gain more users
The main goal of the event is to gain more Linux users, "quite normal" users, not those for whom Linux is more suitable because of their special needs. The target group are people who know little or nothing about Linux but are interested in it a little; this is not about impressing happy Windows users. Linux shall be exposed to these people by an event which is completely adapted to their needs. Trivially they have to know that this event exists; that is the main problem of this project.
Visiting this event shall be free of charge so that as many people as possible ar interested in visiting it; especially those without a concrete intention to use Linux.
a well-known brand for eine Linux contact point
The recommendations for the arrangement of the event are unspectacular; there have been similar Linux information events and the realization details probably have little effect on the success of the event. The potential of the Linux Presentation Day is mainly its notification.
Those who are interested in Linux a little usually do not know whom to turn to. There are Linux user groups but their concept and openness to non-members are not even known to all Linux users.
The Linux community lacks a Cryptoparty equivalent. Cryptoparty became a strong brand although the separate events are quite different. But someone who starts getting interested in crypto or anonymity today is highly probably to know that there are Cryptoparties and (if living in a large city) to having one near him.
Likewise someone who starts getting interested in Linux shall remember there is something called the Linux Presentation Day. Just this information shall get him a contact point. That the event takes place every few months only can be eased by pointing at other big events and the LUGs (Linux user groups) with their regular meetings.
Creating a strong brand will work only if the non-IT media cover this event regularly (and in an reasonably eye-catching way). For them to do that the event has to seem important to them although maybe 5% of their readers may be interested, and it may not take place too often (or at least not be communicated to the media too often). Creating this importance is the decisive benefit of the Linux Presentation Day which which distinguishes it from other events. This goal shall be reached by having events under the name Linux Presentation Day in a great many cities at (about) the same time. For each hosting organization this can be a new event, an existing event under a new name or even an existing event under two names. It is also possible to make the Linux Presentation Day part of a bigger event (for mainly the Linux community or even a fair which is not even related to IT but where a LUG can get a booth for free). Anything that serves the purpose from the visitors' perspective.
Success and failure of the Linux Presentation Day are close to each other. Is the relevance threshold of the media reached or missed slightly? For a single LUG that may not be so important whether they participate in the LPD or not but for the overall success it may. Does a country have 5 involved cities or 50? But in general it seems not very probable that the first event is covered by nationwide media; that may be easier if a new country joins an international event but even then not very promising. The local media on the other hand does not care much whether an event is part od something bigger; the importance of the whole event may influence the amount of coverage, though.
bring Linux into the public eye
The expected (non-IT) media coverage shall bring Linux regularly (twice per year) into the public eye. That is not a strong effect (especially not on those who afre not interested in Linux) but currently in good approximation nothing happens at all. The target group of this small effect are those who will not use Linux in the foreseeable future. But bringing them in slight contact with this subject shall increase the acceptance of Linux and FOSS in general; that may become relevant for the state IT (especially where it interfaces the citizens).
In order to maximize the share of the visitors who become Linux users, the visitors should have a contact after the event for help with a Linux installation. But that is not a requirement, it does not exclude hosting organizations which cannot provide that; at those locations the visitors should be pointed at suitable contact points (e.g. LUGs). One more reason why it is better to use the usual location of a LUG than a booth at an exhibition centre.
include the whole width of the Linux community
In order to both maximize the amount of possible helpers (for a great many visitors we need a great many helpers) and get the desired side effects (see the) the whole width of the Linux community shall feel invited to participate: Linux user groups, similar associations, informal groups, students’ associations. But there are possible hosting organisations outside the Linux community, too, e.g. adult education centres and schools.
These points shall contribute to nobody feeling deterred from participation:
Participation usually does not cause costs.
The organizational effort shall be very low.
The smallest variant of an LPD event is having three computers with different desktops and three people who can answer questions, present Linux usage and assist the visitors when they give it a try.
