Context

DevConf.IN is the annual developer’s conference organised by Red Hat, India. The conference provides a platform to the FOSS community participants and enthusiasts to come together and engage in knowledge sharing activities through technical talks, workshops, panel discussions, hackathons and much more. 2019 was third year of Devconf India. First was along with RootConf and second like the last year was stand alone in the Same venue as of this_.

When

  • August 2nd and 3rd, 2019

Where

  • CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

CentOS presence at DevConf

Unlike last year, I didn’t participate in organizing DevConf India. But I was there for another important reason. Because of some planning delay/confusion, Rich Bowen (Community manager, CentOS) couldn’t come to the conference. To make sure CentOS’ presence, I requested for a booth alongside Fedora. I sent a text to Rich and he agreed to let me handle the booth. We got a standee, bunch of stickers made and I was all set for it.

Aug 2nd, 2019

I reached the venue at 8am since I wanted to make sure I had everything I might need for the day. I was glad to see that the venue was open enough and right beside Fedora. I set up CentOS CI demo on the monitor provided and waited for the keynote to finish. Crowd slowly started coming in. First a few Red Hatters who knew what CentOS is, came for CentOS status updates. After some point, I opened the status page on the screen since it was easier to point people there. But then slowly other questions lined up.

  • What is this booth for?
  • What is CentOS?
  • What is CentOS CI? (often followed the question, what is CI?)
  • Container pipeline (registery.centos.org)

Since we were right beside Fedora, and people were hearing RHEL a lot in the conference, I almost always had to start with How Fedora, CentOS and RHEL depend on each other.

It was a great day and I must have spoken to atleast 400 people. Some of them were from big companies using 40,000 CentOS clusters and some of them had never heard of any operating system other than Windows that was shipped in their system. Variety of crowd, variety of questions.. first day was successful.

Note: Bamacharan Kundu came to the booth for a while and was kind enough to make me understand a lot of registry.centos.org so that I was able to talk about it.

Aug 3rd, 2019

I woke up with a sore throat and a little pain. It was not much and was in control after a few sips of hot water. I reached to the venue a little early to avoid traffic. Second was was more rough with crowd probably because it was a weekend and more people came. Second was nothing different. Similar set of questions and audience from different background.

Sankarshan gave me hundreds of extra CentOS stickers which never let the inventory go dry. People were more attracted to the stickers than I had hope for.

By the end of second day, I was in no condition of speaking, but it was worth it. Atleast it gave me the confidence that I can help my position behind a CentOS booth in a conference.

Things that could have been better.

  • DevConf India organizers were great for the most part. One mistake that happened was duplicate logo print out in the backdrop. Since I was early, I brought this to their attention and it was fixed in a couple of hours.

  • Should do a call for volunteers before a conference. I was able to handle the booth, but on the cost of not being able to speak for a week. It would have been nice to have a few volunteers as I couldn’t go around on different booths or attend any talks.

Unexpected things that went great

  • Meeting Brian Proffit and Christian Helmes, taking then for lunch in campus was great. I met them last during DevConf/FOSDEM and it was great to catch up.