Here is a preliminary report on Fedora's first presence at GITEX,
which just finished in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Note: The Fedora Project wiki page for GITEX is now at
I was able to volunteer all day on Saturday, 8 September, the opening
day of the show, Sunday, 9 September, and most of Monday,10 September.
Lloyd Almeida, a fellow Fedora ambassador working as an animation
artist in Dubai,did a terrific job of representing the Fedora Project.
A special thanks to Lloyd.
Keep in mind that GITEX is one of the world's largest ICT trade shows,
with an emphasis on commercial offerings. Free and Open Source
software (FOSS) is still very much in the minority at the show.
- Red Hat, our corporate sponsor, did a great job with the booth and
generating interest in linux and open source.
For instance, there were only five daily GITEX IT Solutions newspapers
published. On Monday, OpenNet MEA, a Red Hat partner, was the cover
story, featuring its new agreement with Red Hat, complete with a photo
of a gentlemen with a red hat at the RH booth. Since Red Hat was the
only major open source linux company present among thousands of
companies, this was an amazing piece of publicity for FOSS.
- The Red Hat partners in the booth, OpenNet MEA, Magirus, IT
University, and AMD, were a great bunch of people. They helped
distribute Fedora 7 DVDs and Live CDs to their potential customers and
anyone interested. They also directed people to us who had questions
about linux in general and Fedora in particular.
- One Laptop Per Child was well-publicized. There was a dedicated demo
pod for the OLPC XO laptop. People were actually taking pictures of
the laptop like it was the crown jewels. There was tremendous interest
in promoting the OLPC laptop in the EMEA region. Many people wanted to
buy one on the spot. I was privileged to demonstrate it and answer
questions for people as an unofficial spokesperson.
- The synergy among Red Hat, OLPC, AMD and the Fedora Project was
fantastic. Because Fedora linux is the base software for the OLPC XO
laptop, as well as RHEL5, with AMD providing the OLPC CPU, I was able
to tie together all the organizations and explain how open source
provides a virtuous circle of collaboration which is all too rare in
the corporate world. AMD had just announced it was open sourcing ATI
video drivers, so I could explain the advantages of open source, open
standards, and unencumbered binary drivers. AMD also announced the new
quad-core Barcelona CPU during the show.
- There was great interest in localization (l10n),
internationalization (i18n), and translation. We showed, for example,
how GNOME supported three dialects of Arabic (Lebanese, Eqyptian and
Saudi). I also promoted Transifex, and the Fedora Documentation and
- I gave two booth talks on the Fedora Project to an audience of IT
professionals just becoming acquainted with FOSS.
- One attendee literally praised God when I gave him a Fedora DVD,
saying that he was unsuccessful in downloading it for the past few
weeks. We forget that there are large sections of the world which
don't have reliable, high-speed internet connections.
Finally, thanks to everyone in the Fedora Project who helped out.
Finally, I posted some photos at www.photobucket.com
. See the
slideshow (flash plugin required) at