • @janik: thinks last year there was a contract with Uni Darmstadt
  • @ron: we usually get ~30k as a sponsorship baseline
  • @julienmalka: there was a statement that we can’t have paid tickets
    • @ners: got a clarification that OST merely can’t do payment processing
      • we can set up an org or use the foundation for that
      • @john-rodewald: Zurich Friends of Nix already have an association that could take that
      • @ners: the foundation can also simply reimburse budgeted expenses
  • @fricklerhandwerk: what about security/safety measures and insurance, was there any such requirement or effort in the past?
    • starting from a particular size of event there may even be legal obligation
    • @ners: ZuriHac apparently did not have the need for that so far
    • @das-g: facility people will usually be around for events of a certain size
      • other than that, attendees have to take care of their own insurance and are liable for damage
      • if something goes wrong on the OST side, they have insurance for that
    • @ron:
      1. Paris did have security and they also were the ones handling checking for badges in the entrance.
      2. Darmstadt it was mainly easily handled by volunteers. This was also due to the fact that the venue only had one set of doors to enter from. (unlike Paris)
      • The most critical hire for whatever we choose is to make sure that we have clean bathrooms.
    • @julienMalka: In paris we needed security by law because we organized it in a public building
  • @hexchen: Is it a closed area or semi-public? Can we even practically do badge-checking?
    • this is also about potential restrictions for whether we can set up stuff in the hallway
    • @das-g: the venue is part of the campus, the main room is the auditorium
      • checking tickets at the entrance would likely not work, at least on workdays, because students will have to pass
    • @Janik: checking tickets is not the biggest problem; we could have a registration desk
    • @ners: at least in the weekend, the areas should be completely empty
      • we could scale down the Monday after the weekend, which would fit a workshop day well
      • a lot of people leave after the weekend usually
  • @hexchen: while Zurich is most likely more expensive than Darmstadt, it’s the most viable option and we should go with it
    • @ners: a remaining risk is the small but non-zero chance to get slapped with a 20k venue bill
  • @ron: how is funding supposed to work?
    • @hexchen: we plan to bring in sponsors, and an option to voluntarily mark up the ticket as a donation
      • can also offer commercial tickets, and would need the invoicing setup for that
      • merch may be for sale
    • @ners: at ZuriHac we also experimented with a POS terminal where one can donate directly
  • @julienmalka: having a rough idea of the budget is necessary in order to adjust factors: sponsorship, ticket prices, options for food/drinks. It’s not easy to draft a budget with a 20k unknown
    • @ron: agreed, a rough outline would be a precondition. regardless, we don’t have many other options.
    • @ners: historically, the cost to run ZuriHac (without venue) is 15k CHF. With 35k CHF we can do it reasonably
    • @hexchen: in case money is left over we can donate it to the foundation to use it for the next NixCon
    • @fricklerhandwerk: there are still 18k EUR left over from NixCon 2024, so we can use that as a security
  • agreement: go ahead with Zurich



  • 21-23 Sept 2024
  • 28-30 Sept 2024
    • All systems Go is 25-26th; adjacent but not overlapping might be advantageous
    • Group prefers earlier rather than later
    • Agreement
  • 02-04 Nov 2024

Decision: 28-30 Sept 2024

Action items

Next time

  • Discuss budget draft
  • Discuss ticket sales model draft
  • Discuss sponsorship model draft
  • Website design
  • Merchandise (maybe later)
  • CFP (later)

Preparation schedule

  • Budget: end of march
  • Announcement: end of march
  • Website: with the announcement
  • Sponsorship:
    • announcement by end of April
    • get commitment until end of July
    • option to join afterwards
  • Ticket sales:
    • 500 tickets
    • open: once budget planning is fixed (latest end of April)
    • close: when sold out or ~days before the event
  • CFP:
    • opens: July
    • closes: end of August
  • September: event



Farhad Mehta (OST), @idabzo @ners @0x4A6F @john-rodewald @Janik @fricklerhandwerk @raitobezarius @JulienMalka


  • Venue costs
  • Discuss budget draft
  • Discuss sponsorship model draft
  • Progress updates
  • Discuss ticket sales model draft
  • Website design

Venue costs

  • Farhad introduces himself, dean at OST, co-organiser of ZuriHac
    • had discussed the possibility of having NixCon with @ners in the past
    • would be cool if it worked out
    • if it ends up happening in Rapperswil, will be in the beginner’s track :slight_smile:
  • OST is still in a organisational migration process, one thing to figure out are room prices, may still change
    • estimates:
      • Aula: 1200 CHF/day
      • Each lecture room (30-40 seats): 300 CHF/day
      • Hall: 200 CHF/day
      • Support crew: 80 CHF/h/person
      • Exact costs depend on volunteer support etc.
      • Total estimate 15k CHF
      • Not legally binding, final price may change
    • can provide a copy of the reservation list for reference


Progress updates

Sponsorship model

@Janik’s proposal:

It’s very important not to lose the community spirit of the conference.
This means we should not sell sponsors things like logo space on official NixCon merch.

