Monday, April 12, 2010

Texas Linux Fest 2010

This past Saturday was the Texas Linux Fest 2010 and Fedora's very own Max Spevack was a featured presenter. The Fedora crew (Max Spevack, David Duncan, Scott Collier, Julio Villareal, and me) arrived at 8am to setup and we transformed a simple and somewhat boring table with a plain white table cloth into an interactive environment for Fedora and the community at large via an impressive event box. The event box contained all the tools needed to make our booth top notch and in my opinion a contender for "best in show."

I would also like to note that there was a Red Hat booth right next to us where Thomas Cameron and a fellow 'Hatter' named Shawn(sp?) (I never caught her last name) were stationed. I want to mention how powerful of a statement I personally felt came as the result of Red Hat and Fedora having separate booths right next to one another at an event like the TXLF because while there is a closely knit relationship between Fedora and Red Hat, the two as entities are separate. While these two are separate they are not necessarily disjoint and I think it is a powerful move to make that distinction to the Linux community who is not aware of that fact and still have the uninformed misconception of Fedora being Red Hat's development playground. I consider it important to show up standing shoulder to shoulder to represent our specific areas to the Linux community.

With that said, on to the starting line! At 9am the doors flew open at the Texas Linux Fest and the line from the registration counter was out to the parking lot. We had prime real estate and as the participants were funnelled through the entrace and were brought in through a walkway that ran right by the Fedora booth. The booth got immediate attention and the day was off with a bang, people everywhere, we were running through media quickly, the tattoos were a great success, ink pens being taken, and all the usual reactions I would expect conference goers to have to swag. The main piece of the "swag grab" that I enjoyed was that the people who would come up to the booth didn't just grab and go, they would walk up, we as Fedora Ambassadors would engage them in conversation and a few minutes would pass (or hours in a couple instances) and they would pick up a couple items from the table and continue on their way.

We had one gentleman who was having issues with his Broadcom wireless card (surprise, surprise), he was a relatively new user and I was happy to help him. We scrambled around for almost an hour trying to find a free network drop to plug his laptop into an ethernet cable to install the appropriate kernel modules from rpmfusion. Once wifi was setup and successful, the gentleman who I had been helping quickly ran to the tables of other distributions who apparently hadn't had as good of luck as I had in getting his wireless to function and said, "The Fedora guy made it work." I'd call it a victory :)

As the day went on, conversations of everything from wacom tablets to ARM Architecture strategy was discussed between Fedora Ambassadors and those in attendance of the Texas Linux Fest. We at the Fedora booth used a convertible tablet laptop that I had from work to have a hand written "running list" of topics to take away from the event as a somewhat informal way of gathering information based on what the community is interested in, what they would like to see from the Fedora Project in the future, and what they love about Fedora now. We had quite a bit of positive feedback and a few requests for the future of Fedora, I'd call this a win as well.

All in all it was a spectacular event and I look forward to next year's TXLF!

I unfortunately lack a high quality camera, but David Duncan is not bound by this limitation and has some amazing photos here.

I went ahead and exported the output of the Xournal document from the tablet writings to a pdf and it can be viewed here.

UPDATE: I got word from Thomas Cameron that Shawn's last name is Briscoe. So thank you to Shawn Briscoe for coming out and kicking hind parts along with Thomas Cameron at the Red Hat booth! (I know this is a Fedora Ambassador's report but if you're this far in my blog post then you know my opinion on the co-existence of the two groups).

9 comments:

David Duncan said...

Great recount sir. I really enjoyed getting to know you and working the booth together. I look forward to the next time!

Paul W. Frields said...

The story about making the attendee's wireless work is a fantastic example of what makes Fedora great -- we make things work!

I've always known that Fedora provides superior engineering underneath, and that our community is absolutely first-rate. I'm excited that we're also making steps toward making the experience of running Fedora better. It's not hard to build a better experience around better engineering. It's really hard to "tack on" better engineering when you're not good at the collaborative, open source engineering process.

Nigel said...

Thanks for the friendly chat guys. See you again next year.

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