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Freedom is contagious.

Software Freedom Day Post-Event Report!

The Good:
We handed out a good number of Ubuntu CDs (about 25) and GatorLUG brochures. We installed Ubuntu on two laptops and explained the virtues of open source to many who had never heard of it or who only had a fuzzy conception of what it was.

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The Display and Booth:
Many thanks go to Allen for printing our display and to Collins family for providing us with a board. The display was a very nice size and attention-getting. Clint's pretty Mythbox and Jim's TV also garnered much interest and demonstrated the versatility of free software. The team got to watch the Colbert Report and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for entertainment ;).

We also had Hendrik's Macbook-running-Gentoo and John's/Nile's Sharp-running-Debian on display. The Macbook was primarily to let people play around and the Sharp was hooked up to Pug's LCD monitor and played some Linux ads from Redhat and IBM in a randomized loop.

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What We Can Do Better Next Time:
This was our first Software Freedom Day event. Next year, we'll have a much better idea of what we'll be doing and it'll be smoother. The Books-a-Million location was less-than-great primarily because of the lack of foot traffic. The Oaks Mall would be a much better location for next year, as lots of people just browse and hang out. Lack of internet access at BAM was a huge drawback, as well.

I'd like to see a greater focus on letting people play around with some software. On the one hand, Gaim, Firefox, and Thunderbird aren't very exciting to play around with when you don't have internet access, so we can blame BAM ;). But we (and I, in particular) were also under-prepared. We didn't have any games for people to play with, we didn't show off the Gimp, we didn't have an XGL/Compiz-whizbang-eye-candy demonstration. This will be much better next year!

I think a display with more information on it would be good for the more shy passers-by to read. Again, with better organization we'll be able to put together a nicer display next time.

Another good idea is to have a loose "script" or set of talking points prepared. This would make it easier to approach and talk to random passers-by.

This group in New Zealand did a great job with their SFD event:
http://softwarefreedomday.org/gallery/2006/gallery/2006/oceania/nz/hamilton
They had a girl in a penguin coustume attract attention. They got lots of foot traffic by holding their event in a mall. They had lots of table space to hold multiple demo computers.

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Other Ideas:
Gavin suggested that it'd be perfectly feasible to do an SFD-type event more often - perhaps once a month or once every other month. If we can install Linux on two or three computers every month, and each of those people shares Linux with their friends and families, it adds up quickly. We may do it at the Farmers' Market downtown, or on campus, or at a public library, or alternate between those locations to reach a wider audience. It also gives us a reason to get together and and be geeks.

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Much thanks to everyone who came! Especially to Gavin for organizing us and driving the event, Clint and Jim for bringing the heavy equipment, Pug for documenting the event with video and pictures, Eldo and Gavin and Pug for painting the wall, and Jim for designing the GatorLUG brochure and SFD fliers.

yrs,
nile+john