The conference will be held online via Zoom. Thanks to the University of Adelaide, Australia, for making this possible.
We envision a schedule somewhat similar to a physical conference, with talks of approximately 30-40 minutes, time for q&a, and several breaks throughout the day. Given the global nature of an online conference, the talks will be extended throughout each day, according to the speakers' locations, rather than focused on one timezone. We expect that talks will be recorded and available for viewing afterwards.
We request that all participants and speakers register for the conference. It is free of charge, though donations are most welcome to help defray expenses and to support TeX and TUG.
We dearly hope it will be possible to have the 2021 conference (physically) at RIT, as had been planned for this year.
For this first online TUG conference, we especially need lots of help for it to go well. Some of the jobs we know we'll need volunteers for:
Although an annual general meeting of members has been part of prior TUG conferences, the TUG Board has elected not to have an official AGM at this year's online conference, per the bylaws. This first-time online conference is already taxing all available volunteers to capacity, while a membership meeting is quite a different proposition from anything else being organized for the conference. So it is unfortunately not feasible to arrange. Naturally we hope and expect that there will be an AGM at next year's conference.
There have been good arguments in the media and circulated in articles online that there are problems with Zoom's front-end software and architecture. We did not pick Zoom as the platform for TUG2020 without recognition of these flaws.
With only a couple short months between the cancellation of the face-to-face TUG2020 and the dates of the event, we needed to be pragmatic about our choice of conference streaming/hosting software. As well as philosophy we also needed to worry about price. We chose not to charge a fee to participate in TUG2020 to encourage attendance, and TUG cannot afford large investments of time or licensing costs to implement or pay for robust solutions for once-off events.
A Zoom webinar license is being used through an institutional sponsor to host TUG2020. This allows up to 500 attendees, a scale which we cannot match with alternative no-cost solutions. It is worth noting that a Zoom webinar is different than a Zoom meeting; only presenters have the ability to share their own video and screen. Attendees of the conference will not need to install software that they do not wish to, as Zoom has an alternative web browser interface and live streams will also be provided via YouTube.
We have our own concerns about the security of Zoom, but a conference is, almost by definition, about sharing information. Nothing we are broadcasting at the meeting is something we are trying to keep secret—quite the contrary!
If TUG2021 is held online we will revisit this decision with more time to plan and the experience of lessons learned in TUG2020.
Sponsored by the TeX Users Group, DANTE e.V., Overleaf, the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at the Rochester Institute of Technology, STM Document Engineering Pvt Ltd, University of Adelaide, Australia, and individual donors. Thanks to all.
Additional sponsors are greatly appreciated, as is mentioning the conference to colleagues and in any other contexts.