At a Glance: What is SCaLE?
- What: 15th annual free and open source software conference in Pasadena, California
- Where: Pasadena Convention Center
- When: 2 – 5 March 2017
The Fedora Ambassadors distributed DVDs and swag items during SCaLE’s four-day expo and held a Fedora Day activity consisting of two presentations and a general meet up. Furthermore, we held a mini-memorial in honor of our Fedora Ambassador Matthew Williams.
- Wayland in Fedora 25 proved to be positively popular with guests.
- We exhausted an entire box of F25/F24 media by Friday and an entire box of F25 media on Saturday and Sunday and estimated distributing 650 DVDs total.
- Peak visitors days were Friday and Saturday.
- We collected highly detailed feedback for our various Fedora teams. Roll-up found below.
Our Ambassadors in the Field
This report is for the following Ambassadors:
- Perry Rivera (FAS: lajuggler)
- Alex Acosta (FAS: aacosta)
- Scott Williams (FAS: vwbusguy)
- Brian Monroe (FAS: ParadoxGuitarist)
- Tom Callaway (FAS: spot)
- Adam Miller (FAS: maxamillion)
- Clint Savage (FAS: herlo)
What is SCaLE?
SCaLE is an exciting four-day convention focusing on a variety of free and open source topics, training, and speeches. This year marks the fifteenth annual event in the general Los Angeles (LA) area, specifically Pasadena.
The SCaLE conference showcases Linux and technology ideas from around the globe. The Conference Chair, Mr. Ilan Rabinovitch, helped guide our team throughout the registration process and coordinate a well-run, informative, and entertaining event.
Day 1: 2 March
We arrived in Pasadena on Thursday morning to deliver supplies for the Expo portion of the conference. Depending on where Ambassadors could find parking near the expo, the loading and unloading situation proved a little challenging for some because certain lots were a block away.
We checked in at the self-registration booths to receive our badges and pre-conference materials.
Next, we located our exhibit booth, number 305, and dropped off: a fresh new banner, the event box, a previous year’s table cloth, and other supplies.
During setup, we observed that there were numerous stains on the table cloth held over from previous years. Brian took the cloth home in the hopes that the stains could possibly be laundered out.
We also opened up the new and freshly delivered banner (quantity: 1) and observed that the light banner that arrived with a carrying case for transport measured about 8 out of 10 in ease to setup.
Brian later noticed that the top frame of the banner had a small bend which should not typically be there but was not a show-stopper; he mentioned he would try to remedy the issue later.
All the Ambassadors met informally throughout the morning to discuss our plans for presenting and exhibiting and to perform some initial setup. 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. The area felt fairly safe to walk around during evening and night hours.
The room was clean and comfortable and had complimentary continental breakfast; this helped defray personal costs.
Later that evening, Perry went to Ballroom C to dry-run his portion of the presentation.
Meanwhile, many Ambassadors attended Bryan Lunduke’s hysterical presentation “Linux Sucks…for the Last Time.” He gave a great nod to Fedora here: Bryan Lunduke Presentation
Day 2: 3 March
The first peak day of exhibiting brought an estimated 500-600 guests to our booth. The Ambassadors distributed about 300 DVDs, including remaining F24 DVDs.
On the 3rd, Perry and Alex checked into Ballroom C to prepare and present for three topics.
In the Fedora 25 Highlights workshop, Perry discussed what’s new in Fedora. We had about 20 attendees. Fedora 25 Highlights Slides
Meanwhile, in the How You Can Help With Fedora workshop, Alex and Perry outlined how people can contribute. We had about 15 attendees. How You Can Help With Fedora Slides
Moreover, the Work Session, facilitated by Perry with support by Adam, Scott, and Brian, gave participants a chance to discuss Fedora work issues/items and meet with others. We had about 15 attendees. Fedora Work Session
During all three sessions, we handed out media and stickers and referred people to our booth if they had any questions. Brian, Adam, Scott, and Alex provided additional answers to the various questions posed by our guests.
After lunch and later that afternoon, we set up the media/swag, banner, a new fresh table cloth (brought courtesy by Tom and Ruth Suehle) in our Exhibit Hall booth. We also set up a mini-memorial as a tribute to Matthew Williams. Remembering Matthew Williams
Our Ambassadors finished setting up well before our start time of 2 P.M. and observed how conveniently SCaLE situated our booth adjacent to the high-traffic areas near the Red Hat and OpenShift booths. The SCaLE team also located us near the Linux Academy, FSF, and OpenX tables, which in turn brought much excited ancillary traffic.
Having a fair amount of Ambassadors, we took shifts as needed for meal breaks or attending the occasional workshop. We realized the lack of many inexpensive options for nearby places. Tom, Brian, Adam, Perry, and Scott fielded questions and supplied by our booth visitors.
We actively listened to the Fedora needs of passersby and tried to help them out or politely reroute them to people/resources.
We also realized that people approached the Fedora table more if Ambassadors stood in front of the booth instead of behind the table. We sensed that a few people that do not run on Fedora were quite interested in what Fedora 25 had to offer and that Fedora was natively running on Wayland. We helped demonstrate the new compositor and assisted the community to try out a handful of spins and labs on our live systems.
Our helpful strategy involved setting up an instance of GNOME Boxes with multiple Live DVD “boxes.” People unfamiliar with the app itself seemed positively amazed that Fedora includes this app with no extra installation difficulty.
General questions we asked others were open-ended (not direct “yes” or “no” answers); this established rapport with our guests and engaged people into further discussion.
Such questions included:
- So tell me what brings you here today?
- How do you use Fedora?
- 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?
- Have you heard about Wayland?
