What is the Linux Presentation Day?
The Linux Presentation Day Switzerland is, contrary to what its name might suggest, not a single day where everything is about Linux. Rather it’s an event series whose events are held in various cities on different dates throughout the year. The events themselves are … well … all about Linux 🙂
The idea behind this is simple: Experienced Linux users exhibit different Linux systems on pre-installed computers, present various desktop programs (Office package, e-mail clients, media players, image processing etc.) and are available for all visitors’ questions concerning the use of Linux on their computers. Those who would like to do so, can usually try it out on the computers on site and find out if Linux could be for them and which system is most to their liking. The volunteers are of course happy to help with that as well.
If somebody then decides to give Linux a try and to install it for themselves, they are provided with contacts and points of reference (usually local Linux User Groups, ie. associations of people already using Linux), to whom they can refer for questions and in case of problems.
Who is behind this?
The Linux Presentation Day is an event series jointly organized by Swiss Linux User Groups, Hacker spaces and other Linux groups. The events themselves are organized and held by the local groups individually. They provide the facilities and the computers and – most importantly – the volunteers who take care of the visitors at the events and help them with all required information.
The events are free of charge, and all volunteers work without payment – so nobody is making any money from the Linux Presentation Day.
The reason why many volunteers nevertheless make themselves available for helping and counselling other users and interested persons, in fact is a different one: Linux is a community project. Many thousand programmers worldwide jointly develop – mostly in their spare time – the programs that together then form a Linux system. Other volunteers work on the user manuals, on the translations, others help with testing the software before they are published. And others again provide support for end-users, ie. help them in case of problems and answer questions. The entirety of all those countless helpers, programmers and users alike, is called the “community”. Sharing information and helping each other is an important part of the common culture within the community.
The software created that way is called “Free Software”. This means on one hand that the source code of the programs is publicly available (which, by the way, makes it as good as impossible to insert any hidden back doors). On the other hand it means that other programmers can reuse this source code in their own programs – as long as they make them freely available in the same way.
The Linux User Groups are an important part of this community. While communication and mutual support for questions about Linux are often possible only online on the internet (eg. in forums, mailing lists etc.) due to the geografic distribution of those involved, the User Groups additionally have a local presence. This makes it possible to get in contact with other Linux users at the regular meetings and, if need be, to bring a computer along for troubleshooting. Usually the User Groups also maintain own mailing lists and other forms of online help.
The first international Linux Presentation Day 2015 (initiated by the Berlin Linux User Group), besides events held in over 70 cities in Germany and Austria, saw the participation of the Linux User Group Switzerland (Zürich), of Ruum42 (St.Gallen) and the Linux User Group Bern. From this cooperation sprang the idea of a joint Linux Presentation Day Switzerland.
How can I participate?
If you want to learn more about the possible uses of Linux on your computer: Search our date list for a Linux Presentation Day event near you and just come by!