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Linux Presentation Day

the idea

our sponsor:

Logo LinuxHotel Essen

 

aims

side effects

organisational aspects

several hosting organisations, locations and events per year

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.

on the same day

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.

simple organising – several small locations per (large) city

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).

locations of the first LPD in Berlin

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:

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.

wide autonomy of the locations

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.

distribution of resources

In order to participate an organisation needs:

  1. a suitable location

  2. enough computers

  3. enough staff

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.

content / agenda

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.

problems

announcement

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:

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.

extensions of the concept

Business Linux Presentation Day (BLPD)

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:

Linux Presentation Day – on tour

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).

Online Linux Presentation Day –

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:

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

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.

frequent installfests –

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).

Who is organizing the LPD?

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).

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