29 Oct 2005 mbanck   » (Journeyer)

Systems 2005

Another year, another Systems. This year, however, sadly the first time without Jens, so organization was harder than usual. C&L again provided an Open Source area where we had a booth along with GNOME, KDE, the several BSDs, PostgreSQL and some smaller Open Source projects. As we were not able to build up the booth on Sunday already, there was only a pretty bad location left on Monday, facing towards the wall. Roland Stigge provided a huge 1,5 by 1,5 metre Debian swirl banner, which we mounted in the vicinity of the (too small for that) booth. Michael Ablassmeier brought a Shuttle PC and a TFT display so we could show visitors around the Debian desktop and point them towards further information on the internet. Credativ again kindly shipped posters and flyers. We sold the former and distributed the latter to passing visitors. Unfortunately, Credativ did not receive any LinuxTag DVDs this year, and we were unable to obtain some from other people (apparently they are spared for LinuxWorldExpo in Frankfurt next month, though most visitors there should know Debian already I guess), so we only had about 30 DVDs, which were left from the pack I took back from LinuxTag myself. We sold those for 2 EUR, and later distributed some shiny new Breezy CDs the GNOME booth acquired on Thursday and had some Sarge CDs pressed at a nearby CD production booth which we sold for 2 EUR as well.

After some initial doubts on whether we would be able to properly man the booth, it turned out that the local Debian community was enough to guarantee presence except for Friday morning. Michael Ablassmeier, Erich Schubert, Simon Richter, Roland Stigge and Rene Engelhard manned the booth besides me. So we were in the fortunate position that we had two people at the booth most of the time while shuffling around personnel, while most other booths were operated by the same one or two people throughout the week.

This year, almost all people I asked (I usually offered a flyer and asked "Do you know Debian already?" to all passing visitors, unless they quickly tried to run through our territory) knew about Debian at least somewhat, and surprisingly many people said they had Debian installed and were happy with it. Thanks to the Sarge release and the almost-official amd64 archive (the respective lack of which were by far the most prominent questions last year), we had almost no recurring questions to answer; probably the most frequent question was about Ubuntu and our relationship with it, but those were pretty scarce and I expected much more of that. Likewise, only very few people were unhappy about Debian (far outweighed by the happy bunch), and most of that seemed to be due to specific technical issues rather than any general reservations about the Debian development or community processes. Most of the remaining questions were pretty specific, e.g. people having issues installing Debian on their hardware or trying to do some exotic stuff.

To summarize, it was a nice having a booth again and getting in touch with visitors and users. I did not see much else of Systems this year due to being busy with university as well, but I do not think it would have been worth it anyway. Murray Cumming and Joerg Kress (who were managing the GNOME booth) helped me dismantle the booth and carry back the hardware and leftovers on Friday evening and we decided to have dinner together at a nice pub in Munich.

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