On September 18th and 19th of 2004 the U of A student group Liberating Students Digitally (LSD) held an on campus InstallFest. On the 21st ELN's Bruce Sass asked their VP External, Chris Quilley, about it…
The InstallFest went incredibly well.
We had WAY more attendance than we were expecting. We did 22 installs and had many more people come through on Friday to check out the displays. We had slightly less people coming through Saturday, but still had many people. I would peg our attendance levels somewhere near 100 people over the two days and probably closer to 130-150ish.
SuSE, Slackware, Gentoo and Fedora Core were the ones requested. We had Mandrake available and a bunch of other distros, but no bites. I think we even did a Yellow Dog Linux install, or are working on getting one going because two people wanted to try it but our PPC Linux guy wasn't around at the time.
We had only two guys come in looking for help with existing systems. We had a couple of guys who had tried Linux before and wanted to try it again, but overall it was mostly new users who were getting installs.
Many of the people that showed up but were not getting systems installed had previous installs. A bunch of people from #edmonton-lug showed up on the second day and various sys admins from the university showed up to check it out as well.
We had access to the net via the university's connection. On the second day we tried to setup our own personal network using a 10/100 managed Cisco switch lent to us by Daniel from #edmonton-lug. The hardware for demos was all supplied by LSD members such as David Grelli, Mike Edwards, Adam Wolfe Gordon and myself. Kees Den Hartig supplied the net connection, he is a sys admin for the university.
Lots of stuff. The first one is always a good learning experience;) We would make users do a usage survey before we installed so we could weed out the people needing their modems activated and other potential issues. We would do our own network and have a machine setup with FTP and mirrors of most of the major distributions. We were supposed to have that this time but Charlie's machine got fried by the power outages and he couldn't come out to the InstallFest. I'd do more advertising at other institutions like NAIT and Grant MacEwan. I'd try and get on as K-Rock's cause of the day to get advertising there. I wouldn't schedule the people who are supposed to be organizing it (Myself and Mike Edwards primarily) as installers or greeters so we could float around more and make sure things are going smoothly. I'd arrive earlier to setup the demo machines. We arrived with an hour to setup before the InstallFest was supposed to start but we got swamped at about 9:45 AM and didn't get the demo machines setup quite right the entire day because of it.
Absolutely. I may not be organizing it again, but LSD definitely will be putting on InstallFests. We will almost certainly put one on at the same time next year and there is talk of doing another one at the end of the winter term (March-ish)
ADVERTISE! The whole purpose of doing an InstallFest is to raise Linux awareness. Be creative where you advertise because places like the ELUG mailing list are not good advertising locations. You don't capture any of the market you should be targeting, which is new users.
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