Four years after the very first RustFest we are ready to take our ideals to the next level:
Today we are announcing the RustFest Project, a non-profit organization and new home for RustFest conferences, created to support event organizers in the Rust community. The RustFest Project will operate under an open governance model with transparent budget in support of event organizers joining our global RustFest family. We will provide event organizers with guidance, connections, resources and fiscal support to help them meet the high standards for inclusivity and openness the Rust community has been praised for.
More than “just a conference”
Seven RustFests ago in 2016, when we started planning our very first Rust event in Berlin, “a Rust conference for Europe” was only part of our motivation. We wanted this to be an event from the European community for the global Rust community — instead of just “that conference, organised by the folks in Berlin”. Taking inspiration from conferences like EuRuKo, we made RustFest a travelling conference: not only happening at different locations, but also being organised by different local teams. Our intention was to go beyond being “a conference for the Rust programming language” and have RustFest become a celebration (a festival, if you will) to bring the Rust Community together. And what a celebration it has been! The small, 150-strong weekend event has grown into a 4-day festival with workshops, Impl days and more. By last year’s in-person conference in Barcelona we have tripled in size, attracting over 400 Rustaceans. Our latest event earlier this month, the online RustFest Global has counted close to a thousand registrations.
One of our initial goals in moving the conference around the continent was not only to make it more accessible, but also to equip local organizing teams with the experience and skills to support the growth of their own Rust communities once the event was over. The pre-events, the local non-profits we helped create all served this purpose. It has been in RustFest’s DNA from the very start to help anyone bring a Rust event to their community.
The complexities of international community collaboration
Despite being a non-profit endeavor, every single RustFest event has ended up with some amount of “leftover” funds. While this wasn’t itself a big issue, as we’d always intended to use these funds in future events, the act of getting these funds from one organization to the other turned out to be a constant headache due to local, legal coordination challenges.
Our most recent online RustFest Global event also ended up with a sizable surplus, which (being a global collaboration of multiple teams) presented another question: How do we stay true to our pledge to make these funds available to any of the collaborating teams, should they decide to organize their own events in the future?
In short, we have been long looking for a transparent and unbiased way to distribute funds to the global Rust community working on events.
A new home for RustFest
The RustFest Project is our best answer to all these complexities as of yet.
We are opening up the core of RustFest by moving the project to an open governance model and transparent budget, under the umbrella of an actual non-profit. The Estonian open source non-profit Bay Area Tech Club will host the RustFest Project, with project finances tracked on our new Open Collective page. We are currently working on the governance structure, and outlining the process of applying for support to our partner events (see below).
The new RustFest Project organization will take ownership of the various infrastructure bits accumulated by RustFest over the years. Most of it will move to the oversight of Bay Area Tech Club (including domain names, hosting, and service subscriptions). The RustFest Global organizing team included over 20 people, with historically many more contributors across all events. We want to make sure we have the infrastructure and an easy way to onboard anyone who wishes to participate in the future.
The RustFest Project is still planning to organize its own RustFest-style events (both online and potentially as in-person/hybrid events in the future) on a project basis, but we also want to support others in doing so — regardless of whether they’ve been part of the RustFest Global team this year.
A global family
As part of defining the RustFest Project we are also working on clarifying a concept we’ve come to refer to as “the RustFest family”. We borrowed this term from the JSConf family of events, as we intend to offer guidelines and set expectations around creating inclusive community events endorsed and supported by the Rust event organizing community. As part of this endorsement, by joining the family, events will also be granted the ability to request the support of the RustFest Project: be that infrastructure, consulting or fiscal support in the form of grants.
In addition to support for organizers, the RustFest Project intends to create and maintain software and infrastructure that benefits the community beyond the events we create. One exciting recent example: the newly announced RustFest Project-operated federated Matrix messaging service, RustCh.at.
RustFest Global has also served as the testing ground for another Bay Area Tech Club project, the Waasabi event streaming framework. After great feedback from a successful test run we look forward to the public release. We also anticipate helping others start using the framework for their events.
Thank you for getting us this far!
The RustFest Project team would like to thank everyone who supported us through the years: thousands of attendees; dozens of speakers producing close to a hundred hours of content; all our generous sponsors; and, of course, all of you who helped weave it all into a cohesive whole:
Adolfo Ochagavía, Alberto Mendez, Alexander Varwijk, Ana Hobden, Andrey Listochkin, Angel Sánchez, Antonio Piraino, Benjamin Kampmann, Carlos Báez, Cheng You Bai (cybai), Chiko, Christian Perez-Llamas, Dina-Solveig Jalkanen, Dirkjan Ochtman, Emanuele Tagliaferri, Emma Tracey, Enrico Risa, Enwei Jin, Felix Klock, Ferran Reyes, Florian Gilcher, Geoffroy Couprie, Guillaume Gomez, Ivan Fraixedes, Iñaki Garay, Jan-Erik Rediger, Jeske Eenink, Johanna Dahlroos, Kan-Ru Chen, Kat Hößel, Misaki Makino, Pierre-Étienne Meunier, Pilar Andrea Huidobro Peltier, PotHix, Rafaela Wetzel, Raphael Nestler, Roberto Huertas, Santiago Pastorino, Schleer Zsuzsanna, Sebastian Wicki, Stefan Schindler, Szmozsánszky István (Flaki), Tomohide Takao, Tomás De Mattey, Vanessa Trantes, Vasia Kalavri, Wouter Geraedts, Xidorn Quan, Yenna Listochkina, Yuki, Yuliana Reyna, Zsuzsanna Schleer
Get in touch!
Want to help us define the next chapter in RustFest’s history? Do you happen to have experience with open community governance? Want to contribute to the new organization? Current or future (Rust) event organizer? Know a company who might want to support us in our efforts? Other questions, ideas, musings? Please get in touch!
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Matrix: #rustfest-project:rustch.at.