North America and Fedora: Year in Review

The past year has proven to be both challenging and demanding for our Ambassadors. During the past year there have been a lot of new ideas proposed and more events that are being sought out attempting to expand our base. Many of the ventures have been with hack-a-thons in several states. This has been a relatively new venture in those areas. Since our involvement in these types of events, we quickly discovered that Fedora and the associated spins were a new tool for most of these individuals attending and participating. That was a surprising fact within the community that the young and impressionable individuals seemed to be using Windows more than any other operating system available. Since those few we (Fedora) attended, there has been an increase in the open source software utilization across the board at these types of events, a total and undeniable success.

Looking back at North America events

Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller and Ambassador Mike DePaulo at the Fedora table during LISA 16

Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller and Ambassador Mike DePaulo at the Fedora table during LISA 16

Covering the larger events such as Linux Fest Northwest, SCaLE 14x, OSCON, Texas Linux Fest, Southeast Linux Fest, Ohio Linux Fest, SeaGL, and LISA 2016 were a large and diverse group of North America Ambassadors, each with their own specialties and wide range of knowledge with the hopes of showing the best Open Source Software out today. As usual, the first event of the year was SCaLE 14x, a large event that showcases various operating systems and open source software. We always have a great attendance at SCaLE. This past year, we added another Ambassador to the group with Perry Rivera (lajuggler) who has brought new ideas and vision to our group, as well as our stable Brian Monroe (ParadoxGuitarist), Scott Williams (VWBUSGUY), and Alejandro who bridges the gap with our Spanish speaking customers.

Texas events

OSCON and Texas Linux Fest also proved to be noteworthy. Since OSCON events are usually outside of our price range for sponsorship, we were entirely grateful to Red Hat for allowing us to share the booth with them. Both events were headed by Jon Disnard (parasense) for Fedora. We are also lucky to have Adam Miller (maxamillion) who is within the area and helped on short notice. Both events were successful in explaining the importance of Open Source Software and how Fedora plays a vital role in being the leader in technical and inventive ideas leading right back into the software. These two events are the only events that showed up in the Midwest region that had the local (somewhat) ambassadors available.

In the next year, Texas Linux fest will be in the Fall of 2017. We will see what that brings for attendance, hopefully more since the local college was in summer recess during the last event in 2016.

US northwest events

Our local Northwest ambassador headed up two events this past year, Linux Fest Northwest, and SeaGL, both in the host city of Seattle, Washington. Both events were extremely effective and resulted in large attendance. Jeff Sandys (jsandys) who has been with the program for eight years is Fedora’s Seattle-area local ambassador. He has been attending and planning events in the area for some time now. Although we do have some others that are in the area, Jeff is our active Ambassador for the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to Laura Abbott (labbott) for also helping us with some of our events this year in Seattle on short notice.

US east coast

Fedora Ambassadors attend Bitcamp 2016 at the University of Maryland (left to right: Chaoyi Zha, Justin W. Flory, Mike DePaulo, Corey Sheldon)

Fedora Ambassadors attend Bitcamp 2016 at the University of Maryland (left to right: Chaoyi Zha, Justin W. Flory, Mike DePaulo, Corey Sheldon)

The East coast is always busy with events during the year. Our major events include Southeast Linux Fest, Ohio Linux Fest, LISA, Software Freedom Day, and some of the smaller events such as BrickHack, Bitcamp, HackMIT, NASA Space Apps, and FOSSCON. Some key individuals in the planning and event attendance are Ben Williams (kk4ewt), Corey Sheldon (linuxmodder), Justin W. Flory (jflory7), Nick Bebout (nb), Chaoyi Zha (cydrobolt), Dan Mossor (danofsatx) and Michael DePaulo (mikedep333).

Southeast Linux Fest usually has the largest showing of Ambassadors from the Midwest and southeast corners of the country. The past year, we had seven Ambassadors in attendance. This gave us the flexibility to also make ourselves available to other activities during the event. As usual, the Amateur Radio exam was administered by Ben Williams and Nick Bebout along with other smaller activities as well.

Fedora Ambassadors invite BrickHack attendees to join them at the "hacker table" to spend time hanging out with the Fedora community

Fedora Ambassadors invite BrickHack attendees to join them at the “hacker table” to spend time hanging out with the Fedora community

Ohio Linux fest is also another event we normally attend in the greater Columbus, OH area. This event usually draws from surrounding states as well, such as Indiana, since there has been no event in the Indianapolis area for the past few years. Sadly that was a result of one of our own Ambassadors who lost his battle with cancer, Matthew Williams (Lord Drachenblut)… you will be missed.

Some of the smaller events that were on the east coast (headed up by Corey Sheldon and Justin W. Flory) were also successful in delivering a powerful message to the Free and Open Source community. Even though the events were not on a large scale of attendance such as Southeast or Northwest Linux Fests, the delivery of Fedora was there. We weren’t handing out hundreds of media discs or stickers in volume, but the small, sustainable word of what we are about spreads quickly from the small event through the local Linux Users Groups. Feedback received from attending was nothing short of wonderful. Although you will always get those hard-liner folks that use only X or Y and never consider Z, the question is then why are you not willing to try a new or different experience, and they can never give an answer supporting what they use in an operating system. Maybe it’s a knowledge factor, or a specific equipment / hardware configuration, who knows. But those individuals will always take swag from our table, and take media as well, maybe they are actually Fedora users but don’t want the other hard-lined friends to know.

Reflecting back

Our Ambassadors are the keys to our success. Without the outstanding group we currently have, I do not think that the group would be where they are at today. We have some new Ambassadors that joined the group during the year:

We hope the next year will bring us more with Ambassadors and more ideas to the table in reference to the best Operating System in the Open Source category.

Event reports

Here are a few links to event reports.


LISA 2016

SELF 2016

Ohio Linux Fest


BrickHack 2016

Bitcamp 2016

HackMIT 2016

Image courtesy of Travis Torres – originally posted to Unsplash as “Untitled“. Modifications by Justin W. Flory.

Categories: Ambassadors, Events

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  1. Adam Williamson

    February 21, 2017 — 00:27

    LinuxFest NorthWest is not in Seattle, it’s in Bellingham.

  2. Adam Williamson you are correct, but it is in the Seattle area, I know I lived there for several years, it may be a little north of Seattle, but the point is still the same

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