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Report from the Educ@tice 2005 even in Paris, France

From November 23rd to November 25th, Raphaël Hertzog and Christian Perrier
held a Debian booth at the Educ@tice expo in Paris, France.

Educ@tice was part of the Educatec trade show, The Educational and
Training Equipment, Systems, Products and Services Trade Show, itself
part of the "Salon de l'Éducation" (trade show related to all
education topics: the major trade show in the education world in

The Debian project was invited as part of the Free Software booth
("Logiciels libres: une solution pour l'éducation", standing for "Free
software: a solution for education").

This finally prove to be a very good occasion to give a better
visibility to the Debian project in an event which is not a
traditional "Linux" or "Free software" event.

Raphaël and Christian had numerous discussions and opportunities to
present the role of the Debian project as the main ground of the vast
majority of specialized Free Software projects for education such as
Skolelinux, SLIS ("Serveur Linux pour l'Internet Scolaire", standing
for "Linux servers for school Internet"), SambaEdu, Abuledu and various other

The major attendance to the booth were various people involved in the
French education system (school teachers, professors, members of
colleges and high school staffs, some visitors from foreign countries
education organizations). We are only missing M. Gilles de Robien, the
French Ministry for Education, who quickly "ran" near the Free Software
pavillion with no stop (either at Debian or any ofther Free Software

Our main task was explaining all those people what is a Linux
distribution, the place of Debian among the many Free Operating
Systems and what actually makes the Debian project somewhat unique.

Out booth was twinned with the Schlossgul/Skolelinux-fr booth.
Schlossgul (http://www.schlossgul.org) is a non-profit organization
from Forbach, in north-easterm France (Close to Metz and Saarbrücken
in Germany). Associated with the "Fondation Emmaüs", they built a
project based on recycled hardware reconditioned by the members of the
Emmaüs community and setup with Skolelinux associated with a companion
CD of their own, featuring French educational free software.

Schlossgul demonstrated a Skolelinux network which had a big success
with the expo visitors. The interaction between Debian and Skolelinux
was explained numerous times. We also had long and interesting
discussions with Thierry Stauder, who leads this project. They
desperately need the help of some Debian developers both for technical
advices and for helping them integrate their work in Debian
itself. This means integrating their packages but also integrating
their groundwork in the Debian-Edu infrastructure.

The whole expo was also a great occasion for us to have exchanges with
all Debian-based educational projects presented around. Most of these
projects, such as Abulédu (http://www.abuledu.org), Ofset
(http://www.ofset.org), SLIS (http://slis.ac-grenoble.fr/), SambaEdu
(http://www.crdp.ac-caen.fr/se3/) are very interested in more
interaction with the Debian project.

As a consequence of these discussions, we will probably try to make
more work in getting several very interesting free educational
software in the main Debian archive, either by mentoring some of their
developers or by triggering more interest by existing French

Feel free to contact us if you're interested to help in that area.

We made the choice of distributing installation CD's for the Ubuntu
operating system because most visitors are completely unfamiliar with
Linux and also because this is a very efficient way to explain how
Debian and Ubuntu interact together (not forgetting the various points
that both projects have to improve). Frankly speaking, this was also
motivated by not having free Debian CD's to distribute in an event
where selling CD's would probably have been inappropriate.

This operation was very successful (as always when giving away free
CD's, though), and we ran out of CD's in the middle of the second day
of the expo while we had 200 of them kindly sent by Ubuntu. We also
ran out of the 30 Sarge DVD we had to give away in less than one day.

Raphaël and Christian will be happy to hear about reactions (and
criticisms...) about this choice, from the members of the Debian

We think we made our best to explain how Debian is the ground of all
other projects, which in our opinion is a very efficient way to give
our project more recognition outside of our traditional community.

We would like to thank the organizers of the Educ@tice trade show for
setting up a Free Software Pavillion, Yves Potin and the "Centre
Régional de Documentation Pédagogique de Versailles" who coordinated
the Free Software pavillion. A "rendez-vous" is already setup for
Educ@tice 2006 for yet another Debian booth there.

On vous retrouvera à Educ@tice 2006 ! (See you at Educ@tice 2006)

Raphaël Hertzog (hertzog@debian.org)
Christian Perrier (bubulle@debian.org)


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