  • Set a profit target based on total budget and use said profit for next NixCon
  • Everything above said profit target should be split between other foundation projects and NixCon

I would like to do a similar sponsorship thing to what the DENOG does, see:
This basically means:

  • Have different Sponsorship tiers, for example:
Tier Limit
Diamond X
Gold Y
Silver Z

Introduce special in between tiers like for example:

  • Coffee
  • Lunch
  • Lanyards

Define a clear and public list of sponsor benefits

  • logo display on the website and it’s size
  • the amount of business tickets granted for sponsorship

Feedback from last year sponsors was that:

  • the tiers were too cheap
  • there were too many sponsors (they felt unseen because of all the other sponsors)
  • they only got invoices but no sponsorship contract
  • we should do a screening and ask why the company is interested in sponsoring NixCon

If everyone is fine with the above approach I’ll try to model something clear once our budget numbers are a bit more precise

(no discussion, as this is orthogonal for the budget planning, which has priority)

Ticket sales model

  • @ners: “one meal” for 400 people is ~20k CHF
  • @raitobezarius: tickets covered food costs last year
  • @Janik: 2023 ticket prices included merch, breakfast and lunch, and attendance
    • TCA ~300 EUR
  • @fricklerhandwerk: would like to have free regular tickets to cap TCA
  • @ners: in 2023 a quarter of attendees had a “professional” ticket
  • @fricklerhandwerk: what about merch sales? is it even worth it in terms of additional effort?
    • @ners: would have to figure out what we’d even want to sell
  • @raitobezarius: contributors usually don’t want to go to expensive places, and some said they’re not interested in NixCon Zurich for that reason
    • we already talked about speaker stipend, but should go further and consider support for attendees
    • if we put money in an attendee assistance fund, how many people will come?
      • could be staged: ticket, lodging, travel
    • also have to think not only about number of people who come, but also who will come
      • it may be easy to get a lot of beginners, but too few advanced contributors
      • do we want a beginner conference, a contributor conference, a commercial conference?
      • how to foster a healthy mix?
      • @ners: with free base tickets, we’re moving in the direction of a beginner focus; contributors second, commercial third
    • personally, and from the project lead team perspective, we’d rather want a contributor conference
      • @fricklerhandwerk: definitely need a healthy mix. could systematically encourage contributors (which may mean different things when meeting in person) with stipends, e.g. for running hallway track activities
        • @raitobezarius: also, just having experts around for interesting discussion often makes a difference
    • @ners: if we get requests for stipends, we’ll have to prioritise based on some metric
      • @raitobezarius: we may want to make private sales to contributors first
        • in the past, we sold out early because of sponsor tickets
        • @ners: yes, early bird sales could be first announced internally
        • @JulienMalka: the later we open up sales, the higher the TCA
        • @raitobezarius: sponsors can always buy last-minute. beginners usually can’t make quick moves
        • agreement: contributors are the most critical target audience
  • @raitobezarius: also have to consider whether to put the hack day on Monday. people having to get back to work may interfere with “hackday productivity”
    • @ners: will ask if we can move by a day, but may result in moving the date by a week

Next time

  • Communication/Social media outreach (@idabzo)
    • there are separate NixCon and a NixOS foundation social media accounts
    • last time the communication was very mixed
    • how do we announce (certain) sponsors?
  • Program design
    • Interdependent with budget planning
    • Agreement: work off a 50k CHF budget assumption (taking into account last year’s revenue), and iterate
  • Merchandise
  • CFP

Action items

  • TCA estimate for other continents and 2-3 places in Europe (@john-rodewald)
  • AV cost estimate for one track from ZuriHac team (@ners)
  • Check network up/down link to avoid Nix build bursts thrashing the network (@john-rodewald)
  • Review budget plan and TCA (@raitobezarius)
  • Get quotes for externally organised alternatives, for comparison (@raitobezarius)


I couldn’t make the meeting and no one took notes, so I quote from the org team’s Matrix room.

@julienmalka: The meeting was very short, but we announced that the PL team has decided not to go forward with the Zurich proposal for NixCon 2024. Even though the venue looks really good, the estimated TCA/cost of organization, associated with the absence of a formal contract, is putting the conference at too much risk. We will follow through soon to discuss with the Zurich team the potential path forward for this proposal to make it suitable for a future occurrence of NixCon.

@raitobezarius: The PL team met today and we discussed a quote we received from a professional conference center in Brussels for 20K EUR VAT excl., with no realistic catering for now.
I’m attaching the venue presentation, we would have all the areas for the 2 days, and only one area for the last day for the hacking day. EN - Area 42 Location salle évènement d'entreprise à Bruxelles

Do you know if there have been any meetings/news since then?

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There was no activity on the org team’s private Matrix room since 2024-05-06.

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All member of the PL team have expressed their difficulties working on NixCon organization given the uncertainty around the NixOS community governance and the amount of energy their participation to the governance discussion is taking.

Decision to put the team’s proceedings on hold until the governance situation has stabilized and target a date later in the year for the conference.

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I apologize for the rude comment. I will make sure to be more documented before commenting next time.

Hello, we are currently planning to do a NixCon in Berlin, beginning of November. Planning is still very rough and we don’t have a location or any meeting plans yet. We will try to do those things ASAP and come back with more information :slight_smile:


We are currently talking to one possible location and also are in loose contact with a local university, but they were quite busy this week. We want to finalize our location plans soon, we gave ourselfs a deadline of 3 weeks from now. Expect more updates then.

standard Ticket prices will probably be between 100-150€, with an option to also pay less or more.
We aim for roughly 350 people attending. and it will probably be end of october (25. 26.) but the dates are not definite yet.


I would prefer OST honestly.

Where does the org communication happen? How many people are currently participating in the discussion? And why Berlin?

we have a matrix room:, we were 7 people at the last in person meetup (in the channel we have more people).
because we live in Berlin and it’s decently reachable and we can checkout locations in person