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Report from this years CeBIT, Linux New Media Award nearly won ;)

Hi! We were again given the opportunity to represent the Debian Project at this years’ CeBIT, one of biggest IT-related exhibitions, which took place last week in Hanover, Germany.

This year we were guests at the booth of Univention, a German company
basing their products upon Debian, in exhibition hall 2, near one of the
main entrances of the exhibition. While I must say that we had less
visitors (an overall trend at this year), the quality of questions asked
was far better than previously. This also left time to look out for old
friends, such as the LiMux people or Thomas Krenn, whom we of course
thanked for their recent donation. It was also nice to meet with the
people of the Perl booth in real life. Being a first timer at CeBIT
they had asked us for advice, and it was nice to see that their booth
run pretty well. On request of our sysadmins, we also went to the Bind
people in order to get some contact information for some dnssec things.
They where very pleased, and — thinking about recent problems with the
introduction of dnssec of another bigger Linux Distribution — offered
to step by and help us doing it the proper way. They will soon contact
us at our project mailing list.

Even though our presence there was settled (and announced) on quite
short notice, many visitors stepped by, some asking interesting
questions (e.g. about our Sparc port and 32-bit issues) but most people
just came by to thank us. We didn’t count them, but there were many!

So we would like to forward the thanks of a huge amount of people to
you! Thanks for your good work and keep up the good work!

Some more common topics were the differences between (Open)SuSE and
Debian and why we rebranded Firefox to Iceweasel. Oh, and of course
when KDE 4.4.x will be uploaded to our unstable branch. Thankfully the
KDE Team had expected that question, and informed us about their plans
in advance.

Last but not least, many questions where asked about our Debian
GNU/kFreeBSD port, even before I did my two talks about it. The
questions about that topic ranged from “Does it support XEN?” to “Do you
want to replace the Linux Kernel?” and of course related to the
possibility of using ZFS with Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. Some visitors asked
about our relationship to the FreeBSD people, and what they think about
our port. I must confess, that I wasn’t prepared for that question. I
think our relationship is good. The BSD people invited Axel Beckert to
speak about the port in their Developer Room at the recent FOSDEM, so I
think they are interested in it.

Another hot topic was of course our release process. Many people came
by to ask when we will release, and some even complained about us
starting to release in two / half year intervals. Which is of course
bullsh*t, but let’s take it as another indicator that we should
communicate these things more clearly.

On Thursday the Linux New Media Award was awarded in different
categories. For those not aware of the LNM Award, it is given away by a
jury of over 200 people from wider open source community, open source
business, and journalists. This year the Debian project was nominated
in the category “outstanding contribution to Linux / Open Source”, which
is considered the king’s class of the categories. Sadly I must inform
you that we didn’t win the prize. We came in second only beaten by the
Linux Kernel itself, which by nature made an outstanding contribution to
itself ;) But I have been told, that it was only a slim majority for
the Linux Kernel.

Finally I would like to thank some people, who made it possible for us
to represent Debian. First to mention is Univention, namely Peter
Ganten and Alice Horstmann, who accepted us as one of their
sub-exhibitors at their booth. Considering that we only asked them two
weeks before the CeBIT started, they did a really great job of
integrating us in the booth so well. Also thanks to the “normal”,
paying sub-exhibitors at the booth, who gave us a warm welcome, and to
Mr. Umminger from the Messe AG, who cut the normal sub-exhibitor fees
down to a sixth of the normal fees and made it affordable.

I would also like to thank the kFreeBSD people for all the help we got,
especially for Axel Beckert for allowing me to steal his slides for my
talk. Cyril Brulebois for the his help with the graphical installer,
Joey for the fast approval of some money to print flyer’s, the German
national library of science and technology for the hardware, and
Univention, again for their great catering service ;)

And of course special thanks to Jörg Jaspert, Rene Stegmaier, Meike
Reichle, Dirk Meyer and Uli Martens for volunteering (well, more or
less) to help us staff the booth!

Best regards,
Alexander

PS: Also thanks to John Goerzen for proofreading my en_DE and removing
zillions of comma :)

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