NixCon North America Initial Discussion Minutes - October 18, 2023

Sharing the meeting minutes from the first sync for NixCon North America planning. Please share any feedback/thoughts/questions! Initial announcement here - Exploring the Possibility of NixCon North America - Events - NixOS Discourse.
The goal is for most of the effort to be done as async/remote friendly as possible :slight_smile:

Oct 18, 2023 | NixCon NA Kickstart Sync

Attendees: Ben Futoriansky, @garbas , @ron , @rossturk, @softinio, @tom, @robert, Robert Hernandez, @djacu , @zmitchell, @danielfullmer, Aaron, Angel

Agenda Items:

  • Introductions
  • High level review
  • Location and co-location at SCaLE?
  • Dates
  • Mission/goal/target - proposals/thoughts
  • Organization/logistics/operations - proposals/thoughts


  • Introductions

    • Ron - Nix foundation board member, founder of flox, California
    • Zach - engineer at flox, Nix documentation team, CO
    • Rok - also at flox, organized the first nixcon in berlin!
    • Robert - Nixpkgs maintainer, SoCal Nix UG, CA
    • Ben - flox head of business operations, NY
    • Daniel Baker - Nixpkgs contributor, SoCal Nix UG, CA
    • Daniel Fullmer - Anduril, SCaLE, CA
    • Aaron - SW Ontario, longtime Nix User
    • Ross - flox head of marketing, FL
    • Angel - new Nix user, pushing it at work, wants to help NixCon US!
    • Tom - flox director of labs, doing Nix for a decade!
  • High-level review from Ron

    • Goal: “try to work via shared documents and minimize the time we spend in meetings together”
    • NixCon outside of Europe has been an item of long-term discussion
    • The event in Europe has a magic to it - in-person can’t be beat
    • Kicking off an effort to “beta test” what a NixCon NA event could be
    • Want to learn what it takes to succeed
    • Align with NixCon 2024 team
  • SCaLE

    • We spoke with the organizers
    • We also have a Nix table
    • They offered to co-locate NixCon with SCaLE
      • This would mean a lower logistical workload
      • It would also mean a larger “built-in” crowd
    • This sets a timeline for us to organize to
      • The conference is in mid-March
      • Pasadena, CA (outside Los Angeles)
    • Question: how long does scale run?
      • Answer: three days
      • We can partially overlap with the event
      • Robert: not after! We’re out on sunday, although before might be possible
      • Many other events are on Thursday and Friday, SCaLE is Thursday - Sunday
    • Daniel Baker and Robert Hernandez are running the reproducible & immutable software track @ SCaLE
      • Ron: would we merge that track?
      • Robert: depends on the quality of submissions
      • Tom: I wouldn’t feel comfortable with changing it - insulting to the other reproducibility efforts out there (several +1s)
    • Ron: Do we know how many attendees we can have if we do it at SCaLE?
  • Mission/goal/target - proposals/thoughts

    • Tom: what are we trying to accomplish?
      • Rok: not enough beginner tracks at previous NixCon events
      • Zach: space for NA contributors to gather, cater to nix beginners, focus on new users
      • Ross: Broaden the circle to new markets (nix beginners and also people who have never heard of it)
    • Tom believes colocation at SCaLE provides a good opportunity to accomplish this
      • But can we “scramble fast enough to make it happen”?
    • Ron: What are the downsides to scale? Some explicit devils advocating to further think about the decision
      • It does not help NixCon grow as its own independent brand and event
      • We might get lost in the noise of such a large event
      • Can we deliver the oooooomph that we want to create in NA with this approach?
      • Ross: east coast is slightly better than west coast according to the survey
        • Aaron: east coast has the benefit of more europeans, but pairing with SCaLE will be a motivating factor for people to come
      • Ben: will be harder to measure success as a colocated event - lots of noisy data
      • Zach: Attendee fatigue if we do post
    • Ben: we could do it before scale and overlap by one day
    • Daniel B: How would this be different from a dedicated track?
      • Tom: we could have the installfests and workshops more prominent
  • Organization/logistics/operations - proposals/thoughts

    • Possible two-day event
      • Installfest & Workshop day
      • Day of talks

Action items

  • Post notes to discourse
  • Collect questions for SCaLE team
    • How many days before / after might we be able to schedule?
    • How many people would we be able to accommodate?
    • What kind of spaces are currently available for us to consider?
  • Sync with NixCon 2024 team/align/updates