Full Disclosure! BSDCan finances

Full Disclosure! BSDCan Finances


The CFP for the 20th Annual BSDCan has ended and the program committee is busily reviewing your submissions. I’m not only the organizing team chair, I’m also on that papers committee, and all I’ll say is that we got some good stuff this year.

Thanks to the efforts of Allan Jude and Colin Percival, BSDCan now has a new business organization and a bank account. Sponsor support is starting to come in and prospective sponsors often rightfully ask us how we spend their contributions. While numbers increase every year, here are the rough figures from 2023 (in Canadian dollars, because Canada).

  • University of Ottawa facilities (rooms, lunches, hacker lounge): $29,000
  • Speaker accommodations: $12,000
  • Speaker travel: $16,000
  • T-shirts: $4,200
  • Tote bags: $1,800
  • Closing Social: $11,000

Total: $74,000

One of the things that makes BSD conferences special is that we pay for speaker accommodations and travel. This breakdown shows why we need sponsors. 2024 will cost more than this.

Note that this does NOT include the FreeBSD DevSummit. The FreeBSD Foundation pays those expenses. Some speakers attend the DevSummit as well as the conference, but that doesn’t increase the flight cost so we’re delighted to help out there. Some speakers volunteer to cover their travel costs and we sincerely appreciate it. If your employer will cover your travel and accommodation, we’d be thrilled to list them as a travel sponsor. If you want to host a similar DevSummit or mini event, reach out immediately so we can get you a room. My next post will be too late.

BSDCan registration fees haven’t changed for years and we pride ourselves on keeping costs low. We could pay for the entire conference by raising the admission to $750 or so, but BSDCan’s traditional motto is Bringing BSD Together. We want to welcome younger folks who will become tomorrow’s contributors. Instead, we’ve slightly increased admission for regular attendees. If you work for a large company that has a serious training budget, please sign up as a corporate attendee. We’re being pessimistic and thinking we can raise $30,000 that way. We’re also planning to charge for the closing social, but there’s a possibility that a per-head fee will keep some folks away. Who knows how that will work out?

That leaves $44,000. Our sponsorship goal is $50,000 to give us some leeway for increased costs. We’ve been promised a good chunk of that so far, but only about $8,000 has arrived in our account and some of that money has already gone—reserving rooms means paying deposits.

For BSDCan to succeed, we must make pessimistic assumptions. We might have more attendees. We certainly hope to have more attendees. Any funds raised over the goal will go to replenishing BSDCan’s financial reserves for 2025 and beyond.

If you work for a company that uses BSD, they’re getting a heck of a deal. I’d encourage you to ask your employer to sponsor us. They’ll want to know why. Here are some things you can use to persuade them to support us.

Why Support BSDCan?

BSDCan’s traditional motto is Bringing BSD Together and we do that in many ways. For twenty years we have brought developers together to discussion technical matters, helped users learn from authoritative presentations and tutorials, and brought people of every level of experience to the hands-down best BSD hallway track in the world. No matter where you’re from or what your level of BSD experience is, you are welcome at BSDCan.

BSD Unix and its projects are about building quality infrastructure. We would not have the Internet as we know it without BSD, nor many of the most popular appliances, phones, and web sites. This reach is possible thanks to our commitment to sharing our work without charge and without restrictions. This permissiveness spurns innovation and has done so for nearly half a century.


What is on the BSDCan program?

Users and developers will discuss real-world problems and resolve edge cases to enhance system reliability, performance, and usefulness. Tutorials expand users’ skills while various projects will host their own meetings. Well-known BSD technologies represented at BSDCan include OpenSSH, OpenZFS, Packet Filter, IPFW, OpenPAM, Jails, bhyve, IPFW, DTrace, LibreSSL, and Clang/LLVM among many more.

Who is the target audience?

The target audience includes everyone from potential BSD users up to advanced developers. Tracks include Development, Systems Administration, and real-world Experiences.

Our core constituency includes:

  • BSD developers (committers, project leads, contributors, including third party software maintainers)
  • BSD users, systems administrators, vendors, and operators
  • Companies looking to recruit top-notch talent and individuals looking for opportunities

We are specifically reaching out for two other groups:

  • Potential Commercial Users Currently Using Linux: We will reach this audience by including talks by vendors successfully using BSD as a building block. These talks will describe why the selected BSD and how it helps their engineers and company succeed. We will promote these talks on general Unix/Linux online platforms and communities.
  • Potential End Users Currently Using Linux: We will reach this audience by including talks by about how Linux shops can migrate OpenZFS to BSD for their storage needs and benefit from the tight integration and improved performance. Ideally this content would provide access to how-to guides to help with this workload migration. We will promote these talks on general Unix/Linux online platforms and communities.

How does your sponsorship help?

BSDCan has always kept its ticket prices low to allow the broadest demographic of community members to attend. We also pride ourselves on funding the travel and accommodations of our presenters to further remove barriers to participation. Your sponsorship goes directly to our venue and travel costs, plus luxuries at your discretion such as the social event.

Visit our Sponsorship page (https://www.bsdcan.org/2024/sponsorship.php) to learn more and we hope to see you there!

Michael W Lucas – for the BSDCan organizers