Yesterday the DC LoCo Team was at Takoma Park Folk Festival yet again. This is the fifth year the team has been here. One man came over the table going "ok, that's a word from my part of the world. How are you using it?" Apparently he's from Zambia! He felt obliged to take an Ubuntu CD when we told him that it was started by a South African. We also had a visit from Mike Heney, who is running for office in this area and apparently uses Gentoo (he says because the IT people where he currently works know how to use Red Hat and Ubuntu, and this keeps them from interfering). Donna Edwards, who represents Maryland in Congress came up too, and she asked what we were about. Kevin started talking about open source in government. She said she definitely thought that was a good idea and expressed an affinity for Free Culture! She also lamented a future of walled gardens. I asked her to go against Disney when they start lobbying for more copyright extensions in a few years (Mickey expires in 2023, and government moves slow, so they'll start soon), because the Public Domain needs to be protected. A teacher with a computer lab full of Edubuntu machines in need of administration and nobody to do so visited the booth. Turns out her lab is about a 10 minute walk from the restaurant where we meet up each Saturday. We said to email the mailing list, and one of us would arrange to come by and get things moving smoothly again.
Lots of existing Ubuntu users came up with questions, and thanks to the magic of 3G I was able to find answers to the harder questions. There were also lots of "oh I love Ubuntu!" "Did you know there was a local group?" "I had no idea." "Here's a list of a bunch of local Linux groups." We had lots of handouts "for students", "for educators", "for businesses", "for designers", "for publishers", etc. listing Free Software they could use, thanks to the Software Freedom Day folks. This was our 6-days-early celebration.
Someone forgot to bring the little thing you can hold in your hand and click for each visitor, so our count of visitors is based on us attempting to remember to tally on a piece of paper. Of course, the hardest time to remember to tally or to count is when lots of people show up! We ended up counting about 120 visitors to the booth. That's about 30 fewer than in previous years, but given the rain in the early part of the festival and the continuing threat of it from the cloudy skies, no too bad. Someone else (me) forgot to bring the stickers though, so I can't blame too much. I did have copies of Ubuntu User and Linux Pro for people to flip through.
I guess one of the organisers (possibly the one at the Information Booth who looked at my OLF shirt and said "oh, you must be with Ubuntu") knew that Free Software can be a bit of a religion for some, because we were put directly across from the Presbyterians', Quakers', and Jews' tables. There was a lot of back and forth between our table and the Quaker table, due to significant overlap between the local Quaker and Free Software communities. Annalee, the clerk of Takoma Park Friends Meeting, is working on learning Perl to contribute to Dreamwidth. Another fellow at their table, John, is someone I've seen around many LUG meetings and other events. And Arthur David Olson, who dutifully remained at their table the whole day, wrote the software that makes timezones work in UNIX and Linux: tzdata (aka the Olson Database). He also took this picture: