One of the things the Drupal Association struggles a lot with is the pricing of DrupalCon tickets for attendees. As detailed in the 2011 Annual Report (1.3 MB PDF), DrupalCon tickets make up a significant portion of the organizations' overall revenue, which goes to funding hugely important long-term projects like the Drupal.org redesign and Git migration, server upgrades, programs like the Community Cultivation Grants, as well as salaries for our staff to help run operations. While we are actively working on diversifying our revenue stream through initiatives like a revamped Drupal Marketplace and hosting listings, and adding numerous benefits to our membership program, the fact remains that in the meantime, DrupalCon ticket sales help to off-set significant costs for programs that help benefit the wider Drupal community, including those individuals who could never hope to attend a DrupalCon due to family/geographical/visa issues.
At the same time, we also recognize the wonderful diversity of people in our community. And for students, hobbyists, non-profits, evaluators, freelancers, and others, even the significantly off-set ticket prices (thanks to our generous DrupalCon sponsors) can make DrupalCon attendance prohibitive to the people we hope most can get there. And while we offer full-ride scholarships for a limited number of people in financial need, asking for one is often uncomfortable, especially by people who give a lot to Drupal already. In the past, we've done super-cheap "land grab" tickets (first 100 or so), but often those go to the people who don't need them: the major Drupal shops and others making ample money off Drupal who already know they'll be coming to DrupalCon, regardless of ticket cost.
This time around, we're doing something a little different. The Drupal Association has set aside a number of half-price tickets to students and non-profits, as well as FREE tickets to contributors. To snag one, you have to apply to lead a sprint on the final sprint day. These applications will get checked over by the same group who looks over the scholarship applications, and use similar criteria (involvement in community of the participant, impact of the sprint on larger project, etc.) to evaluate the submissions.
So, if you're someone who is driving important change in Drupal (or someone wants to!), please tell us about your plans and you could qualify for complimentary admission!
I'm officially headed to Drupalcon Szeged in August (thanks, Lullabot!), and so naturally submitted a few session proposals this weekend. :) Incidentally, if you haven't yet registered for Szeged, you really ought to do so soon -- the price goes up after June 30, and their website has a super smooth registration process.
Jimmy is one of our GHOP students, who started using Drupal only a month or two ago, but has since completed 12 tasks for the Drupal part of the Google Highly Open Participation program (GHOP) (which makes him #2 in terms of the number of tasks completed for Drupal) and has done some truly outstanding work in a very short period of time.
Among his accomplishments are Simpletest unit tests for the core comment, path, book, blogapi, filter, and content translation modules. He also created a 30 second commercial for Drupal, documented all of the core global variables (something chx was very happy about), converted the Bluemarine theme to a tableless layout, documented how to build "click heat maps" for Drupal (and went above and beyond by creating a Click HeatMap module that integrates Drupal with the ClickHeat library), and even wrote a Version Control API-Git backend for the Git revision control system (and he did this in under 2 weeks without having even used Git before that time). Expanding the base of contributors who can work with Version Control API is critical to Drupal.org ever shifting to a different version control system than CVS, as well as opening the user (and thus contributor) base to Project* module. So for all of you who've long wanted d.o to move to another version control system like Subversion, here's a chance to put your money where your mouth is. ;)
As for Adam, I've already written about his substantial contributions in a past contributor spotlight feature, and I'd love for him to be sponsored to go to Drupalcon on that basis alone. Adam was the one primarily carrying the torch during the latter half of the GHOP program, and was critical to ensuring its success. And an additional benefit of sending Adam to Drupalcon will be to get some critical face-to-face time the Project* module maintainers, Derek Wright and Chad Phillips. Project* module is arguably our very most important module, since it covers our ticketing system, the Drupal project and module downloads, and the basis for the incredible Update Status module, which helps ensure your Drupal site is up to date and secure.
I want to sincerely thank the broader Drupal community for already pitching in to fund Derek and Chad's trip out to Drupalcon. Let's make it a complete set by sending these other two fabulous contributors, and help improve the fundamental infrastructure we all use every day, as well as just say "thanks for being totally awesome!!" ;)