Use cases

  • Loubna goes to a computer fair. She might have heard of OpenOffice.org, Firefox and maybe Linux, but probably not of Ubuntu. She passes by our stand. A booth volunteer tries to get her interested in Ubuntu and in the regional LoCo team.

  • Piotr wants to stay informed of Ubuntu news: new releases, local Ubuntu activities and more.
  • Mahatma is a happy existing Ubuntu user. When a booth volunteer hears that, they try to help him become a volunteer for the regional LoCo team.


  • everyone can:
    • burn an Ubuntu CD
    • make a donation to the regional LoCo team

    • see how many CDs were distributed
    • see how many people actually talked to
  • a fair visitor can:
    • learn what Ubuntu is:
      • advantages:
        • complete system including high quality applications: OpenOffice.org, Firefox, ...

        • little or no viruses and spyware (technical and market share reasons)
        • market share amongst exotic systems
        • free software
        • standards: in control of the meta layer
        • native language support
      • disadvantages:
        • hardware support
        • closed proprietary software (Flash, multimedia,...)
    • try out Ubuntu:
      • surf the web
      • read email
      • office applications: read & write MS Office documents

      • photo collection: connect camera, view, administer, print photos
      • music: connect audio player, play
      • play video
      • play a game
    • learn why "something for nothing" is possible with free software
    • determine if Ubuntu is right for them
    • learn how to experiment with Ubuntu (on a computer of his own or a demo machine):
      • receive a free Ubuntu CD with instructions:
        • learn how they can use it to get a first impression of Ubuntu
        • learn how it doubles as an install CD
      • learn about the system most suited for beginners
        • a separate machine
        • at least 256 Mb ram
        • wired ethernet network
        • single boot means less complexity
    • learn about ubuntu-cc.org as an information hub:
      • forums, lists and documentation (native language and English)
      • contact volunteers
      • subscribe to ubuntu-cc.org news flashes
    • run the Ubuntu live CD
      • on a computer of their own
      • on a demo computer
    • install Ubuntu:
      • onto a computer of their own (single boot!)
      • onto a demo computer (single boot!)
    • get an Ubuntu sticker
    • ? buy Ubuntu merchandise
    • ? buy a system with Ubuntu preinstalled in cooperation with other booths
    • get contact information of an individual contact for the regional LoCo team

  • an existing Ubuntu user can:
    • become a volunteer for the regional LoCo team

    • join the booth
  • a volunteer can:

Booth Box Ideas

Modeled after the success of the Gnome booth box, this is an instant fair booth box. It contains all equipment necessary to run a booth. When you organize a booth, you receive it. When someone else wants to organize a booth, you send it to them.

Booth box content




2 computers compact powerful keyboard mouse

2 long power extension cords

pressed 32 bit Ubuntu CDs

2 computers compact slow no keyb mouse

2 power strips (4 sockets minimum)

black and white flyers

4 big monitors

10 pens

10 empty news subscription lists


contribution urn

10 empty volunteer subscription lists

audio player

table cloth

duct tape




multi card reader

2 foldable 3m poles

transparent tape

high quality speakers

2 candy bowls

empty CD-Rs

USB mass storage thing with real life example documents: .xls, .doc, ...

anti theft cables

paper CD bags with window

anti theft cables

20 empty plastic badges with room for name tag

cheap candy

strong reusable banners

Ubuntu stickers

Full color flyers for display

Optional electronic booth equipment

Sample documents


ethernet cabling & switch

free magnatune music

locoteam contact information

wifi bridge

Big Buck Bunny movie to attract the kids

And don't forget the booth box inventory list!!

