DebConf newbies: we want you!

You've probably already read a nice blog post by Joey about the DebConf Newbies initiative. Let me recap in case you didn't: Debian will invest some money to explicit sponsor DebConf10 attendance for "non-regulars", i.e. for those that have not attended DebConf ever, or quite in a while. If you are interested you should check the wiki page and mail Joey as requested. (Including a big thank you to him would be more than appropriate, given that he'll be taking care of most gory details.)

Why are we doing this and why is it separate from the regular DebConf sponsorship process? Answering the latter is rather easy. The initiative has sponsoring criteria different than regular DebConf sponsoring (which is well oiled and taken care of by the DebConf orga team) and it didn't seem fair to mix the two, possibly keeping out from regular sponsoring requests some people, just because of this new initiative. Also, as we're well past the deadline for requesting regular DebConf sponsoring, it wouldn't have been nice to induce extra work to the DebConf sponsoring team (and Joey has been kind enough to volunteer anyhow, so ... :-) ).

Answers to the former question (why are we doing this in the first place?) are possibly subjectives. My personal belief is that attending DebConf increases the enthusiasm of attendees and ultimately will make them better Debian citizens. It surely happened to me years ago: in the beginning of my Debian membership (as DD, since DMs did not exist back then) I just cared about my pet packages. It was only after meeting the Debian crowd in person at a FOSS event (LinuxTag 2004, IIRC) that I got really enthusiastic about Debian, gradually increasing my involvement in the project. I've never regretted it.

I hope it can happen to some of you too, possibly starting with DebConf10.
See you in New York!