At a Glance: What is SCaLE?
The Fedora Ambassadors gathered statistical feedback from attendees and distributed swag items during SCaLE’s four-day expo.
- Frequency of the release cycle past Fedora Release 29 trended with guests.
- Peak visitor days were Friday and Saturday.
- We collected detailed information for our various Fedora teams. Roll-up found below.
Our Ambassadors/Volunteers in the Field
This report is for the following Ambassadors who were on-site at SCaLE 17x:
- Perry Rivera (FAS: lajuggler)
- Alex Acosta (FAS: aacosta)
- Scott Williams (FAS: vwbusguy)
- Brian Monroe (FAS: ParadoxGuitarist)
Supplemental assistance provided by:
- Jennifer Madriaga
- Iván Chavero (FAS: ichavero)
- Brian Exelbierd (FAS: bex)
What is SCaLE?
SCaLE is a rip-roaring, immersive four-day convention covering a variety of free and open source topic presentations, training, and entertainment. This year marks the seventeenth annual event in the general Los Angeles (LA) area, specifically Pasadena.
The SCaLE conference exhibits groundbreaking general technology and Linux ideas from around the globe. The Conference Chair, Ilan Rabinovitch, and Bala (Hriday Balachandran) led our team throughout the registration process and coordinated an enlightening, orchestrated, and all-around fun event.
Day 1: 7 March (Thursday)
Initial Booth Setup
Brian arrived in Pasadena on Thursday morning to deliver supplies for the Expo portion of the conference.
He located our exhibit booth, number 312, and dropped off and set up: a banner and the event box.
Perry meanwhile went to FedEx to print out Fedora logo sign-in sheets for people to provide comments/feedback.
The Ambassadors met throughout the day to discuss plans for exhibiting. Brian provided Perry a Thinkpad to perform a Workstation install of Fedora 29.
We also checked into our various hotels. The Sheraton Hotel is adjacent to the convention center and expo hall, and parking appeared convenient and plentiful for Thursday morning but filled rapidly by the afternoon.
The Sheraton furnished a clean and comfortable hotel room.
Iván Chavero arrived later that evening as he had been flying throughout the day. Perry joined him for dinner to bring him up to speed on Fedora team news.
Perry later imported a What’s New in Fedora 29 presentation on the laptop and installed updates.
Day 2: 8 March (Friday)
After lunch, Perry delivered a portable whiteboard, markers, and office supplies. We re-positioned tables in the booth to maximize conversation space and set up chairs for guests to sit and hang out if they needed a place to sit and relax. We also arranged swag and our Fedora laptop setup.
Our Ambassadors observed how SCaLE situated our booth in one of the main middle rows which definitely brought in high traffic.
We set up an initial whiteboard to gather people’s impressions of how they use Fedora.
After the exhibit hall opened, Brian, Perry, and Scott fielded questions by our booth guests. General questions we asked visitors were open-ended (not direct “yes” or “no” answers); this established connections with our guests, encouraged their repeat visits later in the conference, and gave people avenues into further discussion.
Such questions included:
- How do you use Fedora?
- So tell me what brings you here today?
- 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?
Version 2 of Booth Setup
Since we had a finite amount of swag, we placed a few items here and there to mitigate “swag” vacuuming, and handed premium swag out to 1) really great questions and detailed feedback and 2) people who illustrated they have FAS accounts.
Jennifer Madriaga from Red Hat also stopped in to provide additional swag and to say hello.
Having a fair amount of Ambassadors, we rotated shifts as needed for meal breaks or attending the occasional workshop.
Day 3: 9 March (Saturday)
Alex arrived very early in the morning.
Before the exhibit hall opened, Perry re-set up our display and swag in our Exhibit Hall booth.
Perry then traveled to the other convention building to assist Clint Savage (FAS: herlo), John Bonesio and guests with an all-day Linux InstallFest. While the first half of the day involved providing Fedora install help to attendee’s laptops and virtual machines, the second half of the day comprised guiding students on how to initially configure their new setup.
Meanwhile, Fedora Ambassadors Brian, Scott, Iván, and Alex greeted guests at the expo floor to run the booth. The second day of exhibiting (on day 3 of the conference) brought many guests to our booth.
A snapshot of the final dry board. Topic: How do you Fedora?
