October 29, 2009

Florida Linux Show

Article Source Fedora Community
October 29, 2009, 5:30 pm

Max Spevack writes:

The Fedora presence at any given event can vary greatly, depending on the rationale for attending the event.

At one end of the spectrum is something like a FUDCon or a FAD — an event that is entirely Fedora-focused, and that will usually have a significant getting-stuff-done theme, whether it is development, design, documentation, packaging, or testing.

In the middle of the specturm are the events that we target in different regions of the world that have a pretty signficant Fedora presence. Events like FOSDEM, FISL, Southeast Linux Fest, or Utah Open Source Conference — we typically have a Fedora booth, a bunch of Ambassadors organizing the event, and a number of other contributors who are speaking, participating in a hackfest, etc. The conference serves a dual purpose of spreading the Fedora message and allowing Fedora contributors to have valuable face time.

The opposite end of the spectrum is an event that is something of a target of opportunity, or for which the Fedora presence is one specific thing. My attendance at the Florida Linux Show last weekend was an example of this kind of an event. I wore my Fedora Ambassador shirt, and I discussed Fedora 12, and the general rules and operations of the larger Fedora Project, but my reason for being at the event was in direct service to Red Hat’s sales folks in the region, as opposed to an event that was organized through the Ambassadors processes.

Red Hat was the title sponsor of the show, and several of our consultants and solutions architects were on hand giving pretty technical talks about specific product offerings. However, the Red Hat organizers also wanted a community-focused talk, capable of sharing the bigger picture of Red Hat’s presence within the open source ecosystem, as well as the Fedora->RHEL relationship, and how the Fedora Project is a source of innovation that is available to all. This is exactly the sort of talk that the Community Architecture team gives all the time, and my talk was well received by both the crowd, and the Red Hat sales folks who happened to be listening.

The crowd at the Florida Linux Show wasn’t huge, but it was definitely passionate. There were probably 150 people at the closing keynote, which is actually a pretty good number. There were a lot of interesting sessions going on all day, and while the general conference hall with booths was pretty small, the sessions were well attended. For me, this is a great thing, because my reasons for attending a conference are to speak to an audience much more than to stand at a booth.

The conference hall was an interesting mix of corporate tables — the sales folks who organized the Red Hat presence were happy with the number of conversations and potential leads that they got — and there were a few interesting projects like Qimo and OnlyProfile, showing people software that was built on Linux, or a very customized version of Linux, more than the “every distro has its own table” kind of an event.

All in all, a nice one-day show. The organizers were really nice, and definitely had their act together. From the business perspective, the event was an excellent example of the revenue-generating side of Red Hat recognizing the value in sharing the community portion of Red Hat’s larger value chain and value proposition, and wanting to share that message.

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