Here are a few comments I have for my pre-first-Debconf self a month ago.
- Being long past hankering for additional college-type experiences, I opted to skip the dorms, and stayed at a nearby hotel. That was probably a mistake - I think I missed a lot with that choice.
- After checking into dining options in downtown Portland, I also skipped the meal plan. I still think that was the right choice, but ended up eating lunch in the cafeteria a la carte several times, to have more chances to meet and talk.
- With so many people in the same time zone and on the same tasks, I found IRC more useful than usual, particularly the Debconf* channels. A Quassel server and client may be worth the setup.
- Get gobby installed before your first BOF, and make sure you can access documents on gobby.debian.org.
- Don’t take it as a given that your laptop install will go smoothly.