The Notacon 5 event took place April 4th – 6th 2008 in Cleveland Ohio. The Fedora table was in operation all day on Saturday, April 5th. Notacon is a new but growing technology conference. This year, the conference saw the largest turn out yet. The final count of attendance (including presenters, staff and participants) was about 350 people. There are two presentation rooms in operation during most days of the event. Including tables/booths, such as Fedora’s, as well as many workshops, demonstrations, etc.
This was the first year that Fedora had a presence at Notacon. We were provided an excellent table location to use. I had three 3′ x 2′ full color/glossy posters printed. The posters were, Infinity, Freedom, and Voice. I hung these on the wall behind the table. The table featured pamphlets about Fedora, Fedora stickers, Fedora Live CDs, Fedora DVDs, Fedora Ambassador business cards, a lava lamp, and free brownies. There was also a sign posted stating that source code was available upon request or via download from http://www.fedoraproject.org. I also had about eight DVDs of the source code on hand should anyone have asked for a copy.
The Fedora table enjoyed much attention. We met people that ranged from not knowing what Fedora was at all to being a Fedora package manager. One person who came up to the table stated that they had Fedora installed but had decided to over write it with Ubuntu. However, he was unhappy with Ubuntu and wanted to switch back to Fedora. He was prevented from doing so because he could not get the Fedora install to complete. We told him to bring his laptop over and we’d help him fix the issue. A few minutes later he came back to the table with his laptop and we were able to correct the problem, and in minutes he had a new shiny install of Fedora…he was very pleased. It’s fun spreading Fedora goodness.
I tried to mention to all people stopping by that if they had a USB stick with enough free space we’d be glad to create a live image on it for them. One person took me up on the offer. He got to choose the Fedora 8 live image or the Fedora 9 Beta live image, he chose the beta. He gave me the USB stick and came back in ten minutes to pick it up. He seemed quite impressed that we offered this service. Several people voiced interest in this option but did not have a USB stick with them that could be used. It think we’d see great success in the future if we had USB sticks with a Fedora label on them that we could give to people with a Live image on them.
By the end of the day, the Fedora table had distributed the following items:
- Ambassador business cards: 11
- Fedora pamphlets: 5
- Fedora Live CDs: 42
- Fedora DVDs: 52
- Fedora stickers: 100
- Total amount of media distributed: 94 units
We saw many opportunities to answer questions regarding Fedora and explain a bit about the community and the distribution itself. Some of the questions I found myself answering most often are listed below:
- What is Fedora? (The pamphlets came in handy for this question.)
- What version of Fedora are you giving out?
- What new features will be in Fedora 9? (Two features that people really liked were the encrypted disks and auto partition/resize of NTFS on install.)
- When will Fedora 9 be released?
- How often do new releases of Fedora come out?
- What is Fedora’s relationship to Red Hat?
- How much do the disks cost? (Yes, believe it or not, some people actually thought that we were selling the disks or that somehow Fedora had a price to it.)
- Who do you work for?
The last question is particularly interesting in that some people thought that we were being paid to sell or rep Fedora by some company. It was a nice feeling to be able to explain to them that we were just volunteers and trying to help out the community. This helped to drive home the point that Fedora truly is a community centric project.
In conclusion, I believe that the Fedora table was a great success in it’s first year at Notacon. Surely, many new installations of Fedora have occurred from the media that we distributed. Through answering the questions of the table’s visitors, people have an increased knowledge of Fedora and what the project is all about. Next year I hope to have an even larger presence. Some ideas for next year include sponsoring a presentation room by hanging a Fedora banner behind the podium or including a fedora sticker or media in each guest’s gift bag, etc.
And now for the part you’ve been waiting for…here are some pictures of the Fedora table at the event.
Special thanks to:
- ‘Froggy’ and ‘Tyger’ of the Notacon staff for generously providing the table for Fedora’s use.
- Jeff ‘iWolf’ Tadlock for all of his assistance and encouragement in organizing the Fedora table for this event.
- Matt Kovach and Martin Hebrank for assisting in staffing the table.