It is not possible anyway to find a date which is suitable for all potential organizers. It should not be a problem that particular cities choose a different date (one, two, three weeks after the main event but not before). Within that area this should not matter and for the (especially nationwide) media should be essential that the LPD happens at a great many locations but not whether it is at exactly the same time.
Networking between all interested people should help potential organizers getting all the necessary resources (helpers, a location, computers, sponsors) if they do not have everything anyway.
In contrast to Cryptoparties there is no educational intention with the Linux Presentation Day. Organizers get support and recommendations but are quite autonomous in their particular arrangement. There is not a bunch of rules they have to adhere to.
The reduction of effort is achieved by having mainly small events. Furthermore there is an organizational hierarchy with three levels. In each country there is a small group of central organizers. In each city or region there shall be a coordinator for all the locations who keeps in touch with the central organization. The connection between the countries shall be rather loose. Like the particular hosting organizations the countries shall be quite autonomous, too. It is not necessary that the Linux Presentation Day looks the same in each country.
The associations and similar groups get more members by hosting this event (who should be very motivated to help in future events) maybe sponsors, too.
Due to the public awareness for the event (which is generated within the IT community already some time before the event) it is possible to find people (who are not yet member of a LUG) for the organisation of the event or for the event staff. After the event these people may found a LUG if there is none in the area. Thus is it possible to use the LPD as help for founding a new or reactivating an old LUG. Instead of an announcement the call for helpers is added to the location list in that case.
If many people regularly engage in similar events then they will quickly get better at organising it.
The joint organising of such an event should (especially in case of recurrence) improve the cooperation of associations and other Linux-related organisations in the same area.
An improved cooperation of Linux-related organisations may make bigger events (Linux Day) in that area possible in the first place,
After the media coverage of the Linux Presentation Day it may become easier for the hosting organisations to get media coverage for their other events.
If the LPD media coverage causes the impression that a few percent of the Windows users are interested in the LPD and thus may be interested in using Linux (in the future) then some PC shops may start advertising at least a few models as Linux-compatible. Such shops could participate in the LPD, too.
In order that both as many visitors as possible can be taken care of and that the media take the event serious, many hosting organisations in many cities have to participate. In order to maximise the number of visitors the event has to take place as often as is according to the demand (if need be by alternating hosting organisations). In contrast to a fair there is no need for being up-to-date: In this case not the same visitors attend again and again expecting something new each time but completely different visitors each time so that the same can (and should) be presented every time (with some organisational and educational optimisations.
In order that the media (especially the nationwide and those in the locations which participate the first time) cover the LPD it is important that all events are connected in a context that is relevant to the media. This is even contained in the name of the event: All locations shall have their event on the same day. This is obviously not possible but it should not be a problem if a few cities within a country choose a different date (or if the countries as a whole choose different dates e.g. to avoid a date within the holidays). Those few cities benefit from the attention for the superordinate event.
For different hosting organisations and different target groups different dates are optimal (or even possible at all). For voluntary organisations a long event is possible on the weeksends only (an evening event might be considered too short). But for companies and certain other organisations it is difficult to have an event on the weekend. Thus in many (larger) cities there may be Linux Presentation Day events on two days.
In order that enough organisations participate this shall be possible for as many organisations as possible: associatons, informal groups (like many small Linux user groups), companies (IT service and PC shops), adult education centres, universities, and schools. For the LPD to be considered by as many organisations as possible it shall be very simple to organise such an event (at least the smallest version of it) and not require a budget. The most important aspect in making the organising easy is the decision to prefer several small locations over one large location. For some organisations (e.g. schools) it may be preferable to have a non-public LPD event (especially the first participation).
The first LPD event in Berlin: eight locations over two days
All extensive tasks shall be done by done by central organisation; both on national level and in large cities or regions:
development of the logo; providing advertising material (posters, stickers, flyer)
organisational infrastructure: web site, mailing lists
providing information material (flyer, presentations, videos, link collections)
search for sponsors (for the production of advertising materials)
distribution of resources (within a city / region: staff, computers, locations)
The execution of the event shall (for suitable organisations) be so easy that in principle they can make the decision for participation even if they start organising just a week before the event. Of course, it is desirable, though, to have most of the announcements at least four weeks in advance.