Since we had a finite amount of swag, we placed a few items here and there to mitigate “swag” vacuuming, and handed shirts out to 1) really great questions and detailed feedback and 2) people who had Fedora natively running on their notebook systems / tablets.
Day 3: 4 March
We estimated 400-500 guests visited our booth on our second busiest day. The Ambassadors provided 250 purely F25 DVDs to our community guests. As in the previous day, we fielded questions from attendees.
That evening, some of our Ambassadors attended a highly informative Red Hat Birds of a Feather meetup, facilitated by spot and Adam.
Later, a Game Night took place. Quite a fun and well-attended event!
Day 4: 5 March
Clint Savage (herlo) presented in Ballroom A on the topic of Linch-Pin, hybrid cloud provisioning in Ansible.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Ambassadors greeted about 250 people at our booth on this last day and supplied about 100 DVDs. We passed out lollipops on this last day which encouraged guests to stop by and say hello. Many guests shared suggestions at our table.
- The new banners and tablecloth provided turned out portable, functional, and overall beautiful.
- GNOME Boxes to facilitate tests of different spins/labs. Be sure to use it on a well-powered machine!
Ambassador Requests / Ideas
- Have another Fedora Day at SCaLE.
- Perhaps someone might request Matthew Miller to do a possible future Keynote at SCaLE?
- Recommend situating our table near Red Hat and Linux Academy. We worked well near these folks.
- Providing it is financially possible, sponsoring Game Night and/or supplying a Fedora display banner prominently during Game Night might prove advantageous.
- Providing food at our general meeting to draw more people.
Future event box suggestions
- Newer distros on USB thumb drives
- Lollipops/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 might garner increasing popularity.
- Meta Key Sticker: An ambassador suggested making Meta Key Stickers that have the Fedora Logo to cover the Meta Key Logos…
- T-shirts: These were a hit and all disappeared by conference end. Could definitely use more.
- Pencils: The provided pens proved popular with the community, but a few turned out not to work. Please have the manufacturer check QA.
- Lanyards for the Ambassadors: 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.
Community feedback: All days
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 110 respondents. 21 respondents appear to be using extremely dated versions of Fedora (
- All: 33 respondents had positive feedback, ranging from “Keep up the great work,” “Fedora rocks,” “Thank you,” and “Works great!”
- Marketing: 1 respondent and 4 passersby wouldn’t mind paying for some Fedora swag
- RPi: AX.25 for RPi3 Kernel
- Support: 1 respondent who uses Ubuntu thinks the IRC support in #fedora is lacking, compared to #ubuntu
- Packaging: 1 respondent felt Fedora could use more Wine libraries
- Packaging: 1 respondent who uses Ubuntu thinks that apt-get packages are more stable than dnf.
- Display: 1 respondent did not like the new Wayland. 1 respondent felt like Xorg was busted.
- Display: 1 respondent and 2-3 passersby felt Wayland broke remote desktop.
- GNOME: 2 respondents felt that Gnome 2 > Gnome 3
- Labs: 1 respondent felt the need for a Postgres/database Lab
- Labs: 3 passersby would like a developer related Lab
- Accessibility: 1 respondent felt accessibility is immensely important. He performs ally testing of distros to ensure accessibility.
- Display: 10-15 passersby wanted to try F25 simply because we have Wayland.
- Steam: 1 respondent says Steam support is great.
- GNOME Boxes: 1 respondent would love to run Gnome Boxes via Vagrant
- UnionFS: 1 respondent would like to know when this would be available.
- USB sticks: 1 respondent and 6 passersby would like USB sticks instead of DVDs for media
- XFCE: 1 respondent thinks XFCE needs polish.
- Rolling: 2 respondents would like rolling releases.
- Marketing: 1 respondent would like to see Fedora on RPi. Since it is on RPi, perhaps more advertising is in order?
- Sky: 1 respondent wishes Sky worked
- Architecture: F25 runs great on Lenovo Yoga
- Labs: RPi should have its own Lab. Or make it easier for people to find: https://arm.fedoraproject.org/ Advertised awareness of its existence would be greatly appreciated. This was previously reported for SCaLE14x.
- Fedora Day: 5-10 passersby thanked us for having Fedora Day activities.
- Marketing: About 15 guests enjoyed learning about GNOME Boxes.
- GNOME Boxes: Had to reboot systems running GNOME Boxes after running 12-14 different Live DVDs in a 2-3 hour session. More stability for GNOME Boxes appreciated.
It appears we left guests a lasting positive impression when they asked us if we work for anyone and when we responded that we enjoyed donating our time giving back to further the Fedora mission.
Based on our post-rollup survey from Ambassadors, we discovered the following:
- Expectation to talk with many long-time community users (happened)
- There appears to be a little confusion what “upstream” means
- We didn’t have enough t-shirts, but that will always be the case because everyone will always want t-shirts. We don’t have the budget to get one for everyone (3000-4000 units).
- We did have plenty of stickers, which were well-received. People enjoyed the variety and would like more different types in the future.
- There were many people that rejected DVD media because they do not own optical drives. Our release cycle means that we need to remain more flexible with our media. (anything in print)
- One respondent felt that more attractive swag would be great.
- The design of a SCaLE-specific Fedora annual badge was highly recommended for future events.
As noted previously: 21 respondents appear to be using extremely dated versions of Fedora (
All staff members and guests appeared to enjoy being there. Feedback on talks and training given by SCaLE speakers from random attendees indicated their high interest in seeing a Fedora Day track. We thank everyone who stopped by our booth and acknowledge all the people that helped make this a success.
That’s all the news from the Fedora Ambassador team and SCaLE 15x. Hope to see you next year!