19 September 2007

Software Freedom Day, er, Weekend

I know it's been a while since I posted, sorry. Last Saturday was Software Freedom Day, and the DC LoCo Team was very busy. On Saturday, we were at the Al Fishawy Café and People's Media Center. People's Media Center is run by Ryme Katkhouda of the Indy Media Center. She has about 20 Ubuntu computers set up as an internet cafe there and teaches classes on how to use Ubuntu.

Nick Wheeler (nick: Spec), Matt Gallagher (nick: mattva01), and I all went together. Before leaving Nick's house to get Matt, he and I printed out a few pages of The Free Software Sticker Book and finally got around to making ourselves business/calling cards so that people we meet at these events can contact us. Since we were representing the DC LoCo (and because I'm not a member yet), we put dc.ubuntu-us.org on the cards. After we got Matt, we hopped on the metro with a box of Ubuntu 7.04 cds, a large envelope of Free Software Foundation stickers, GNU & Linux stickers, ballooons, and a few Software Freedom Day shirts (front back), scissors, our printed sticker sheets, and a big roll of packing tape. I have no idea if taking scissors on the Metro is allowed, but we did anyway. Even though we were being jostled about by the train, we did manage to "laminate" the stickers with tape and neatly cut them out.

When we got to the cafe, Kevin Cole (nick: kjcole) and Jeff Elkner (nick: jelkner) were already there waiting for us (it is impossible for Nick and I to be on time), but nobody else was there yet (not even Ryme). Well, this is Washington, DC. There was a No2War rally/protest that day, so Ryme was away doing her hippie thing and insisted that we have a combination SFD and protest-after-party. Once the rally ended, people started showing up, and Ryme made delicious vegan curry. Due to the arrests at the protest, only around 15 people showed up, but we had some very interesting discussion regarding software freedom and did a quick "how to use the GIMP" for one of the guys from the Indy Media Center. We defenestrated the computers (well, their stickers at least) in the People's Media Center and put "power by Linux" stickers on the fronts of all of them along with Ubuntu stickers on the borders of the monitors.

On Sunday, we were at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. Kevin and Jeff did it last year, and they said this year was much better. Last year the booth was off the main drag and was somewhat ignored. This year, Kevin requested a different spot, and we got a much better spot. Someone brought a counter, and we counted how many interested people came to our table. There were somewhere around 150 people who visited our table, which I think was pretty good. One guy said he came to the folk festival just because he knew we'd be there. We gave out at least 120 CDs (some people took more than one) and a lot of stickers (mostly case badges, especially the cute cartoon-ish penguin ones). Phil Shapiro stopped by and got a video of Kevin talking about the event, so I guess that will pop up soon. Barry Warsaw (Zope & Mailman) was at the event as well. He was playing bass for a band when Nick went to see him, but when he finished he came over to our booth to chat. Of course, Nick and I were eating at the time and missed him (figures!), but he talked to Kevin for a bit. When a curious passerby walked over to ask what they were doing there, he helped sell the guy on software freedom and Ubuntu. As it turns out, Barry works for Canonical now.

picture of Jeff, Kevin, Nick, and me at the Takoma Park Folk Festival
Our booth. From left to right: Jeff Elkner, Kevin Cole, Nick Wheeler, Mackenzie Morgan

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