Discussions are frank and often spirited; all participants are expected to actively participate in most topics. Conference attendees looking for more structured setting or for a chance to learn something without also contributing to the discussion will almost certainly be disappointed by this workshop and are encouraged to sign up for one of the many tutorials instead.
Attendance is limited to 30 people and is based on acceptance of a position paper; all participants are required to bring a laptop computer. There is a fee of $190 (USD) to attend the workshop.
So who attends the Advanced Topics Workshop?
By “very senior” we mean people with a lot of experience (usually ten years or more) who understand and can talk intelligently about system administration as a profession as well as about specific system administration tasks and problems. Participants should be able to understand the business and human aspects of system administration as well as the technical aspects, should understand why technical solutions often aren’t the right answer, and should be able to discuss issues such as hiring, training, certification, customer relations, etc.
Past participants are usually very high-level sysadmins folks who now do a lot of architecture and design and management as well as still keeping their hand in the day-to-day operations. Many are well-known in the field: Alva Couch, Bill LeFebvre, Brent Chapman, David Blank-Edelman, David Parter, Doug Hughes, Elizabeth Zwicky, Geoff Halprin, Mark Burgess, Paul Anderson, Remy Evard, Strata Chalup, Tom Limoncelli, and Xev Gittler a veritable who’s who of past and present conference chairs, authors, SAGE and/or LOPSA board members, etc. However, being famous or published or a past conference chair is not a requirement to attend the workshop; other past participants are not “public figures” and thus their identities have not been revealed.
Registration for the workshop is mostly separate from the LISA registration process. To attend the workshop you must submit a position paper and have that paper accepted; then, if your application is accepted, you will have to sign up using the conference registration system.
Position papers must be plain ASCII and not more than three (3) paragraphs long. Please submit your paper via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Third-party submissions will be rejected.
A typical position paper covers what the author thinks is the most difficult or important issue facing system administrators today, why this is a problem, and why this problem is important. There is no requirement that the paper include a proposed solution to the problem; in fact, very few papers (if any) have ever even suggested a solution. If you prefer you may suggest a topic for discussion, your position on the topic, and why you think the topic is important enough to be discussed at the workshop.
You should receive email acknowledging the receipt of your position paper within 48 hours of your submission. A decision on whether your paper was accepted will usually be made within a week; you will be notified of the decision via email.
If you have additional questions about the workshop please send email to email@example.com.
Here are some suggestions about the position papers.