FAD EMEA in Leverkusen

A FAD is an annual planning event for the EMEA community. The most active ambassadors from various countries get together to discuss what activities they should do in the next year, what events to attend and what swag to produce. The main outcome of this event is an EMEA budget proposal for the next fiscal year which includes a list of events we will spend money on, Fedora media & swag production. If this event didn’t take place it would have a significant impact on our activity in the region in the next year. because doing such complex planning via email and IRC would be very complicated, the budget proposal might not even be created. This year it was organized in Leverkusen, at 6 & 7 of December.

Two Ambassadors came from Greece, Christos Bacharakis & me. We arrived at Dusseldorf together at Friday, and after we visited a little bit the city, we took the train to Leverkusen. We arrived in the evening at the venue, where we meet the rest of the Ambassadors! We took a bus from there and visited the Christmas Markets of Leverkusen at the evening, and I finally get to taste the famous “Gluhwein”.

At the next day the meetup started, when each Ambassador presented a report from his/her country of what was achieved last year and what are the plans for 2015.

The Greek report was quite good I’d say :). We have ~6 active Ambassadors all over Greece, and in the process I realized that we organized a bunch of events in 2014 in Greece. At Jan 2014 we organized a fedora release party in hsgr, the hackerspace of Athens, where we gave talks & workshops. Giannis Konstantinidis in the island of Samos organized a series of introductory lessons to Linux and Fedora, in his University through out the Semester. At May 2014 the FOSSCOMM took place in Lamia, the biggest FOSS conference in Greece, where hundreds of users, developers and communities came together for 2 days. Fedora had a great presence there, as we had a great booth. I talked about fedora.next, and Christos organized a Fedora remix workshop. Our Ambassadors where also invited at international FOSS events in the Balkans. In October we organized a Fedora Weekend in Athens, a 2-day event in the local hackerspace, aimed both at Fedora users and contributors. The Greek community organized many talks and workshops, with quite interesting subjects, including vitrualisation and 3D printing in Fedora.

We then moved on to event planning for 2016, and we discussed in what conferences we should be in the whole EMEA region, and the necessary budget for our presence there. Matthew Miller(via a hangout we did) emphasized that we should be present in many conferences along Europe. Along with a booth, we should aslo make technical presentations & workshops as well.

Swag & media was the next thing in the list. We widely discussed the issue of not producing DVDs for the EMEA region and move to live usb drives, as DVDs end up being beer coasters. Not that beer coasters are not a fun thing to have, but that’s not the case. Most of the people in the region either have a fast broadband connection to download the latest image or don’t have laptops with optical drive (mine included). So I am in favor of giving away live usb sticks, instead of DVDs. One big advantage of this is that if we get stuck with a bunch of useless usb sticks after a release, we could rewrite them with the new Fedora image and redistribute them. That obviously couldn’t work with DVDs. And there are many cases that we eventually dumped hundreds of DVDs because the release cycle was over, and we would start producing new DVDs in a few weeks with the image of the new release. I’m in favor of switching from DVDs to USBs as well. I also attended FOSDEM 2015 in Brussels, and I noticed that many times when I tried to give away a DVD with the new release, I got answers like “No thanks, I can download it myself” or “My laptop doesn’t have a DVD drive, and I install Fedora from a bootable USB of mine”. But as Jiri explained us, a USB is much more expensive(~5$) than a DVD, and now we can’t print that many USBs. As a Fedora community we have a good presence in many events across the region, and giving away USBs would be very expensive. If we find a cheaper vendor, or if the price of the USB stick drops in the future, then we would definitely reconsider it.

About swag, many new ideas were heard, including making wristbands and beer coasters. You can see the full list in the pad

The current FAmSCo will be transformed to FOSCo, and we will have better communication between Ambassadors, design and the marketing team.

I hope to see you guys again next year, and until then, don’t forget to get saboteur!