On July 2nd, 2016, the San Fernando Valley Linux User Group (SFVLUG) in Lake Balboa, California, celebrated the release of Fedora 24 at their regular meeting. Fedora Ambassador Perry Rivera (FAS: lajuggler) helped coordinate these efforts at their regular meetup at Denny’s. To help celebrate the launch of Fedora 24, Perry brought some install media and a Fedora cake. The release party helped introduce Fedora 24 to a new group of users by providing them with the software and help to get Fedora 24 for themselves. This report details the release party events with SFVLUG and the impact from the event.

At a Glance: What is SFVLUG?

Denny's in Lake Balboa

Denny’s in Lake Balboa

Our Ambassador in the Field

This report is for the following ambassador:

What is SFVLUG?

SFVLUG (San Fernando Valley Linux Users Group) meets bi-weekly to discuss a variety of free and open source topics.

The membership typically assembles at a local Denny’s in Lake Balboa, CA, home of Lake Balboa and the Japanese Garden.

SFVLUG showcases Linux and open-source technology topics among the San Fernando Valley community. The event’s chairperson, Brian, is a courteous, friendly person that encouraged Fedora to step in and sponsor part of their regular meeting.

One week earlier: 25 June

Costco Cake Order Form

Costco Cake Order Form

Prior to the big event, I first checked with the restaurant franchise point-of-contact to confirm whether bringing outside food (in this case, a cake) inside the restaurant was acceptable. An employee of the restaurant double-checked with the manager, green-lit the idea, and mentioned that plates/cutlery usage would be complementary.

I then submitted a pre-order for a half-sheet cake over at my local Costco. They did such a bang-up job, I’ve attached an example of the order form if it helps others in setting up future events/parties.

I tried to contact the main organizers for the club to ask for a projector and power hookups for presenting a slideshow and quiz. Over that upcoming week, I had not heard from the web staff as that particular Meetup inbox is seldom monitored. I later found out through the SFVLUG organizer that the Meetup page is undergoing a transitional phase and that direct e-mail to Brian (SFVLUG) is the recommended method of contact as of this juncture.

Half week earlier: 29 June

I created the following media to prepare for the event:

  • 3 Bootable USB Fedora 24 sticks
  • 1 Bootable Fedora 24 64-bit DVD
  • 1 Bootable Fedora 24 32-bit DVD

I also adapted Ambassador Nemanja Milošević (nmilosev) and Giannis Konstantinidis‘s (giannisk) slides. Our slide decks is found here for reference:

SFVLUG Day 1: 2 July

About 2 hours before the event, I picked up the custom-ordered cake and admired Costco bakery’s handiwork.

Fedora 24 Costco Cake

Fedora 24 Costco Cake

Since it was a very warm day (about 85°F), I dropped the cake off at the Denny’s venue for refrigeration. I then set out to hunt for a mylar “Happy Birthday” balloon to generate questions and some interest for the Fedora sponsorship during the meeting.

Happy Birthday Balloon

Happy Birthday Balloon

I arrived about 15 minutes before the scheduled start time to secure a spot near the entrance, so that I could try to see many people as they began arriving.

After introducing Fedora, I brought the balloon in and waited until another member could bring in a  power hookup. I then set up the following items:

  • Laptop presentation
  • Raffle box
  • Fedora Ambassador business cards
  • Sticker swag
  • Pen swag
  • Sticky notes and pens (for guest notes)

As I did this, I met some interesting people who I hadn’t met before and recorded metrics on their distribution usage.

Throughout the course of the meeting, no projector surfaced, which was OK. Plan B was to set up a laptop to automatically present slides. That presentation later evolved to manually presenting slides to small groups that stopped by to check things out; this turned out fine as it is very similar to the table demonstrations at larger conventions (e.g. SCaLE). The personal interaction facilitated active discussion.

Fedora 24 Slide Demo

Fedora 24 Slide Demo

As more people arrived, I invited guests to pick up raffle drawing tickets. A few seemed worried they’d have to pay something for tickets, but when reassured, they felt better about receiving their ticket.

I also invited people to stop by to learn more about Fedora 24 release as well as Fedora’s mission, goals, and what types of volunteers are needed. About six people expressed interest and stopped by the kiosk. Others asked general questions during an informal Q&A. Around fifteen people showed up throughout the course of the evening.

General questions I asked others were open-ended (not direct “yes” or “no” answers), to engage people into discussion and establish rapport. Such questions included:

  • So tell me what brings you here today?
  • How do you use Fedora?
  • If not using Fedora, what do you use and why?
  • Do you have any suggestions or comments for us to pass back upstream to Fedora?

