I held a Fedora Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) session at Ohio LinuxFest in Columbus, Ohio on November 1. Ohio LinuxFest is a regional conference for free and open source software professionals and enthusiasts. Since it’s just a few hours drive from my house, it seemed like an obvious event for me to attend. We had a great turnout and a lively conversation of the course of an hour.

The session started a little slowly as many people were still in the keynote. But a few minutes later, the room was nearly full. I didn’t take a count, but at the peak, we probably had about two dozen attendees. Some were existing Fedora users and some were there to learn more about Fedora.

I didn’t plan any particular content, since I wanted to let the group drive the discussion based on what was interesting to them. We ended up talking about documentation a fair amount. Two of the attendees created a FAS account that weekend so they can start contributing to the docs! Several more claimed the OLF BoF badge, and I sent them all a follow-up email directing them to the Join SIG’s Welcome page.

In addition to docs, we talked about the general Fedora release process—how we determine our schedule and how we decide when to release. I brought some USB sticks with Fedora 31 Workstation for people to try. And of course I had stickers, pens, and pins to give away.

It can be hard to judge the value of events like this, but I’m encouraged by the fact that we got at least six new people to create FAS accounts. I’m looking forward to seeing contributions from those new contributors as they work with the Join SIG to get started.

One of the attendees sent me an email a few days later that read in part:

The encouragement I got at OLF pushed me to make my first pull request last night that was already accepted. I am still struggling with git but I got some wonderful help from a community member yesterday in IRC that lead to my first pull request.

I’d like to have a Fedora booth at this event next year—it represents a great opportunity to grow our contributor community.