Software Freedom Day 2008 – Copenhagen
This saturday was Software Freedom Day. Traditionally SSLUG and our partners DKUUG and other interested organizations, have celebrated Software Freedom Day by taking it to the streets, handing out media and fliers to Aunt Tillie and Joe Sixpack and balloons for the children. This has always been great fun, but we started doubting the effectiveness of it – none of these people ever seemed to show up at lug meetings or on forums or anywhere else.
Therefore we decided to try a different approach this year. We wanted to try having a small conference like event and let people who were actually interested and curious about free software come to us, instead of approaching random people and talking to them for a couple of minutes at best about very complex issues.
With our advertising we tried to target students – primarily in technical areas and also new EeePC owners, who we expected might be curious to learn more about that strange OS on their new gadget (so far the Eee is the only netbook that’s sold with GNU/Linux pre-installed on it in Denmark afaik). Our advertising was pretty succesful with mentions in Comon.dk, Computerworld.dk, Prosa, Modkraft.dk and a large Danish newspaper, and possibly other places that I’m unaware of. We had prepared posters which we encouraged people to print and put up at educational institutions and of we announced the event on a few relevant forums.
We had put together a pretty impressive list of presentations in my opinion – Sune Vuorela, Debian KDE developer, spoke about benefits of free and open source software – Bryan Østergaard, Exherbo founder and former Gentoo core developer, gave an introductory presentation about the GNU/Linux platform – Leif Lodahl, Danish OOo spokesman, talked about OpenOffice.org (3.0) and John Andreasen, who teaches image editing professionally, presented some GIMP magic.
We hope to have videos of the presentations available online before long.
However we only had about 20-25 people in attendance, not many of whom appeared to be students, and noone – other than Sune and Keld – were wielding EeePCs. We had certainly hoped for a higher attendance – but we had also feared it might have been even lower, given the slightly experimental approach to the whole thing. It was my distinct impression that the people who did show up, had an enjoyable afternoon, therefore I rate the event as fairly succesful overall. But it needs to sink in more, before I’ll draw my final conclusions on what we’ve learnt about how to promote free software in the future.
The next event for SSLUG is less than two weeks away, opensourcedays the annual large and professional two day conference in Copenhagen, formerly known as Linuxforum. SSLUG will have a booth, where we’ll hopefully be recruiting new members, meeting and discussing things with current members, and of course, generally having a lot of fun. We also have a comfortable chair and an internet connection to offer, so please come by and say hello when you have a spare minute.