09 December 2014

Last weekend, I’ve attended FAD Rheinland 2014, the annual event where Fedora Ambassadors from EMEA meet and discuss the budget for next year, swag ideas and most importantly (at least form my POV), what to do differently to bring more users to Fedora.

Apart form meeting old and new friends, having fun together and discovering a fantastic board/card game called The Saboteur (go get it now!), there were some ideas I want to share with others.

(I’m writing this on a train from Brno to Prague, so expect a lot of typos.)

Focus on different events, bring non-Ambassadors from Fedora

For years, we’ve been attending events like FOSDEM, LinuxTag and other Linux and free software specific conferences and meet-ups. As Fedora we need to have a booth on such events and we’ll have to continue to be there, to show others Fedora is still here. However, I don’t think (and there were others with the same opinion), that we’ll get any new users to Fedora doing it. Most of the visitors there already have their favorite Linux distro and I don’t think that we can do much on the booth that would convince them change their minds.

Based on Fedora.NEXT target audience (have a look at Christoph’s slides (I’ll add link ASAP)), we’ve agreed that we have to visit other types of events as well. General developer conferences (focusing on some topic, such as Python, Perl, Android, …), maker events (promote 3D printing in Fedora, etc.), barcamps, gaming cons. However, for most of us, this is stepping out of our comfort zone. Most Ambassadors are not experts in those fields. You cannot expect a random Fedora Ambassador to go to a Python dev meet-up in his/hers area and speak about why Fedora is good for Pythonists (well, we have dome ambassadors who could, but not all of them).

So we would like to “reach in” for people who knows their stuff and bring them to events to promote Fedora. The idea is something like:

  1. Bob, the Fedora Ambassador, finds out there’s an event related to XYZ topic in his area and thinks we might promote Fedora there.
  2. However, Bob knows nothing (or little) about XYZ, but finds out in Fedora, we have a working group or SIG that focuses on XYZ or related stuff, so Bob writes an e-mail to their mailing list informing about the event and saying he wants a booth personal or speaker. Bob can allocate money to pay for the trip, accommodation and entrance fee if necessary.
  3. Anna is a Fedora contributor, who focuses mainly on XYZ and lives near the area. She would love to go, but she has no idea how to run a booth or how to get sponsored form Fedora. Luckily Bob can help her.
  4. Both Anna and Bob go to the event. Anna can promote XYZ in Fedora, Bob can answer general questions about Fedora Anna might not know the answer.

We think this might work well, because a lot of people form inside Fedora would love to go to such events, but does not have money to afford it and has no idea how would Fedora pey for them. The problem might be, how to find out what group form Fedora focuses on XYZ, but Bob can ask on the Ambassadors mailing list for help and some other Ambassadors might know.

Some of my ideas for events in the Czech Republic:

  • 3dexpo (3D printing event, we’ve been there, but Vojta on the booth is no expert in 3D printing)
  • barcamp Brno, Hradec Králové, Ostrava…
  • aDev Meetup (Android development, promote DevAssistant)
  • Pyvo (Python meetups, we have Fedorains there, but we don’t promote Fedora)
  • Model Hobby (a gigantic plastic modellers convention)

Stop producing DVDs and produce flyers instead

DVDs, at least in Europe, are obsolete. I don’t have a DVD drive. You don’t have it. The users don’t have it. Or at least they won’t, soon. We should stop producing DVDs with Fedora. But we cannot just stop, we need a replacement.

There are visitors on events asking for DVDs. They collect them, or they take them and trash them later. If we say we have no DVDs (as sometimes, we just don’t, because there are no more), they are sad and go grab another DVD (with Ubuntu).

The idea was to produce Fedora USB sticks, but it much more expensive than DVDs. No way of producing so much sticks as we produce DVDs now. I’ve (together with others, including Jaroslav Řezník) had an idea to produce flyers that look like DVD sleeve - so we can put them on the boot and it looks like a DVD. If the cover is hard enough, the visitors might even think they are getting a DVD, unless they look inside. It should be a booklet shaped flyer with the following information:

  • “Where is the DVD” section (describing DVDs are deprecated and are replaced with QR code)
  • “What is Fedora” section
  • Fedora products (Workstation, Server, Cloud) descriptions (and now we are not supposed to call this products anymore)
  • “What’s new in Fedora 22” (23, 24…)

And alternatively have some flyers for specific events and have a page about XYZ. The flyers might also be localized.

The problems with flyers is, that they cannot look cheap. Otherwise the visitors might as well get the idea that we are doing this to save money. And we, the Ambassadors, cannot design them, we need the design team to do it. And as I’ve heard, there are open tickets in the design trac for flyers for years without a response :( Last propper flyer we had was Fedora Core 4 (or something like that). We had Fedora Cloud flyers in the recent past, but nobody seems to like them anyway.

I hope that the transfer from FAmSCo to FOSCo that covers Ambassadors, Design and Marketing will bring us easier cooperation.


There has been more. You can see the raw notes from the event and there should be the meeting minutes, but i cannot find them. And don’t forget to get The Saboteur :D

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