Clockwise from the left, Perry, Alex, and Jennifer
Iván later gave a talk on Linux Engineering. Following that, a Game Night took place. Quite a fun and well-attended event! This year’s highlights include two Escape Room options, a video game room, and penguin hors d’oeuvres made from olives and carrots.
The Tux Spectacular
Day 4: 10 March (Sunday)
The final day of exhibiting (on day 4 of the conference) delivered attendees to our booth. To keep things interesting, Perry and Alex passed out different and interesting regular swag and premium swag to encourage new visits by attendees.
Brian meanwhile worked the Sunday Installfest.
By this day, however, guests attended workshops or began returning to home.
A snapshot of the final dry board.
- We counted at least 44 respondents that asked specifically for DVD distribution media.
- We counted at least 10 people who did not know what Fedora is. It was definitely good we were there to provide information!
- Brian discovered that we would definitely need more lead time for T-shirt swag and Fedora badges, as neither of those assets arrived on schedule for the event.
- More USB thumb drives. Based on the number of visitors we had, I think about 250 USB thumb drives as premium giveaways would be advantageous to distribute.
Future event box suggestions
- T-shirts: These were a hit and all disappeared by conference end. Could definitely use more and mixed designs and all sizes, especially larger sizes (L, XL, XXL, XXXL).
- T-shirts: Preferably with the new logo
- DVD Distribution media. Suprisingly people still ask for these. (see last section)
- More USB thumb drives
- Candy: Minimal funds for reimbursement for donated candy
- Ribbons for badges: Ribbons are gathering popularity and advertising interest at expos and conventions. It might be advantageous to make various sets of these for fun and pass them out.
- Stickers: More! Everyone loved them and want to use them for their boxes. Perhaps additional Fedora designs and shapes might garner increasing popularity.
- More Meta Key Stickers: These were a hit.
- Lanyards for the Ambassadors branded with the Fedora logo: It’s interesting to advocate Fedora while wearing the stock lanyard for a completely different organization because that’s what was received in the registration goodie bag. Having Fedora-branded lanyards for the ambassadors to use at events would add value to our guests of the Fedora way.
At our booth, we provided a sign-in sheet for visitors to leave feedback, suggestions, and comments about Fedora. The following highlights this feedback.
There were 12 respondents. At least 6 respondents were using the latest release of Fedora (as of this writing, Release 29), 1 respondent was still using one release behind (as of this writing, Release 28), and two are using the developmental release (as of this writing, Release 30/Rawhide). This is better than last year, which had people expressing they were running extremely dated versions of Fedora.
- All: 2 respondents had positive feedback “Nothing but good things“and “You’re the reason I got my job!“.
- Marketing: 2 respondents requested/liked ink pens.
- PowerPC: 1 respondent said Keep ppc64le great again!!
- Raspberry Pi 3: 1 respondent said Raspberry Pi 3 video driver is upstreamed.
- SCaLE: 2 respondents wanted a Birds of a Feather (meetup during the SCaLE conference) [editor note: We tried to add a Fedora Day, but that was not accepted this year in the event program].
- ARM64: 1 respondent said ARM64!!! You are all the best! Fractional scaling in GNOME please!
- Fedora 28 (down-rev): The respondent’s comment was slightly illegible. From context, it might potentially say “Will update at fedoraproject.org“
- SoaS Team: 1 respondent was looking for information on SoaS download statistics. [Perry completed an action item and followed up with Brian to relay this information to the respondent].
Attendees thanked us for Fedora’s conference presence and look forward to our return for SCaLE 18x.
We had a room availability issue that prevented an official Fedora Day from taking place. We also could use more support for swag/badge time-to-event concerns. Hopefully these will be rectified for 2020 (SCaLE 18x).
Based on our post-rollup from Ambassadors, we discovered the following:
- Concerns from the community on the road-ahead following the recent acquisition.
- Excitement that Fedora is very much alive, well, and active.
- We had no T-shirts this year, which resulted in a severe drop in visitors compared to last year.
- We did have plenty of stickers, which were well-received.
All staff members and guests appeared to enjoy being there. Feedback on talks and training indicated high interest in a Fedora Day track.
That’s all the news from the Fedora Ambassador team and SCaLE 17x. Hope to see you next year!
Perry and Brian look forward to seeing you next year!