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LinuxExpo report, Day 1


First, I've got photos of the day at LinuxExpo.  They're all either
1280x960 or 1024x768 JPEGs; by the time you read this or shortly
thereafter, they'll be up on my website at:


Well, yesterday was the first day at LinuxExpo.  I arrived at the show 
at 8:30 to help set up before the booth opened at 10, but the Expo
folks didn't give me an exhibitor's badge at first, so they didn't let 
me in until 10.  Found out later than half our group had exhibitors'
badges listing us as being from "Ashville, NC" -- apparently either
Ashville has a large collection of Debian developers (I for one was
amused to find out that I lived there) or LinuxExpo has trouble
comprehending that Debian has no city with headquarters :-)

Yesterday was a good day here at the LinuxExpo.  James LewisMoss will
know better than I, but I believe that we gave out 200 sets of
binary-i386 CDs, and 100 sets each of Sparc and Alpha CDs.  We also
started handing out the source sets in the afternoon, and lots of
people promised to come by first thing in the morning when we'd have a 
fresh supply of them.

We have a standard-size area here; at times, we had 10 or 15 people in 
it; things got a bit crammed :-)  Shaleh was installing Debian on
laptops for folks, and so he had several of those going on the floor
opposite our table.  The rest of us were talking to people that came
by, or else alternating turning up or down the volume on the mp3s that 
were playing.

We're situated between the FSF/Slashdot and Linux International
booths, directly across the aisle from the Gnome booth.  We still
haven't figured out what the people in the Gnome booth were doing,
although it looks suspiciously like they were napping on their leather 
sofas, while we were plotting how to steal our second chair back from
the Slashdot crowd :-)

As far as visitors go, here are the comments/questions I heard a lot:

 * "What makes Debian unique?"
   This was probably the #1 question.  I did a lot of explaining about
   how we're non-profit, how our development model leads to higher
   quality, etc.
 * "How did you get here?"
   The ones that parsed the above explanation wanted to know how we
   managed to get here.  We explained that we paid our own way, the
   booth was donated, and Dres kindly purchased carpeting and other
   miscellaneous expenses.  People were either quite impressed with
   our dedication or else a bit scared by it :-)
 * "You guys are awesome."
   I spoke to several people running ISPs or something on Debian;
   many dropped by just to say "thanks" for the great OS.
 * "WOW" (after reading our high-tech map with pinpoint accuracy)
 * "Huh?" (also after reading the same map)
 * "dselect is <bad word here>"
   Lots of people hate dselect.
 * "dselect is awesome!  (but the keys are strange)"
   A few really like it but somehow don't like the keystrokes.
 * "Do you have potato on CDs?"
   Alas, no.
 * "Those CDs are FREE?!"
   Yes.  They are.  It's Free Software!
 * "When's the next release?"

After they kicked us out of the expo area (about half an hour after it 
closed), we all moved over to the "IBM free beer/food/soft drinks"
area with the loud band.  Sat around for awhile, talked about how
silly it is to complain about the BTS nag messages, and chatted with a 
newspaper editor and his MS-land friend about how Debian works, how
the hacker culture functions, why we do this, and why businesses would 
want to turn to Debian for an OS.

John Goerzen   Linux, Unix consulting & programming   jgoerzen@complete.org |
Developer, Debian GNU/Linux (Free powerful OS upgrade)       www.debian.org |
Remote from the Debian booth at Linux Expo

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