In order to both exclude as few potential hosting organisations in advance as possible and avoid time-consuming and unpleasant discussions for the central organisers there shall be no strict specifications how the event is to be done. The limit shall be obvious misuse with danger to the aims of the event. Having a certain spectrum of different events (in the same city or region) may be useful as the visitors can choose the location most suitable for their interests (and technical level). It is not a problem if the hosting organisations (especially in the case of companies) show what they are usually doing, too, as long as the clear emphasis is on the Linux Presentation Day content.
In order to participate an organisation needs:
a suitable location
Probably some organisations are interested in participation but lack a location, computers, or staff members. This problem can partly be solved by central registration of the resources in a region. Staff members and computers can be moved between the locations. More staff members (not belonging to any of the hosting organisations) can be gained via the central web site of a large city or region. Even possible locations can be searched for this way because organisations or groups without a location might be interested in participating, too.
Linux shall be shown in a way that is interesting for the target audience i.e. for people who are not IT experts and have not seen Linux before. This means: Show different desktops and the most important applications but no
look what great things we can do in the shell nerd stuff. Obviously the opinions differ where to draw the line. A possible compromise: Make something part of the event but do not mention it in the event advertising (or just inconspicuously). The whole concept is based on the assumption that people who are interested in getting to know Linux do not expect an exciting presentation but instead the answering of their questions; practice instead of theory. Furthermore we may expect understanding for it that the resources of people who do not try to sell something are quite limited. Who doesn't like the "do it yourself" attitude of the FOSS community will probably not become happy with Linux anyway.
Only Linux shall be (a relevant) part of the event but not e.g. Android, BSDs, or FOSS for Windows / Mac. This does not exclude something else to be shown in some locations but that shall not be advertised. A broader spectrum of content may confuse the public. The more is offered, the less may be the effect on those with some interest in Linux because they may feel that this event is not especially for them. There shall be no sopisticated Linux talks either, only a general introduction.
If there is enough staff then a (small) install party can part of the LPD event. But most visitors who want to have a first look at Linux will not have a need for a Linux install on the same day. Those who already want to installo Linux do not need the LPD, they can use other events (e.g. regular LUG meetings). Thus a decision for an integrated install party should be well considered and in case of doubt this additional service should be postponed to the second event.
The main problem of a new event is that it is more or less unknown and thus that much effort is necessary to mobilise the target audience. If a Linux Day takes place then word about it gets round in the Linux community. But obviously word about a Linux event does not get round among non-Linux users.
To what extent the non-IT media will cover such an event is unclear. The first event in Berlin was completely ignored by the non-IT media (and most of the IT media). Commercial advertising is usually not an option due to lack of a reasonable budget. But the Italian LinuxDay is covered by TV and nationwide newspapers so it seems reasonable to assume that this can work elsewhere after some time and when the event has become big enough.
For several reasons the media problem should decrease over time:
A second event should in general be taken more seriously than the first.
An event that takes place in many cities is not a local event any more. It should be easier to get local media coverage as a part of a regular, international event. That should make the search for sponsors easier, too. Thus the main focus of attention is gaining more locations in more countries.
The second event is usually organised with even less effort but with more time.
The hosting organizations gain experience with the media handling so that the press releases become better over time.
By announcing that there will be a Business Linux Presentation Day (BLPD) for future events it may be possible to find Linux-related companies in the area which are willing to sponsor the normal LPD (especially advertising) for private users in order to get the BLPD as soon as possible.
There is the idea to find "advertising sponsors" for promotion. Instead of giving the LPD organizers money and just getting some advertising on the LPD web site in return, they could book advertising on their own. This advertising would contain a big hint to the sponsor so that the sponsor can handle it as kind of advertising for themselves. The ads could even link to a special web page of the sponsor which mainly links to the LPD web site.
