This is the Ambassador Report for Ben & Cathy Williams for the Ohio Linuxfest 2016.
We arrived at the our hotel around 1PM on Friday. After checking in we headed over to find the new site in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The first things we noticed was the Columbus Convention Center is doing a major renovation and one of those renovations was they removed the escalators from the food court to the second floor. At first we thought this may be a issue to move the event stuff in but there was an elevator close by. Also no signage for OLF in the Food Court area. After getting off the elevator on the second floor there was a sign pointing around the corner to the Ohio Linuxfest registration table. This year Ohio Linuxfest charged $10 for general attendees (free to students with student ID). We checked in and out our badges (yes insert favorite Blazing Saddles joke here). We walked down to the Vendor Expo hall which this year had a grand total of 28 exhibitors (see website for vendor lists). While the Expo was setup ready for Vendors to move in but the Vendor Expo was not open to the public on Friday.
With this news we checked out the early penguin tracks and the OLF institute Tracks which Thomas Cameron was doing his “OpenStack for Mere Mortals” in the morning and “SELinux for Mere Mortals” in the afternoon. It was still early so we went and grabbed some lunch and headed back to our hotel room for the evening.
Up at 6:30AM we prepared and had breakfast at the Drury (our favorite place to stay while attending OLF) and grabbed the event box, vertical banners and swag out of the truck of the car and headed back to the Hyatt Regency to setup for the expo opening at 9AM. We went to our spot and noticed no electric runs as we had seen in the past when we were in the Columbus Convention Center. We continued setting up getting everything ready when Rob (the sponsor coordinator) and I asked about plugging into the electricity and he said “thank you for asking but yes this year that is not an issue go for it”. We got the Table setup and running easily before 9:00AM opening. We had had advance notification from SinClair Community College they would like to pickup media for their Classes. As I was finishing the touches on the booth Cathy was assembling a box of media for Sinclair Community College.
After the Expo opened we had the normal stream of activity between the session asking questions like:
- What is Linux?
- So how is Fedora different than ?
- I am having issues with Nvidia drivers?
As the day went on, Cathy and I got into the flow of handling the traffic, she took the job of being the pleasant lady at the booth, and I did my normal technical guy duties answering questions as they came up showing demos of the spins on the event laptop and answering questions about the XO (OLPC) on the table .
We had several people comment they were glad to see that we were giving out media and it appeared we were the only group that was handing out media at this show. As the day was winding down we had different group wanting media for their schools and local LUGs so we were able to fill those requests very easily. During the lulls I ran up the to registration and they told me the registration for this year was around 600 attendees.
We came to Ohio Linuxfest with close to 600 pieces of media and left the show with 34.
We always look forward to attending Ohio Linuxfest and I hope next year it will not be competing against an Ohio State Home Football Game and what appeared to be several other events in town.