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Israel’s War With Hamas Moves Debian’s DebConf24 to Busan, South Korea

DebConf24 which was originally scheduled to be held in Haifa, Israel will now be held in Busan, South Korea at a venue that will be announced at a later date. Here’s what we know about the new host city.

Busan Exhibition and Convention Center
Busan Exhibition and Convention Center. Michiel1972, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Everything seems to be set in stone now as far as this year’s DebConf is concerned. Well, kinda sorta. We know where it’s going to be and we know when it’s going to be. We also have it’s logo, which was designed by a Deb-person who lives in the host city.

What we don’t yet know is who’s going to be there. We apparently also don’t know the venue yet, although certainly that’s nailed down (with maybe some details yet to be ironed out). There’s also no information available on accommodations and such.

Those things too will come to pass. We’re told to keep our eye on the conference’s website.

To be sure, this has been a particularly difficult year for the planners of this year’s DebConf, which is never easy to plan since it just so happens to be the biggest event on Debian’s event calendar. It’s the project’s developer conference, and it’s a big deal. It’s when Debian developers and users get together to exercise the magic of community to share chops and make plans for Debian’s future.

Considering the fact that something like a gazillion Linux distributions are directly or indirectly based on Debian, that makes DebConf pretty important in the Linux world.

From Israel to South Korea

Like many if not most open-source conferences, DebConf is a movable feast, with the conference being held in a different city across the globe every year. This year’s event was originally scheduled to take place in Haifa, Israel, but the makings of history got in the way, which in December found conference organizers scrambling to come up with a Plan B in a hurry.

“The DebConf commitee met in a videoconference call today, December 14th, 2023, with the goal of making a decision regarding the organization of DebConf24,” organizers explained in a broadcast email. “As you might remember, DebConf24 was originally set to take place in Haifa, Israel, but that was made impossible by the current state of affairs in the region. We made a call for replacement bids for DebConf24, and got 4 candidates…”

Those four candidates were Busan, South Korea; Aveiro, Portugal; Birmingham, UK; and Brest, France.

“After discussing pros and cons of each bid individually, the committee unanimously decided in favor of holding DebConf24 in Busan, South Korea, as that was the most well prepared bid. We think we will have a wonderful time in Busan, and that it will be a great DebConf.”

About DebConf2024’s New Host City

If you’re thinking that you don’t know anything about Busan, South Korea (or that maybe you’ve never even heard of it), don’t feel like the Lone Ranger; I had to look it up myself. It turns out that Busan is the country’s second largest city, a pretty large metropolis with 3.4 million million people living in it as of 2017, and for a variety of reasons it looks like a pretty swell place to hold a conference.

For starters, it’s a coastal city sitting near mountains, but on the Korea Strait near the Sea of Japan, which not only means plenty of beaches, but also pleasant weather since the close proximity to the sea makes the city cooler and less humid in the summer than most of the Korean Peninsula. Although in August and September the city is generally hot, humid, and rainy, late spring and early summer — May through the end of July — are generally quite comfortable.

Another plus (and one that was probably most important to the event’s organizers who were having to find a new venue in a hurry), the city is noted for its moxxy when it comes to conventions, conferences, and other large scale events. The city’s convention and exhibition zone boasts numerous facilities for hosting such events, as well as plenty of nearby hotels to support the people attending the events. Evidently, this means that even at this date, which is relatively close to conference-time, organizers are finding there are still options open to them for staging this year’s conference.

What Do We Know About This Year’s Event

As I said going into this article, other than the host city, there’s not a heck of a lot that we know at this time about the conference, but I have made a bit of a list of what we know and don’t know:

  • Date: July 28th to August 4th, 2024
  • City: Busan, South Korea
  • Event venue: To be announced
  • Event schedule: Not yet available, but when it is you can find it here. Because of this, there is still time for you to submit a proposal for an event here.
  • Cost and registration: Not known. Will be posted on the event’s website when available.

What we do know is that (as is normal at DebConf time) the week prior to the conference will be taken up by the DebCamp hacking session, which is scheduled from July 21st until July 27th.

We also know that in January, the folks behind the event announced the DebConf24 Logo Contest in which they asked aspiring artists, designers, and contributors to submit an image that would represent the new host city and nation, to be used to promote the conference. The winner was Woohee Yang, and you can see a not-ready-for-prime-time preview of the logo below:

DebConf2024 logo preview

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