The weeks before the fair

  • announce your fair presence at ConferenceAppearances

  • finding volunteers:
    • launch the question onto the mailing list
    • ask volunteers to reply to the mailing list, to encourage others to participate
    • find a second person to confirm his participation before adressing the mailing list
    • ask possible volunteers as directly as possible: in person, phone, messaging, mail
  • funding:
    • ask for a non-profit, non-selling discount! ubuntu is popular and will draw people to the fair!
    • be prepared to pay for the booth yourself
    • make it easy for people to make a free contribution at the fair
  • bootstrapping a booth box:
    • often easier to get contributions in kind: let the mailing list know what you need!
    • fairs are a nice place to buy
    • let it grow slowly
    • buy compact (e.g. TFT monitors instead of CRTs)
    • buy quality (e.g. plastic poster instead of paper one)
    • buy flexible, low tech, cheap (e.g. free black and white copier leaflets instead of full colour ofset printing)
  • logistics:
    • many volunteers have no cars! logistics!
    • getting the heavy stuff to the fair
    • borrowing from other booths at the fair
    • sending the booth box around

The hour before the fair

  • set up the booth:
    • news flash & volunteer fill out lists:

      • take enough pens and fix them to the booth with rope
    • consistency and simplicity:
      • 1 flyer visible: present Ubuntu itself and your team
      • keep specialised flyers away from the booth desk, but available:
        • what is free software, especially why "something for nothing" is possible with free software
        • kubuntu, edubuntu, xubuntu
        • OpenOffice.org -> ODF ISO standard; what are open standards

    • table cloth identifies and unifies the booth
  • When the booth is ready, do a role play a few times: a visitor passes:
    • what does the visitor see first?
      • does the visitor see a presentation about Ubuntu, whatever side the visitor passes from?
    • do they receive a flyer?
    • does someone start a conversation with them?
      • conversation:
        • WRONG: "Hello sir/madam, do you know what Ubuntu is?"
        • RIGHT: try to connect to positive experiences: 3 times "yes" and you have a psychological grip Smile :)

    • the visitor is a child (children attract parents!) => do we have:

      • stickers/plush toys/candy/similar
      • games (preferably 3d): planet penguin racer, ...
    • the visitor is a woman:
    • the visitor is a journalist: do we have business cards ready?
    • the visitor is a bling lover: do we have a beryl/compiz demo ready?
  • schedule breaks!
    • food breaks: volunteers need to eat
    • photo breaks: pictures taken at the busiest moments are the most interesting
  • are there enough CDs? if not: start burning

    • insert them into paper cd bags with transparent window together with a regional LoCo team flyer

    • continue burning during the fair
      • shows the powers of free software in practice

The booth itself

  • Think about your target audience!
  • We are teasing visitors into trying Ubuntu. This is a big jump already. Keep their experience simple and consistent!
  • A booth is also a social event between volunteers!
  • Enthusiasm sells: don't be afraid to go after every single passerby.
  • Never ever interrupt another volunteer when they are dealing with a visitor, unless that volunteer begs you for input.
  • Mentor each other. Observe another volunteer's way of talking to a visitor. Afterwards, discuss about good and bad effects. Switch roles and repeat.

Example Booths


NY Local Community Team Booth during the show at White Hat Security Day


Pennsylvania Local Community Team Booth during the show at Central Pennsylvania Open Source Conference

After the fair

Do a short debriefing, preferably over a drink or food. Create a small report about the event and send it to your LoCo team mailing list.

  • What went really well/wrong?
  • Did anyone try something new? Did it work? Is it already listed in this how-to?
  • How many newsletter subscriptions did you get?
  • How many donations did you receive?
  • How many CDs did you distribute?

  • Did you feel this event was worth the effort? Why (not)?

Ideas: to be sorted

  • organize introduction course/ install party at a less busy moment during fair?
  • Belgium specific: demo an ID card reader.
  • Nelson Mandela video: attractive, and not only to hippies, women, non-technical users
  • presentation machine (introduction)
  • elaborate free contribution
  • explain the freedom model, mix with
    • Shuttleworth the rich space tourist
    • OpenOffice.org

    • Firefox
  • wish list: printed version at the booth
  • do something interesting on the screens
  • people in front & behind the booth table is easier to demonstrate

  • visibility in height: poles, rope, tape
  • list potential volunteers
  • list of potentially interested people
  • ConferenceTopTips lists some BRILLIANT hints

  • UbuntuAtConferences

  • ConferenceAppearances


LoCoComputerFairHowto (last edited 2010-12-31 02:17:38 by lyz)