[Linux-aus] Sydney Education Expo report

Sridhar Dhanapalan sridhar at dhanapalan.com
Sat Jun 28 23:57:43 EST 2008

Education Expo
Sat 14 to Sun 15 June
Rosehill Racecourse, Sydney

The Education Expo[0] 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[1], 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[2] 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[3] 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[4] are becoming more relevant. On the 
technical side, FOSS is becoming easier and more accessible, with projects 
such the aforementioned OpenEducationDisc and Wubi[5] leading the way.

Our Web presence is improving, too. It's far easier to point a newbie to just 
one easy-to-remember URL[6] instead of confusing them with a list. In 
addition, I built an education portal for Linux Australia just in time for 
the expo[7].

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[8].

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.

[0] http://www.edexpo.info/
[1] http://www.dhanapalan.com/blog/2008/06/11/education-expo-this-weekend/
[2] http://www.theopendisc.com/education/
[3] http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/FE73A77E2BB96F21CC257425007DCB21
[4] http://www.slug.org.au/~yama/fliers/
[5] http://wubi-installer.org/
[6] http://www.linux.org.au/linux
[7] http://www.linux.org.au/education
[8] http://rodgerdean.org/gallery/v/Education+Expo+2008/

Your toaster doesn't crash. Your television doesn't crash.
Why should your computer? http://www.linux.org.au/linux
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