[sklug] LWB-2003 in Slovakia

Daniel A. Nagy nagydani na mast.queensu.ca
Pátek Srpen 2 13:04:42 CEST 2002


Thanks for the quick response. First, a couple of words about LBW. So far,
it has been carried out three times, in Germany, in England and in Belgium.
The next one is scheduled for late august, 2002 in Ireland.

In each case, the event was based in a small town with pubs, hotels, hostels
and nearby camping sites. The number of attendants is around 100, but
growing steadily from year to year.

LBW comprises lectures, workshops, hikes, siteseeings, bar & restaurant visits
and some ad-hoc communal drinking. :-) It is very important that these
events are held in parallel so that everybody can choose what exactly to
attend. For example, at the same time there could be one lecture, two hikes
and one site-seeing tour that ends in a restaurant. This is to keep the
groups in a managable size while providing everybody with something to do
all the time. This pattern has been prooven many times, so we're not
planning to change it in 2003 either. The majority of attendants are
university students, though there are all sorts of geeks coming along.

The most annoying problem with past LBWs was the unproportionally low
attendance by East-European hackers, which is due to the high costs of
getting to and living in Western Europe. Most of us simply can't afford
spending a week or two in the West. Furthermore, visitors from many
countries (most notably the former USSR) would need visas to the EU which
are denied most frequently to our kind. AFAIK, Slovakia also requires visas
for visitors from Russia (but not for Ukraine, which is already an advantage
over EU), but they get it without much fuss -- Slovakia is not afraid of
illegal immigrant programmers from Russia, right? To make the long story
short, we would like to organize LBW 2003 in Slovakia in order to
attract hackers from Central and Eastern Europe, while maintaining
reasonable costs for the traditional attendees from the West (this is why
Russia would be out of question: getting there is way too expensive for a
pennyless British student).

Why Banska Bystrica? As I mentioned above, LBW is usually organized in
a small town that is not too far away from hiking trails, has a fair amount of
historic sites, pubs and restaurants to explore and offers accomodation at
reasonable prices. Accessibility is also an issue, though this year's LBW in
Ireland is not a very good example from that point of view. Banska Bystrica
seems to be easily accessible from Bratislava, Budapest and Vienna
international airports, it lies in the middle of the country, which in turn
lies in the middle of the region (Polish, Czech and Hungarian hackers can
access it equally easily). During my scouting, I found that it's an ideal
place from a cultural compatibility point of view as well: Czechs and the
Polish can communicate with Slovaks in their native language (the Czechs
easily, the Poles not so easily), while there are enough people speaking
either German, Hungarian or Russian to some extent, which pretty much covers
the needs.

And now for the requirements. In order to organize an LBW, the most
important thing is a great hall, in which we can set up a permanent LAN
party with about 50 computers and (a possibly slow) access to the Internet
(eg. ISDN). This is where your help is most needed. The hall should be
secure, so that people can leave there their equipment while going out. It
should be lockable for the night.

Someone should negotiate an affordable rent for the hall with some
organization that owns such a hall and arrange internet service with the
local telco. The latter is sometimes done in the framework of sponsorship.
Having the local telco sponsor our event is a great advantage, but that was
done only once. The network equipment as well as the cables and the
computers are usually provided by the participants themselves, but the
gateway needs to be there to connect to the Internet. We don't need
broadband, as the primary goal of this connection is to check emails and
update the LBW website -- we're there to get our fat asses out to the nature
and the pubs, after all. :-)

A related field, where local organizers can help a lot is finding other
sponsors for the event that can help with money, beer, T-shirts, whatnot.
The more sponsors we have, the less money we will have to raise on our own.
Funds are usually raised in the form of volunteer donations -- participants
of LBW are not required to pay, but they are strongly encouraged to
contribute. The excess funds are automatically transfered to the next LBW.

Furthermore, I would like to ask you to compile a list of accomodation and
camping prices (and sites), parking fees, as well as a list (with price
estimates) of the local restaurants and pubs. For both, a short review of
the services they offer would be helpful.

Finally, I'd like to ask you to clarify the customs regulations of Slovakia,
as some western participants are voicing concerns about being able to bring
in and take out their equipment without any harrassment on the part of the
customs officials. Please, write a short summary on related laws and

Thank you!


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