LAC organization - Notes on hosting the Linux Audio Conference

This article is aimed at [future|potential] organizers of the Linux Audio Conference.

Draft – work in progress


There is no official policy set in stone on how to apply for hosting the Conference!

We believe that human-to-human communication and individual characteristics are cornerstones that make LAC a nice event and thus prefer an approach that provides a natural selection, as opposed to strict rules and regulations.

As starting points:

  • join the LAD/LAU community if you're not a member, yet. That's what the conference is all about.
  • attend a LAC. Talk to the previous organizer and/or core-team.
  • be enthusiastic about it: show motivation to find out whom to talk to. You need to be able to solve very similar issues down the road, anyway.

Conference Format

  • 3-5 days
  • Paper-presentations, panel-discussions
  • Concerts, art-installations
  • Hands-on-workshops


Apart from essential dependencies that any conference brings with it, the Linux Audio Community has certain standards and expectations.

  • There should be some institution or organization that can provide patronage (insurance).
  • The venue should be able to accommodate >= 150 attendees.
  • LAC is open to public and has traditionally been free-of-charge to attend. Concerts accompanying LAC may be an exception to this.
  • Printed proceedings - Proper documentation is very important to us. Audio-related topics - in particular digital signal processing and sound synthesis- can be very scientific. Publishing papers is an important part of scientific research. Even less scientific areas - such as interface design or composition - benefit greatly by documentation. Printed proceedings raises creditability of the conference and on top of it gives your institute a P&R hand-out.
  • Peer review - the presented papers or talks should be peer-reviewed by a committee of experts.
  • Live-video stream of (at least) the main conference track, video-archive. Not every member of the community can travel to LAC, remote-participation is important. The LAC was one of the first FLOSS conferences to provide live-streams and has an archive back to the 2nd LAC in 2003. Not only is it good publicity - excerpts of talks have been published in the Linux-Magazine - but it allows to revisit a certain topic and - in times of fake and puffware anywhere - proves that the conference really took place.
  • Evening concerts - Music is an integral part of audio & sound. Traditionally there have been 2 or 3 concerts featuring different styles:
    • serious compositions - sit-down style - playback + live
    • club-night: The GNU/Linux dance event - preferably live music only
  • Hallway track: One of the more important parts of any conference is the so-called hallway track, where informal gatherings of attendees take place. Nearby bars and restaurants or a dedicated hacker-space are an integral part of the hallway track.
  • WiFi is somewhat obvious these days. Yet, it can be overwhelmed when the majority of attendees are in one place (like for keynotes).
  • All conference material should be under a free/libre license and be related to, or have impact on Free-Software and GNU/Linux.
  • There must not be any discrimination (e.g. handicapped people, OSX-users). It is prudent to look into anti-harassment policies as well.

Equipment & Personnel

Equipment for the main conference track:

  • Video-Projector(s)
  • Wireless lapel-mics (for speakers), microphone(s) for audience questions.
  • PA, audio-mixing desk, cables and accessories (stands, tape,..)
  • Video camera(s) and tripods; don't forget DV-tapes.
  • Lighting (spot, ambient), window shades.
  • Video-mixer and scan-converter (e.g. VGA→PAL, firewire) for video streaming and archiving
  • Computer for A/V recording (fast multi-core, large HDD, wired internet connectivity, potential firewall exceptions) and chat-session (questions from remote participants).
  • Power-outlets for the audience.

Concerts: Equipment for concerts really depends on the venue.

Similarly, workshops, poster-sessions, etc may have specific equipment requirements. Yet it is impossible to generalize those. Additional video-projectors, sound-systems and power-outlets are the most obvious.

You need to staff a registration and information desk. There need to be volunteers to announce speakers, attend to the cameras as well as mixing desk. Attendees may require assistance as well.

We provide..

You are not alone: Over the years a team of volunteers crystallized who stand-by at your command. Previous organizers are available for advice.

In particular, the LAC stream-team has expertise to set up the video-streaming and can may be able to provide equipment (scan-converter, cameras,..). can facilitate web-hosting, email-service and potentially web-design including a peer-review system for paper submission.


Things that may require sponsoring are:

  • Venue and insurance – yet your institution may take care of this. Concert-locations can be financed by an entrance fee or a surcharge on consumptions.
  • Security & technical staff – may also be provided by the institution and/or volunteers.
  • Any equipment from the list above that is not available at the venue.
  • Logistics
  • Advance payment for printing proceedings and optional T-shirts or gadgets to be sold.
  • Coffee, Tea, Cookies..

Further considerations

  • build a small team early-on
  • delegate as much as possible
  • announce it early (cheap travel, minimize the chance of date overlap or conflicts with other related conferences)
lac2012/future.txt · Last modified: 2012/01/13 14:21 by