OpenExpo 2008 Winterthur – Review

Last week, Wednesday and Thursday, was OpenExpo at Winterthur in Switzerland. It was the first time that OpenExpo was in this city. The last autumn editions were held at Zurich.

The day of Timea and me started early but we were able to pick up Max on time. As usual Joerg was already at the fair ground when we arrived after a small odyssey through the suburb of Winterthur. With our experience the booth was build up in 5 – 10 min. This time it was quite easy for me to organize this event because Max, Gerold, and Joerg helped where they can. Around 09.00 our team was complete because Andreas arrived with the nice name plates.

The organization teams of the OpenExpo tried to bring up some new ideas and arranged a Hackontest. They putted some hackers in a cargo container for 24 hours. It’s a nice marketing gag but for visitors it’s extremely boring to see some guys sitting behind their laptops.

Fedora is 5 years old but a lot of visitors still never heard about it. Next year we need a big Fedora cake for the celebration of Fedora’s birthday. Or even better make a birthday party as a replacement for the OpenExpo Social event 😉 . The marketing machinery of Ubuntu is still better than our. With the help of the small Fedora flyer I’m trying to work on this. There will come another entry about flyers later.

The guys from Puzzle Inc. occupied a table right next to us. This company will sponsor a part of the FAD EMEA 2008. Some of us had really good conversation with those guys. They are very friendly, smart, and open people.

My personal resume after three times OpenExpo is disillusioning. The feedback from the last editions was completely ignored. Tables don’t work fine…they are too low to present something like the XO to visitors. And tables invite you to sit down and if you are sitting you are on another level than the visitors.

The usage of the textile Fedora banner as the only identification sign was not a good idea. Next time it would be better to use a beamer and display some videos and presentation at the wall behind the table. The Fedora Logo is mostly unknown. Videos or moving things are a good way to make people stop at your booth. Sooner or later the XO will not work anymore to catch people’s attention.

The organization team of the OpenExpo published in their press release that there were 1000 visitors over the two days. In comparison to the last OpenExpo in Zurich it feels like there where not many more visitors (600 in 2007, 1000 in 2008). At the end of the two days a bunch of flyers were left (less visitors than at Berne, or less interest in Fedora..).

A big thank goes to Timea, Andreas, and Max. Without their help it would not have been possible to cover this event and man the booth.

After OpenExpo are only two other events left for me in Europe (FAD and LinuxDay Dornbirn).

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