Cerea Fair Report – Jan 2010

Cerea is a small town, near Verona, characterized by a really huge exposition area, called AreaExpo, which counts a long series of events and expositions every year.

Before talking about the conference, I would like to talk a bit about the story of this event. Since I had the first contact and we got introduced to the possibility to have an active participation there, I was convinced on the importance of it. As Italian ambassadors we had to consider it as a key event.

Everything was possible thanks to Emanuele, friend and university mate, involved in some NPO of the area: LUGMan, Protezione civile, ARCO, etc. During MemoByte 2009, he introduced us to this fair and propose a huge Fedora participation.
I attended the Summer edition on August with Davide to have a look at the area and a better idea of the place. I was really impressed about it. Basically, the exposition area is divided into two parts: the exposition and the conference room with spots for 250 people.

The initial proposal and idea was to fill the conference room with talks during all the fair; I could say my best wish was to have Chitlesh Goorah speaking about Fedora FEL.

Unfortunately (and sadly) the Italian community didn’t answer very well (when I proposed it I got as answer only complains about the distance, the place, this and that…and so on…), so we (me and Emanuele) decided to do something lighter, less heavy (even for who organized) and with less resources required: a booth in the exposition area.

The (dream) team was composed by 5 people: Me, Alexjan, Marina, Davide and Lorenzo. The plans was to get there on Friday evening (I arrived on Saturday morning), stay there until Sunday evening. Due the impossibility to came back every night I arranged to sleep in an hostel near Cerea.

The exposition was really good, basically full of electronic, used stuff, radio amateurs, and various mixed booths. Indeed it was full of people; the organizations estimate around 10000 ~25000 people attended the event. We got also a really nice position, we were placed near the entrance, where all the people passed by after entering in the area.
A lot of people stop by and try the computers, ask questions and talk with us; statistically speaking most of them were above 40 years old, but I saw also some young people (not so many anyway).
The most common question people asked us were: “why not Ubuntu?” and “what are the differences?”; someone asked also “What is Linux?”. Next time I’ll bring a “fedora starter kit” with the most Frequently Asked Questions. :)

I really like the way we handle this event. My organization was a bit confused at the beginning because 1000Km distance are not handy but the team did and excellent job. In fact I cannot to say thanks to Stefano, who didn’t join us but did a fundamental job by helping me, like my right hand.
On my side, there are a lot of stuff that have to be improved, we manage successfully to get some CDs and DVDs (thanks to fedora) but due to some problems I couldn’t print the latest 4 foundation banner, we used the old Freedom, Voice and Infinity one.
Next time I want to design and try a new gadget concept. Instead of having CDs and DVDs I want to prepare and give a transparent plastic CD cover without a CD/DVD inside, but just information about:
• what is fedora
• how download and burn it
• how to join

Why this? Because, in Italy at least, most of the people who ask for CD/DVD don’t really need it, they need only the cover and the information printed on it.

Last but not least, this, for now, will be the last even I’ll organize in Italy. I’m now busy on FAmSCo stuffs and I still have to getting in and being more productive. Moreover the distance doesn’t help me, and I would like to see if the Italian community can walk without me.

I also decided to give my Ambassador polo, which is really big for me (I’ll get a new one two size less) to Alexjan. Like Max give to me for my involvement in Fedora, I’ll give to him because he is really doing good stuff for Fedora.
I have to congratulate with him and with all of the team, for the passion, the care and the effort they put on this event: I have to give my welcome to Marina, who will join our ambassador community.

In conclusion, this event was double worthy. Looking the relation with the outside world, we spot in a prolific (linux speaking) area and will give us opportunities to have at least two/three events per year. Looking internally we enhance our team, our relations, I believe having a face-to-face speaking was 10000 better than talking only via email and fortified your relation for present and future.

You can find additional photos from the event here.

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