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DebConf11 Events BoF, report!

This is the report of the Events BoF [2][3]. I am sorry for the delay, but the latest days at DebConf11 were quite intense for me, between the merchandise handling and the proposal for DebConf13 in Switzerland. And the week after DebConf11 I took a pause and enjoyed RL :-)

Hi there!

Please reply to the debian-publicity@ mailing list [1], it is the
discussion list for anything related to the Events team (R-T and M-F-T
set accordingly), TIA.

[1]

This is the report of the Events BoF [2][3]. I am sorry for the delay,
but the latest days at DebConf11 were quite intense for me, between the
merchandise handling and the proposal for DebConf13 in Switzerland. And
the week after DebConf11 I took a pause and enjoyed RL :-)

[2]
[3]

First of all, the BoF was divided into two parts: I explained again what
the Events team does and where. These were basically the same
information available on the wiki [4] and there were no big surprise
here, except a HUGE remark about (ab)using the email address [5] for
notifications…

[4]
[5]

Then, I moved to the DebConf11 ToDo list [6], which actually got more
attention and people started to interact.

[6]

Most of the people agreed about adding minor events (AKA simple talks)
to the web page [7]: Francesca is already working on it and this should
be fixed soon, also deprecating the “some talks” page [8] (IMHO not so
visible).

[7]
[8]

Speaking of talks, we really need a way to search in the event/talk
list, it is impossible that in 2011 we still oblige our users to go
through yearly subpages.

Just before the BoF Annette told me about the GriCal portal [9]: we
should find a way to work together with them to avoid duplication of
event submissions and sharing of the main events. Francesca, this could
be the F/LOSS “schedule/calendar” we were looking for, not forgetting
the French-speaking “Agenda du Libre” [10]…

[9]
[10]

Another agreement was that those pages, especially the ones related to
setup a booth, need a re-factoring: the best thing would probably be to
send a “Call for Help” on the debian-publicity@ mailing list [1] after
having someway planned how the new pages should be organized. Some work
can be done independently of those pages, like the merchandise stuff,
given that it has its own space on www.d.o [11] (but check #613832
[12]). We should probably move the information on a subpage, which is
also easier to maintain.

[11]
[12]

Before going into details about the booth novelties, let me explain the
two last points.

First, for the mailing list, the idea would be to still use the
already-established debian-events-$SOMETHING [13] mailing list for
coordination, with a “new” mailing list for announcement only (both
minor and major events). This should be a restricted-posting mailing
list (probably Events and Press membership only): its aim is to provide
email notifications whenever a new event is added to the website. A
parallel approach would be to duplicate the announcements on Planet
Debian, but these points must be coordinated with the Publicity team.

[13] $SOMETHING is variable, sometime we have one $LOCALE (-nl), one
$CONTINENT (-eu) and two $SUBCONTINENT (-na and -saff).

Second, the merchandise stuff, something that goes beyond the simple
webpage [11]. Beside its re-organization, we should find a better way
to show what is available *at least* from the Debian Trusted
Organizations [14]. The simplest way would be to have a sort of
“virtual” shop, also useful for booth organization. In an ideal world,
this would be the “complete” stock of all Debian merchandising from
Trusted Organizations, “managed” by the Events team (do not panic,
strong words chosen on purpose). Nothing has been done in this respect
apart from my wishful thinking and discussions with various people,
including the Debian Auditors [15]. Nevertheless, we agreed on using
the events.d.n address [16] for all our tests, as soon as Andreas will
free the DNS entry ;-)

[14]
[15]
[16]

Then, I moved to the main topic and also my primary goal for this
DebConf11: the Debian Events Box [17]. Taking the example from the
GNOME project [18], booth organizers will receive a parcel with all the
*minimal* material for the booth, i.e.:

- 1x demo PC, already configured to run BabelBox [19] and other stuff
- 1x 17″ LCD
- 1x keyboard/mouse
- 1x Wi-Fi AP with a 4-port hub, already configured
- 2+ power strips with worldwide adapter
- various network/VGA/USB cables
- 2 Kensington-compatible locks
- lockable cash box
- debian-flyers and other print advertising
- T-Shirts/labels for the booth staff

[17]
[18]
[19]

Mostly if not all the people who have already organized a booth agreed
on the box content, especially WRT the demo PC. Including a reaflet
rack as well as a rollup poster holder would be even better, but because
of dimension constraints it would be quite difficult, thus the need for
a second “complementary” box was brought to the attention (anyway needed
for further merchandise).

The point which warmed the discussion was about having “uniformed”
T-Shirts or labels for the booth staff. The intention is to try to
solve a common problem at various events: there is no way to identify
the booth organizers, especially when the booth is crowded and/or
various people not always “officially” listed are helping out.
Different people underlined the major problem with this approach:
categorization. Both parties explained their pros/cons, but no final
decision was taken, anyway and for sure this point will generate even
more discussions in the future,

In any case, something that must be said is that any material in the box
is *not* an obligation: the box is nothing more than a guideline, but
the organizers are free to use or not the material included. I, for
myself, would prefer to have *more* choice and to be obliged to say “no,
thanks” than dreaming of something missing…

We would like to have one box available in Europe for events starting
already in September: the demo PC is the biggest choice, given that it
must support hardware virtualization and having as much disk space as
possible (a full mirror for the specific architecture is welcome).
After having discussed with Axel Beckert about his EeeBox PC (also used
to test the Pelicase PL-1650 capacity) we were quite confident in this
product. This was until we discovered that none of the options
available mounts CPUs with hardware virtualization, i.e. one of the
latest Intel Atom E (the best) or Z line, but none of them with 64-bit
instructions [20]. This is the major showstopper ATM, given our need to
evaluate other options (hint: advice needed!).

[20]

The Debian Events Box [17] will be the main force behind the creation of
at least a debian-events-box package and even more from the same source,
the Debian Events Package [21]. While the former will contain all the
tools needed to administer the demo PC, the biggest plan is to include
all the event/marketing/merchandise material produced in the past. The
first candidates would be the debian-flyers [22] and the already-used
T-Shirts logos [23].

[21]
[22]
[23]

In the end, I consider both the DebCamp11 and the BoF as successful:
despite not having big results (unfortunately we were quite late to show
a functional Debian Events Box [17]…) we interacted with various
people, thus improving our visibility and grabbing experiences/ideas to
improve our work. The fact that some people were present at both the
Publicity [24] and Events [2] BoFs showed that our choice of being a
subgroup inside the Publicity Team was correct. It was privately
suggested to organize a “publicity” track for the next DebConfs, also
including other side events like the Wiki BoF [25] or the WWW [26] talk.

[24]
[25]
[26]

With such a lot of work ahead of us, especially about restructuring the
event pages and defining a detailed procedure for booth management, let
me state again that anyone interested in such topics should join the
effort. And, once again, please feel free to (ab)use the events@d.o
email address [5] for any notification, suggestion or comment :-D

On behalf of the Events team.

Thx, bye,
Gismo / Luca

One Response to “DebConf11 Events BoF, report!” »

  1. Pingback by Twitted by DhilipSiva_linx — August 9, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    [...] This post was Twitted by DhilipSiva_linx [...]

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