Two weeks ago, we had the Education Expo.
Here’s my report, as co-ordinator of the Linux Australia stand:
Sat 14 to Sun 15 June
Rosehill Racecourse, Sydney
The Education Expo is an annual trades show targeted towards the K-12 educational space. Visitors consist of families and educators. Linux Australia once again had a stand, with volunteers spreading the word about free and open source software.
As always, we were very successful. With each passing year, the level of awareness of FOSS noticeably improves. Whereas at previous shows we would spend much energy expounding the basic concepts of FOSS/Linux, this year most people had either heard of it or were already using FOSS products such as Firefox and OpenOffice.org.
One thing we did differently this year was place more focus on FOSS running on Windows. Our past efforts have been meet with some resistance, as installing a different operating system posed a barrier to entry that many would not surmount. We had plenty of copies of the OpenEducationDisc to distribute, in addition to Fedora, Ubuntu, Edubuntu and Mandriva.
The fact that the NSW Dept of Education is migrating over 40,000 PCs across the state to OpenOffice.org was a useful selling point as well.
Our marketing efforts have been improving with each event. Our message is becoming more refined, and our leaflets are becoming more relevant. On the technical side, FOSS is becoming easier and more accessible, with projects such the aforementioned OpenEducationDisc and Wubi leading the way.
Our Web presence is improving, too. It’s far easier to point a newbie to just one easy-to-remember URL instead of confusing them with a list. In addition, I built an education portal for Linux Australia just in time for the expo.
There were at least two other stands that were FOSS-friendly. In fact, one of the largest stands were demonstrating their Web-based software product on about ten computers, all of which were running Ubuntu. Other stands expressed real interest when approached.
Other highlights of our presence included:
- OLPC XO laptops (from OLPC Australia)
- Intel Classmate PCs (from Mandriva Australia)
- ASUS Eee PCs
- laptops showing Edubuntu
Rodger Dean has some photos of the event.
A big thanks to everyone who helped at the stand:
- Ashley Lynn
- Ashley Maher
- Brendan Puckeridge
- David Andresen
- Gloria Arnold
- Harrison Conlin
- John Arnold
- Megha Kanth
- Pia Waugh
- Rodger Dean
- Vicki Burke
A special thank you goes to Melissa Draper, who was instrumental in ensuring the success of the stand in more ways than one.
LotD: Insurance company bets health on open source — I’m quite heavily involved in this project, so needless to say I’m proud of what we’ve achieved 🙂