Linuxwochen 2003 — Report

For the second time the Linuxwochen toured through Austria, and this time the Debian project did run a booth again. The organisation of the booth was done in a hurry though because I was a little bit stressed and did call quite late for help organizing it.

Thursday, 5th of June: business day

The setup of the booths and the whole event happened on Thursday early morning. When I came there between 8:00 and 9:00 morning some early birds were already mostly done with the network setup in the rented MuseumsQuartier. But I was still of help for some parts of it.

After a short while Mark and Werner came who wanted to help with the booth but they didn't have a computer with them. Mark had the table clothing with him, which clearly separated us from the other booths :) Werner had some posters with him so the people could be able to recognize us at first sight.

Because I would have been otherwise alone at the booth I called Stefan Kulka for help. It is always good to know that you have some persons as backup if something doesn't work that well like expected. Much thanks to you, guy!

Some time later came Werner back with his PA-RISC machine with which we had two little problems: On the one hand he wasn't able yet to get X11 running, and on the other hand his network card only had a bnc connection for which the network didn't had any support. So we had this quite impressive machine on the table but no useful method to show anything on it. A colleague of Werner promised though a little hub for the next day which offered a bnc connection, too.

The talks on this day were mainly for business people, the day was quite round and calm, and we tried through IRC on a notebook to get help for the configuration of the graphical environment.

During the day my wife came along and brought the sent Debian and swirl foils from Dennis Stampfer, just scissors were missing, to separate them.

In the evening Michael Prokop brought the printed shirts done by Gordon Frasier so we had a nearly complete day for the next day, which aimed for the hackers.

Friday, 6th of June: hacker day

I have been the first again at the event place, but shortly after me Werners colleague came with the hub and thus nothing held us back to install at least bb onto the hp machine to have something to show. But we changed that idea because the framepuffer console was quite huge and the processor wasn't the fastest. Because of this we installed francine to have something for the eye :)

During the morning Werner managed it to get the graphical environment running. Much kudos in that part to willy who helped us with this quite a lot on IRC!

During the day we helped quite some people with their problems and questions, there was e.g. this man who liked to use Debian in a hospital because it is possible to do a basic install without requiring a graphical environment. He wants to set this up after a first phase of familiarization because with heterogenous systems there might be problems at that part and he didn't want to endanger the project from the start.

In the evening I did hold my talk about exim in which I showed the ease of its configuration. After that the keysigning party took place. Unfortunately we had problems with the printer, but Sven Guckes entertained the people in the meanwhile while I was waiting for the printing to finish. This ended the second day.

Saturday, 7th of June: beginners day

On this day I was again the first — this time I was forced to though: the schedule started with my talk about the first steps with Debian and how to customize the system to ones likes. Although it was quite early in the morning the lyceum was rather crowded and the people quite interested to hear about the different update-* scripts and so on.

Because I had to do a little longer (the next lecturer wasn't ready with his preparations :)) my other presentation on the new debian-installer started with some delay. Unfortunately we seem to have hit a bad day for the image: the problems had been too much and we had to change back to the old but mature boot-floppies installation from woody and presented the installation with that. This talk was in my opinion also quite well accepted, at least the following question session made me think so.

On this day there were also several inquiries. Quite often they asked for CDs, unfortunately we didn't have any because I thought it wouldn't make much sense at the current state of development. I guess I won't make this mistake again any time soon....


The event was in general a huge success and also the Debian project was mentioned in the media: In the WCM (an Austrian computer magazine) there was a detailed report about all three days in which my both talks on Saturday were mentioned, and on Radio Orange they had a broadcasting with an interview of myself about the Linuxwochen in general and Debian in special which was held during the Linuxwochen. In the Cultural Broadcasting Archive they have the broadcasting archived in MP3 format for downloading. It is german language though, I thought you'd like to know before downloading and finding out yourself ;)

Gerfried Fuchs