[SFD-TC] Canberra SFD Event Report

David Symons david.symons at liberatedcomputing.net
Sun Sep 10 23:38:03 EDT 2006


Hi all,

We had our SFD event last Saturday (9/9) so hopefully this report of
our experiences will help some of you with your event.  The setting
was a stall at a computer market held in a former Bus Depot building
in Kingston, a suburb of Canberra, Australia.  We will have some
photos up at some stage.

Our setup was 2 tables with 4 demonstration PCs plus room for CDs and
leaflets.  It was backed with a banner with the Software Freedom Day
logo (blown up to a series of A3 landscape printouts taped together)
and lots of FOSS logos (A3 and A4 sized) on it.  We had a team of
nine, seven of us had the Orange T-Shirts on.  I have put the text of
our leaflet at:
http://www.softwarefreedomday.org/teams/oceania/au/canberra/2006/Leaflet

Demonstration PCs were running Xubuntu (on an older PC -
Celeron466Mhz/128Mb), Gentoo, Ubuntu and a piping hot off the press
Kororaa 0.3 pre-release which the Kororaa devs (who live in Canberra)
finished for us at 2am that morning an dropped over (Thanks guys!).

The general method was to approach people that seemed to take an
interest in the stall, initiate a chat about Software Freedom and
their own experiences with FOSS and offer them a CD or two with a copy
of our leaflet.  In 4.5 hours we distributed:

- 250 leaflets
- 100 copies of TheOpenCD 3.1 (ran out - could have distributed ~30 more)
- 170 Ubuntu i386
- 8 Ubuntu 64bit
- 9 Ubuntu PPC
- 44 Gentoo 2006.1 i386
- 24 Gentoo 2006.1 64bit
- 22 Novell SUSE Demo DVDs

Some thoughts about the event.  Firstly, Positives:

- A lot of people stopped to take an interest. It wasn't like we were
some shunned store.

- The awareness level of Linux was good. (or course a computer market
does bring a ready-filtered audience of people with at least a passing
interest in computers).

- A lot of people were interested in trying a LiveCD just to see what
it was like.

- A lot of people had tried Linux, and even if they had given up at
the time, were willing to try again.  Not sure about the other team
members but my approach was to assure such people that the user
experience (particularly hardware support) has improved markedly in
recent times.

- Running the Elephants Dream movie as a demonstration seemed to work
quite well as an attention grabber.  We didn't run it but Celestia has
an excellent demo as well.

- We felt we did a good job of presenting concept of software freedom.

- The OpenCD was very popular. As were the leaflets.

- Many people were looking for alternatives to avoid SpyWare/Viruses.

- Having someone at the markets entrance to point out our stand and
hand out the leaflet worked really well.

- The T-Shirts did set us apart from the other stalls and conveyed a
message that we were something a bit different.

Negatives:

- We offered doing installs but there were no takers - not many people
had complete systems on them.  This was probably a promotional issue.
We didn't start organising our event until quite late and the move to
a week earlier made things tougher.  Also, knowing that the markets
would bring in a ready-made audience made it possible to be lazy about
it.  A standalone event would be a very different matter.

- (relevant to Australia) Awareness of Copyright Amendment (TPM) bill
and its implications was quite low.  Given it probably just came out
this is to be expected.

- Some people still might have seen us as a store.  A front sign
saying "Free Stuff" might have helped but could also have meant people
just blowing by and helping themselves without a chance for us to
communicate our message.

- Our demonstrations could have been a little better.  Kororaa was
excellent, as was Elephants Dream, but possibly having 'live' demos of
everyday usage (email/web/office) would have been good too.  We lacked
an Internet connection which made that hard to achieve unless more
organised.  Showing IRC support channels in action would also be good
imo.

Interesting:

- Demographics - a lot of people there were aged over 40.  Though
again, nearly everyone had come to a computer market, not to a SFD
event specifically.

- A lot of people expressed an interest in putting an old machine to
better use (eg. as a backup server) or an old laptop.
__

All in all an excellent day that we all feel very satisfied with.

All the best for your own event!!!

Cheers, Dave.
-- 
David Symons
Canberra, Australia
http://www.liberatedcomputing.net




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