Debian again hat a booth at the "Systems" fair in Munich. This is mostly a B2B fair, and the focus is on "ready to use" products. So there are few new product announcements happening here, and not this big audience as of IFA or CeBIT. Still it is an important fair for the medium and small sized businesses. Noone expects a PSP to be introduced there... I staffed the booth on tuesday morning, and I intended to staff it on Friday morning, too (but was unable to do so). We were rather few people this year; also the organizational contribution of Jens (who died this summer) was missed a lot. Thanks to Michael Banck for organizing most things, and to all the other contributors such as Michael Ablassmeier and Simon Richter. See Michael Bancks blog posting for a complete list. Thanks also to e.g. the wikipedia staff, who managed to staff our booth for a few minutes while I went to the entrance to give Simon a free pass. Tuesday morning was rather quiet, few people coming by, most of which are either already happy Debian users or at least know of it. Few donations, albeit the few LinuxTag DVDs left were gone (for a donation of at least 2 Euro) by noon. While I remember people asking all the time about the pretty posters with Ayo's artwork last year, and we had a bigger stock of them this time, noone asked while I was there. So on overall, I don't think it paid off for the project. :-( A couple of people had technical questions which I was usually able to give the relevant pointers for solving them. The recurring question "when is sarge going to be released" was obviously not an issue any more; one guy asked when etch was going to be released and I was able to quickly pull out the announcement by the release team with the end-of-2006 schedule. I was rather disappointed with the few people coming by, but probably tuesday morning was a rather unrepresentative time. The only two "important" conversations I had there was with someone from a PHP magazine who are interested in including a Sarge+PHP5+MySQL5 CD with an upcoming issue (I can't do that, I hope they'll find someone else to prepare the CD for them!) and with the people from LiMux (the upcoming linux switch of the city of munich) which sounded (to me) much like the current delay of the project is mostly due to management issues than due to Debian/GNU/Linux lacking some features. They couldn't really tell me what the Debian project could do to support LiMux. Debian being used for LiMux is something I'm really looking forward to, and I would have loved to see a demo of it at the Systems, but apparently the project isn't that far yet. :-( I didn't see much of the Systems otherwise - I had to hurry back to the university when I left the booth, so I didn't visit any other booth. The last few times it wasn't too interesting for me anyway, since none of the products (except the OSS projects) is targeted at my audience obviously. And I'm not the type to walk around to collect as many free CDs and ball pens as possible. I remember that last year you could have your face "imprinted" in a block of transparent resin with small bubbles or so; no idea if that was free or at a low charge, though. You used to get popcorn and such stuff at a couple of booths etc. - and a lot more of such stuff back in DotCom times - but it never interested me too much. And last year I think a conference hotel had the booth opposite of us and gave away free beer... anyway, I didn't even check if the LiMux booth maybe had one of these nice munich-penguin pins... I had considered to walk around and ask for sponsorship at a coupld of places for some projects I'm invovled in, but I don't think I'm good at that anyway... So my feelings are rather mixed. I really hope we'll have more people for the booth next year, because I'll not be available then: I'll hopefully be in finishing my diploma thesis by then.