Every year, on the last Saturday of October, in Italy there is a national event called “Linux Day”. This year was the 18th edition and it was held on October 27.

The event is promoted by the Italian Linux Society, and it is independently organized in many cities all around the country by groups of volunteers, LUGs and various associations. Even if it is highly fragmented (many little events in many cities), it is probably the biggest Italian event related to Linux and FLOSS, that is directly organized by people involved in the communities and by ordinary users.

The aim of such event is to to promote Linux and FLOSS in general: in each city there are many talks, presentations and installation parties. The target audience is not limited to computer enthusiasts, hackers or IT professionals, but newbies, students and curious citizens are welcome as well.

Fedora representation

As far as we know, this year Fedora was represented by ambassadors and advocates in five events: in Massa Carrara (event organized by L.U.Ma.Ca.) with a talk about Silverblue oriented to ordinary Linux users held by alciregi; in Ivrea (event organized by IvLug) with a talk titled “Fedora: an up to date distro for everyone” held by dariolesca; and in Mezzago (event organized by K12 APS, BrigX Bernareggio and CoderDojoBrianza) with a talk titled “The three souls of the web in the service of the communities: information, collaboration, innovation” held by mailga. In Rieti (event organized by lugrieti) and in Cagliari (event organized by GULCh) there were Fedora booths thanks to gabrycaos and veon.

Some details from Massa Carrara (by alciregi)

In Carrara there were at least 30 people witnessing the talks, plus a lot of people jumped in just to ask something or to see some projects exposed in the dedicated area, and just to grab some swag. The attendees were mainly long time Linux users using various distributions, and some high school students. The topic of the talk related to Fedora Silverblue has produced a lot of excitement, mainly because on the Linux desktop ecosystem there have been not too many novelties in the last times. On the other side the new kind of Linux distribution was seen as too destabilizing in the classical day to day average user workflow. However, the container technology brought to the desktop was seen as an interesting opportunity, and this is particularly true for students looking to learn modern technologies for a future job in the IT field. Here you can find the slides (in Italian).

Alessio Ciregia (alciregi) presenting Fedora Silverblue, Linux Day ’18 in Massa Carrara

Some details from Ivrea (by dariolesca).

In Ivrea, in the University room “Officina H”, at least 100 people have took part to the event: someone attending to all the talks and some other jumped in just to lurk and see what kind of event it was.
There were many talks about many topics, attendees seemed very interested and compelled, the Q&A session at the end of each talk was very active.

There was a gadget booth, where people was able to grab some swag provided by Italian Linux Society and by the Fedora Project.
The PC used to show the slides of each talk was running Fedora 29 (still beta at the time).

The talk presented by me was titled “Fedora: una distro per tutti al passo coi tempi” (more or less translated to “Fedora: an up to date distro for everyone”). In addition it was showed how to keep many desktop environment on the same Fedora installation, and that it is possible to select one of them at each login. A note: Fedora was installed on an USB 3 stick.
The attendees have shown a strong interest, and many of them asked how to try it on their PC.

Here you can find the slides (in Italian).

Dario Lesca presenting to a room
Dario Lesca (dariolesca) talking about Fedora, Linux Day ’18 in Ivrea

Some details from Mezzago (by mailga)

The Linux Day held in Mezzago (“biblioteca”) didn’t saw the attendance of lots of people, maybe 20 ’cause, as usual here in Italy, the Linux Day is very fragmented. Nevertheless the talks were very interesting and the people followed all of them paying lots of attention. Among the speakers there was the presence of Italo Vignoli and this raised the level of the talks.
About my speech, I explained (mainly referred to the Fedora community) how a community is built, the dynamics within , and a sort of “netiquette” to get requested things done.

It was a half-an-hour talk so I could not dive in the deep of the communities flows. For the people who want give a glance to the talks, here the slides and the full speeches (in Italian).

Gabriele Trombini (mailga) talking about FLOSS Communities with an eye to Fedora, Linux Day 2018 in Mezzago

What we have learned

We know that the Italian Fedora Community as a whole is a little bit inactive, compared to some years ago. We know many Italian Fedora users, but there is a lack of people with a compelling interest in animating or actively participating in a community. However there are various Italian contributors, but each of us does their work under the hood as an individual, in some cases collaborating directly in the international community.

Users sometimes don’t care about the possibility to contribute to the project (to any project, actually). It seems that people look at a Linux distribution as a product, like a smartphone or a commercial software, and it is particularly true for young people: if it works it is nice, but if they encounter a problem it is more simple to complain or to switch to another distro. At a first glance, it seems difficult to on-board them as contributors. Many people is not aware that there are many ways to contribute inside a community.

What we can do in the future

For sure in the near future we can work in order to convince current contributors to head up and participate to events with talks ad workshops.
Looking to the next year Linux Day, during the coming 12 months, we could try to solicit more people (be they regular users or contributors) to submit speeches talking about the Fedora Project and to organize Fedora booths in more cities than this year event. In addition we should fight laziness, and we could try to invite regular users to contribute and look with interest to the community behind the project, and not only to the technology.