Ubuntu at Non-Technical Events

We seem to be quite good at turning up to technical events such as LUG meetings, technical conferences and other self-organised events and telling everyone how great Ubuntu is. However we seem to spend a lot of time preaching to the converted, speaking to people who already run Ubuntu or some other distro, rather than ‘converting’ people who have little or no exposure to Ubuntu.

Amber Graner recently wrote about her experience evangelising and advocating at a local Goat Festival. She was also interviewed about this on the Full Circle Magazine podcast recently.

When I heard about this it made me think that it’s something we should think about. Not specifically Goat festivals, but non-technical events. I wanted to canvass the group to see what events people might want to have a presence at. I’m not (at this point) asking for volunteers, but just ideas of events where people go and we might be able to have a stand where we could talk to people about Ubuntu and how they might want to use it.

These could be non-technical business events, they might relate to a specific sector such as education, or they could be cultural events like festivals. Anything goes really. I’ll start the ball rolling with a fairly generic example that pretty much anyone here can do:-

Village Fêtes

These attract families from all walks of life, and would be a great opportunity to have a public stand at little or no cost to run. Other attractions could include simple games (always popular at Fêtes) with prizes perhaps donated by community members, sponsors or (if willing/possible) Canonical. With summer coming it would be a great opportunity to get geeks outside in the sunshine and show off what we have to offer.

What events local to you would you like to see a stand at?

Also posted on the UK LoCo mailing list, so some responses may appear there too.

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18 thoughts on “Ubuntu at Non-Technical Events”

        1. http://spreadubuntu.neomenlo.org/ has some leaflets along with source so you can tailor them for your own event, which is cool!

          Most LoCos around the world manage without someone else providing additional resources. It’s amazing what each LoCo comes up with. Some get sponsorship from local companies or friends of their LoCo. Others just get by on favours and gifts.

          Of course it’s possible to apply to Canonical for CDs and approved LoCos get additional resources too, but I don’t think LoCo teams should _rely_ on Canonical. If every LoCo team ran events all over their country, we’d quickly bankrupt Canonical. Not a viable business model.

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  1. 2 ideas:
    Fresher’s Fairs
    Farmer’s Markets. Our local farmer’s market always has one stall available for free to charities, but I don’t think any aspect of the Ubuntu structure/organisation is an affiliated UK charity??

  2. Just a thought: if you are trying to modernize image and reach out to new prospective converts, I would suggest thinking at a more macro-level at a few international profile events with underlying objectives.

    Cannes Advertising Festival / AdAge awards / – net-stations set up for all their attendees. (Whilst the brand/advertising community tends to be mac converts, they deal with clients with responsibility at their core: if you market the space well, then opportunities to get free exposure or even have your marketing paid by other brands will start coming to you.ie at a Virgin Concert or GE Responsibility Conference and often they will pay for the correct brand alignment)

    Davos – talk to Head of Africa about being computer-stations for visiting delegates to convert on government head level/educational front.

  3. I displayed for two days at Wallingford Bunkfest last year, in the Craft Tent. Blessed with good weather too, it was very enjoyable and fairly successful. The display was under the Infopoint banner, inspired by Jono Bacon’s computer fairs initiative some years ago. (I display regularly at Bracknell Computer Fair). However, the display is very Ubuntu centric. Apart from the time and effort involved, significant issues for such events are 1) Public liability insurance or lack of, and 2) negotiating acceptance by the organisers as a non profit, community based item rather than a sales arm of a commercial business. Being labelled as a business not a community item has affected the Ubuntu Loco display arrangements at London Olympia MAC/Linux live I recall.
    An exclusive Ubuntu display is easily misinterpreted by ‘onlookers’ as a retail business, leading to incorrect assumptions.
    Photo: Wallingford Bunkfest 2009 Craft Tent
    I would be happy to share leaflets and experiences with those interested, and also join a uk marketing advocacy group if one exists.

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