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The Invitation Process

The following description was written by Jonathan Corbet who documented the process of selecting invitees to the Kernel Summit a few years ago.  It has been lightly edited by your humble program committee chair, who takes responsibility for any inaccuracies.

The Kernel Summit program committee will soon start the process of figuring out who to invite for this year's event.  Feedback from past years suggests that, to some, the invitation process looks a bit like a smoke-filled room, cabal-building exercise.  This message is an attempt to make the selection process a bit more transparent.

It is worth noting that the invitation-only nature of the summit, by definition, implies that some people will be excluded.  It seems inevitable that, in a development community this large, the invitation list will fail to include some developers whose contributions are large and who could certainly bring something positive to the summit.  That is an unfortunate result, and one which should be minimized.  It is, however, hard to see how the meeting could be enlarged without changing its nature and causing other important participants to drop out.  So the summit is likely to remain invitation-only, and at its current size.

The selection algorithm has, in recent years, worked something like this:
    • A list of potential invitees is put together.  This list is composed of people who have contributed to the kernel over the previous year and explicit nominations.  Anybody is welcome to submit nominations by sending a message to the ksummit-2011-pc mailing list or by filling out this form.
    • A certain number of slots are pre-assigned.  The program committee, in its arrogance, invites itself to the event.  Major sponsors for the summit get a slot for a representative.  (If you or your company is interested in sponsoring the Kernel Summit, please contact Angela Brown.)
    • Each member of the program committee gives each potential attendee a rating between one and five points, depending on that attendee's perceived contribution to the event.  At the end of this process, the bulk of the slots are filled by the people getting the highest votes.   That's how people like Linus get their invitations.
    • The remaining slots are filled based on discussions within the committee.  In filling these slots, an emphasis is placed on ensuring that most major subsystems and architectures are represented and that the people needed to discuss the anticipated hot topics will be present.  There is also an attempt to ensure that a certain amount of "new blood" is brought in.
    • A few slots are reserved so that there is room to invite people whose importance becomes clear as the agenda is worked out.
    • A few slots (usually 5) are also chosen randomly from the MAINTAINERS file.
What the committee wants to do, in the end, is to put together an event that helps the kernel development community be active, connected, and coherent over the coming year.

I've assembled a list of people who have contributed significantly to the kernel in recent months (since January 2010), as measured by Signed-off-by's, Reviewed-by's, and Acked-by's as well as people who have authored a significant number of git commits.

Obviously, this is only a starting point, and may omit some critical people, and may include people who have done nothing more than mechanical syntax changes.  The latter is handled by the program committee, as described above, and the former is handled by you.

If you believe there is anyone who is not on this list, but which you think should be considered by the kernel summit program committee, please send nominations (self-nominations are allowed) to the ksummit-2011-pc mailing list at lists.linux-foundation.org, or fill out this nomination form.