AltWWDC offers free alternative to Apple's developer conference

If you missed out on tickets to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC)—and since they sold out in three minutes, it’s quite likely you did—you may be soothed by news of a second Apple-centric conference in San Francisco going on at the same time. Appsterdam on Thursday announced AltWWDC, a free conference it will open just a block away from the Moscone Center where WWDC is held.

Described as “a free and open alternative to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference,” the five-day AltWWDC event will include talks, food, and co-working space. Confirmed speakers include former Apple engineer Mike Lee, NetNewsWire creator Brent Simmons, TUAW’s Victor Agreda, Jr., and developer and occasional Macworld contributor Brett Terpstra. The event is scheduled to run from June 10 through June 14, just like WWDC.

Via email, Appsterdam COO Judy Chen told Macworld, “AltWWDC was inspired by the sharing spirit of Appsterdam, and Appsterdam was inspired by the feeling of camaraderie that you get while attending a conference.” She described AltWWDC as an opportunity “for app makers to get together socially, share knowledge, improve their skills, and increase their network.”

For many developers within the Apple ecosystem, getting the opportunity to socialize and trade tips with their colleagues proves just as appealing as Apple’s conference itself. Numerous smaller, Apple-centric conferences continue to pop up around the globe, as developers seek out more ways to interact with each other in person. AltWWDC, however, appears to be the first such event intentionally scheduled for the same time as Apple’s flagship developer event as counter-programming.

Among the currently scheduled events is a keynote breakfast on June 10, during which attendees at AltWWDC can watch live streams of the WWDC keynote expected for that day. Presumably, new versions of OS X and iOS will be previewed then.

In recent years, more members of the Apple development community have traveled to San Francisco during WWDC week, even when they don’t have tickets to the event. Tickets to WWDC cost $1599—and that’s only if you can buy them before they sell out. Chen noted that a year ago, “many of our colleagues were extremely disappointed that they couldn’t attend WWDC” because it sold out quickly. “We saw our community was in need.”

And AltWWDC really is free. “It’s expensive enough to stay in a hotel for a week in San Francisco,” Chen said. “We didn’t want the cost of our event to be a barrier to keep people from attending.”

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