The aim of the LPD is to spread the usage of Linux. The target audience are private users only but just because they are the only group which most of the hosting organizations can relate to. The aim of the LPD would be supported by more business users using Linux (especially on the desktop).
As soon as the normal Linux Presentation Day for private users has become a success in a certain area its future events can be extended by a similar but separate event for a different target audience: companies; probably only rather small companies without IT employees. Somebody who considers using Linux in his company need other information than a private user. Business visitors who do not know Linux at all yet may visit the LPD first for the general impression and visit the BLPD a week later.
The hosting organizations for the Business Linux Presentation Day would not be non-commercial assiciations and educational organizations but Linux-related companies only. They would show the basic applications for companies, e.g. file servers, domain controllers, mail servers, groupware, backup.
The advantages for the hosting organizations compared to bein part of a real fair:
The work and cost would be much lower so that it should be rather easy to make the decision to just give this a try.
For small companies it may be difficult to shut down the normal operations for a whole day in order to participate in a kind of fair. Having special presentations and just more visitors in their normal rooms avoids this problem.
Companies which offer just standard applications and services would not show that at a fair ("boring").
There are groups of users who are especially interesting for the Linux community but who cannot be expected to visit an event like the LPD, e.g. politicians. Perhaps it is possible to have an LPD-like event for a few hours within a parliament. This would be more effort than having the normal LPD in their own rooms but it would catch media attention more easily and may help change the mind of people who make important IT decisions (or the foundation for IT decisions).
There are many computer users who are active in the Linux community online only. Even bigger online communities usually do not have the possibility to perform a normal LPD event because their members are spread over a large area.
The main goal of the LPD is to offer normal Windows users a simple approach to Linux. Except for the higher technical and organizational requirements there is no reason not to have an online event in parallel to the regular LPD.
Such an event would have several advantages:
The online event could reach Windows users who do not have a physical event in their area.
The online event could incorporate experienced Linux users who do not have a physical event in their area.
It would be easier this way to offer additional dates between the officla, big events.
There are good scale effects. There is a lot of work to start but after that you just need more helpers and server capacity.
It would not make sense that several online groups develop their own infrastructure for this. But groups might be unwilling to just offer helpers for another group's infrastructure. Thus the system should be open and well documented.
The process could look like this: First the online visitors watch a short introductory video about the most important differences between Linux and Windows. After that they could be offered additional short videos about different topics and after watching what is relevant to them they would reach the interactive area.
The interactive area could be divided in the possibilities
to ask questions (via chat, Mumble, phone)
to remote control a suitable system (or several in a row)
The option for remote controlling (and maybe even for asking questions) may be limited to those visitors who have seen the respective video(s) unless there are spare helper resouces.
In addition it would be an option (again: If there are no spare helper resources) to combine several visitors into one group and start new groups (with limited life span) in short intervals. Hearing the other ones' questions and the answers to them should save some time. The same effect should be expected for visitors watching someone else remote controlling a system. This may also be nice for rather shy people because they can stick to listening and watching.
If the Linux Presentation Day becomes even nearly as successful as can be expected then the current support capacity (especially for Linux installations) of the Linux user groups will not even be close to adequate. The LUGs will want to do something besides supporting Linux installations, too. Most LUGs do not meet weekly (this may change, though, and the LUGs will gain many more members).
It may become necessary to regularly (monthly) offer installfests. Like the LPD itself these events may use experiences Linux users as helpers who are not a member of the responsible organization. The LPD can be used for getting in touch with suitable Linux users (e.g. add them to a respective mailing list).
The Linux Presentation Day is Hauke Laging's idea (the first publishing in German) who was at that time and currently (2016-12) is a member of the board of Berlin's Linux users group (BeLUG). He is responsible for the LPD in Germany, the international expanding of the event, the international cooperation and the international web sites (linux-presentation-day.org). He can be reached at hauke.laging.
BeLUG does the financial handling of the event.
The local events in Germany and abroad are performed by organizations which are independent of BeLUG. So are the national organizing groups in other countries (which run their national web site).