I visited EMEA Fedora Activity Day in Rheinfelden in Germany the last weekend. The journey was quite long for me. Originally, I wanted to go by car with Jaroslav Reznik, but then Jaroslav canceled and I didn’t want to drive 10 hours alone. So I took a train to Prague and went by bus from there to Basel, Switzerland from where I took a train to Rheinfelden.

I was the first one who arrived on Friday. Others arrived in the evening. The total number of ambassadors was 8 (3 from Italy, 3 from Germany, 1 from Switzerland, and 1 from the Czech Republic). Although the number of ambassadors was as we expected because of last-minute cancellations, we still got a quite a lot of stuff done:

  • we planned all major events in 2013 and made a budget estimation. We also agreed that all important events (LinuxTag, FOSDEM, LinuxCon,…) need proper planning and should be attended by at least one experienced ambassador to make sure that Fedora is represented well at these events.
  • we also discussed funding approvals and reimbursement process. Some people complained that Paypal didn’t work for everyone and we didn’t have any other means of reimbursement. That’s something FAmSCo should work on in the next months. We cannot change it ourselves, but we can at least bug people in Red Hat who can.
  • SWAG was also discussed. I think we’ve improved swag production quite a lot in the last year. We’ve got enough pins, stickers, media. I just received a delivery of baseball caps and mugs (every attendee of FAD got one). But it can definitely be improved. There were a lot of ideas going around. But as you know talk is cheap, so I brought a lot of action items in this area and we’ll make steps towards to making it happen.
  • another topic was ambassadors program in EMEA and how we can improve it. The main problem we have is that we still have a good stream of new ambassadors, but they don’t become new leaders. So we’d like to improve the post-mentoring process. Now, ambassadors have to go through mentorship (which we agreed is a good thing), but once they pass and become ambassadors they’re left with no assistance and it’s up to them if they get more involved in promoting Fedora. We’d like to change that and create some kind of “personal development plan” for new ambassadors. It should not be enforcing, but we should show them some path to grow in our community and pull them in what’s going on. One of the ideas was that we should make sure that every new ambassador is invited to and sponsored for one big event in his/her region. This way, they can meet other, more experienced community members and see how Fedora presence and promotion is organized.
  • another thing we’d like to do is ambassadors census. We’d like to contact two most active ambassadors in each country and ask them about the situation in their country (the state of Fedora community, events they’re covering, what they miss, what they’d improve etc.). Because we realized that contributors in some countries were very active on their national level, but were not really involved on the continent-wide level. In some countries, quite a lot is going on, but we simply don’t know about that because they don’t attend meetings, write to the mailing list, post blogposts on Planet Fedora etc.

EMEA FAD was I think a productive event and I’d like to thank Gerold Kassube who organized it and hosted us in a lovely castle on the bank of the Rhine. He invited us to dinner in a special restaurant in Basel where there is complete darkness and blind people serve tables. We spent three hours in darkness having dinner and it was a very interesting experience.
On Sunday, the Italian ambassadors took me to Zurich on their way to Milan. I then continued by bus from there to Prague and Brno, arrived on Monday moving and jumped right in my work. It was an exhausting journey, because it snowed all the way to Brno (I was really glad I hadn’t gone by car). I always ask myself if those exhausting travel are worth it. But I must say they are. Some things just can’t be discussed on IRC, Google Hangout etc.

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