Lots of people have heard by now, so I might as well make it official. I will not take part in organizing the next large hacker event that was scheduled to take place somewhere in Germany in 2009. Which is a pity, especially since this event would have been the 20-year anniversary of the every-four-year sequence that started with the Galactic Hacker Party in 1989. (The previous editions all took place in The Netherlands, this one was scheduled to happen in Germany because events like this just became too hard to do in The Netherlands.)
I realise our events have been and continue to be important milestones in hacker culture and that they serve as places in space and time for the hacker community to get together. But to make a long story short, there’s just too much bad luck stacked up against my participation in 2009. Various serious problems have emerged, all involving those close and dear to me. As much as I may have lots of time over the next months and years, there will most likely be times when I simply need to take weeks or even months off. Organizing events on this scale means there’s something in your hands that you simply cannot drop for a few months and then continue. Given that I cannot predict when or for how long I’m going to be needed elsewhere, I have to pass on organizing the event. Taking care of one’s loved ones has to take priority, even over something as important as this.
With the benefit of hindsight, I should probably have realised sooner that my participation wasn’t going to happen. For a long time I figured I would somehow manage. But more bad luck kept piling up, more or less forcing this decision. In the month or so after telling a smaller group of people, a dedicated intitiative to organize a large-scale event that would be worthy of being called the successor did not emerge. A few people that initially said they’d like to be the center people for the 2009 edition changed their minds when they thought it over some more. It is, after all, a rather insane amount of risky underpaid work.
As a very recent development, some good people seem to be thinking about doing something in 2009 anyway, and I wish them luck. (I may blog about this when more is known.) I will naturally try to share the knowledge that is in my head with whoever needs it as well as I can. And I may be much more directly involved in future events in 2010 or 2011, who knows.
I can only wish I had known sooner or had been more effective in arranging for alternatives to my involvement. I’m sorry…