We served cake about 7:00pm. It was very tasty, and disappeared very quickly as a result.

We Added Fedora Swag For Pizzazz

We Added Fedora Swag For Pizzazz

A Delicious Cake Cutting Ensued...

A Delicious Cake Cutting Ensued…

Additionally, we held the raffle around 8:30pm. The attendees seemed excited that real prizes existed!

Suggestion / feedback items: 2 July

Furthermore, visitors left feedback, suggestions, and comments about Fedora. The following suggestions and feedback are derived from informally interviewing each of them.

  • Michael: Primarily uses Ubuntu. He is generally looking for an unobtrusive operating system. He originally started with Fedora, but moved over to Ubuntu when other friends moved over. He primarily uses LibreOffice.
  • Hektor: Primarily uses a Mac / Windows virtual machine setup, and Ubuntu occasionally. He seemed very interested in experimenting with our Fedora Scientific Spin. He was also interested in a distribution that could offer the following capabilities:
    • VPN into offices
    • Remote desktop into servers
  • Peter: Teaches Debian at local community college. Very Pro-Debian. His big question was why don’t people derive from Fedora like they do from Debian. I responded that I think it was because Debian has a longer release cycle.
  • Frank: Primarily uses Fedora 6 (!!). Also uses CentOS, database, Perl, Puppy Linux/DSL. Primary apps include: OpenOffice and LibreOffice. He uses his system because it’s easy to use, allows him to get online, and because it has LibreOffice. He’s a teacher, writer, and deals with linguistics. He works for a non-profit (MEND) that works with people from different countries. His biggest grievance is that he’s unhappy with the office apps (in general). He’ll take a document written on one system and bring it over to another system under a similar app, and the pagination changes dramatically. He wants an OS that is fairly easy to use. He has multiple systems at home. He’s looking for a good NAS OS and/or a pure NAS device.
  • Dave: Primarily used Fedora 23. On the day of the release party, he used the “fedup” command to upgrade to F24. Smooth upgrade…works great, so far! His gear: T420s, SSD drive, 8GB memory
  • Simon: Installed F24 on to T60p hardware. He found the wording on the install screen confusing, e.g. the Install and Test and Test lines were puzzling. The Advanced Options were also confusing. After install, graphical video was not working on his laptop. Was troubleshooting the issue for the rest of the meeting.

Photo Gallery

SFVLUG Group Photo

SFVLUG Group Photo

SFVLUG Group Photo 2

SFVLUG Group Photo 2

Questions to Answer

  1. What is Compiz support like in Fedora 24?
  2. How is Raspberry Pi development support as of the present time?
  3. Is there an ARM-based spin or remix?
    1. ARM v7?
    2. ARM v8?
    3. For a&b, 32 and 64 bit versions?
  4. Is there a Fedora 24 Docker container available?
  5. What is Wayland, as it pertains to Fedora 24?
  6. 2+ users expressed dissatisfaction with systemd. How possible is it to get rid of it and revert back to System 5 Init?
  7. What is the development status of func?
    1. Is there a Debian package forthcoming? [unanswerable?]
  8. Can we undo usrmove?
    1. It was a big feature in F17.
    2. It is now called a misfeature (one attendee’s perspective).
  9. Are there T60p install fixes for the video issue (mentioned above)?

Lessons learned

  1. Bring a clipboard for next time…
  2. Bring extra Fedora Ambassador cards.
  3. Know Wayland (an X Protocol replacement), which is mentioned very briefly in the slide deck.

Conclusion and acknowledgments

Consequently, I felt that our mission to reach out and encourage attendees to download or try Fedora proved successful. I think we also helped their team tremendously by facilitating discussion, taking pictures, sharing cake, and offering prizes.

Brian from SFVLUG thanked us personally for attending and looks forward to our next release party, if those plans materialize.

As a result, I’d like to personally thank the following for making this possible:

  • Brian / SFVLUG for assisting us with meeting arrangements
  • Costco bakery staff for a tasty cake
  • Denny’s Lake Balboa staff for hosting our meeting
  • Brian Monroe (freenode: ParadoxGuitarist) for providing swag
  • The FAmNA Team for budgeting
  • Nemanja Milošević’s and Giannis Konstantinidis for baseline slides

Image courtesy of Denys Nevozhai – originally posted to Unsplash as Untitled.