ApacheCon Europe 2005 -- Report

At LinuxTag, 2005 the Debian Project booth was paid a visit by Lars Eilebrecht, who invited us to have a booth at the ApacheCon Europe 2005. We didn't know if there would be enough people to maintain a booth for three days, since ApacheCon began right after DebConf 5 ended. This used up most of peoples' remaining vacation. However, I offered to help, and in days Alexander Tolimar Schmehl and Axel XTaran Beckert joined in, so we got ourselves a nice little expo team.

We had a problem with accommodation, as the prices at the Stuttgart youth hostel are rather steep, especially as two of us incurred the addition senior citizen charge of 3 Euro per night. We then sent an email to the Stuttgart LUG asking for some space to crash. Granted, a rather bold venture, but the very nice people there actually offered us their floors and sofas! I am once more intrigued by the solidarity of the Linux community! Unfortunately no one was able to host all three of us and we preferred to stay together. So, we found ourselves another solution: We went camping! There is a campground pretty close to Stuttgart's city centre and Tolimar managed to get us a tent suitable for three people.

So, after arriving at Stuttgart on Tuesday evening, camp was set up, we had dinner and went to bed early in order to be at the Haus der Wirtschaft (House of Economy) as early as possible the next day. On Wednesday morning we took XTaran's car into town and went to the Haus der Wirtschaft to set up the Debian booth. This morning featured a little surprise for the two guys since I had taken the liberty to reproduce the long lost Mike Poster and had secretly put it up at our booth the evening before, while XTaran and Tolimar where still on the road. There were some really dumb faces, and some serious cheering and hugging and I now proudly announce Mike back in action.

The expo turned out to be rather small with only about nine exhibitors. However, it was in the same room as the catering, which proved to be a good thing, since most people used the room as a central hangout and there were always some people walking by. We had set up a nice and comfortable little booth and people were quite interested. However, most of them were professionals who have known Debian for quite some time and had already formed an opinion concerning Debian. So talk was mostly people telling us that they used Debian for years and they thought it was cool, people telling us they used to use Debian but stopped for this or that reason and some technical questions that could quickly be solved. There were usually also some rather quiet hours in the afternoon when most people attended talks or workshops.

All in all I think it was a good event. Debian showed some presence (we were the only OS attending) and there was quite some interest in the new Sarge DVDs, so maybe we even converted a few lost souls ;) The Expo lasted until Friday and we decided to conclude our trip to Stuttgart by a visit to the Zoo on Saturday. Penguins were watched and admired, little green frogs spotted on little green leaves and the lotus effect was extensively tested at the Zoo's Lotus Pond. Sunday featured striking and packing the tent (two attempts), getting everything plus my own stuff into XTaran's car (SEVERAL attempts), taking the exhibition stuff back to Daniel codebreaker Priem and returning to our respective home cities.

Meike Reichle (alphascorpii)