Report from the latest Linux Expo Paris

Olivier Berger oberger at
Mon Feb 18 10:42:49 UTC 2002

First sorry for any english mistakes I'd make ;)

A somehow late report about the Paris LinuxExpo & LinuxWorld trade show.

We must first thank all volunteers of APRIL, ANFA, local LUGs and
other friends of the FSFE and the GNU projects, who helped us on the
joint FSFE France, APRIL and ANFA booths.

I'm writing down things I recall from the show, and thus this
report is not really a complete detailed report of everything which
happend. I was very busy on the booth and had no time to visit the
rest of the expo. I spent much of my time on the "non-profit" part of
the show.

First, some pictures taken by Rodolphe Quiedeville: (as you can see,
we enjoyed a lot ;)

The mood was, at least on the non-profit booths, as every year, very
festive. We had a very strong presence with a lot of associations (a
whole row of booths occupying the back of the expo)... all
non-commercial, and that's nice sometimes ;)

One couldn't miss our presence and I admit it was quite impressive, to
see this row: people must have felt the weight of the community (more
than 50 volunteers at least). I listed the different booths (I may
forget some still) : Videolan, APRIL + FSFE France + ANFA + (1/2 day), KDE, AFUL, ObjetWeb, Technop�le Logiciels
Libres Soissons, Debian, TuxFamily, Parinux, Speka,,
OpenBSD, ABUL+Abuledu, Linux-Arverne, Linux-Nantes.

The APRIL + FSFE France + ANFA booth was big enough to hold us all,
and also to store stuff, and clothes of friends passing by.

I should point out that it was so nice to have the Lolix booth in
front of ours, which allowed us some nice activities (lunch with pat�
and vin rouge, chairs, music, etc. ;).

About the contacts, as always, a bunch of interesting people that we
met (software authors, managers of companies or organisations, end
users, ...). In my mind, we had less need for describing what
free software is to complete newbies... Either everybody now is quite
aware of free software, or we didn't let enough room for
questions... but I tend to think it's the first option.
People are much more and better informed on the subject of free
Some were coming to have an update on the software patents issue, or
to know exactly what we exactly do at APRIL (were they looking for a
LUG, or to have more indepth on APRIL). Many people coming were not
computer professionals.
Many people there came since they were trying to launch free projects,
but didn't really know how to do so...

A lot of the people we met were very interested by the ANFA project,
from what I noticed. Cooperation with the southern countries with free
software seems to attract interesting of a lot of people.

The various items did sell quite well (TShirts, pin's, FSF books,
etc.), which helps to reduce the stored materials since last years.

We registered a lot of membership renewals, and contacts with new

We were also happy to see people living far from Paris, or abroad, who
had come for the occasion. That was really nice too.

We hosted who did a demo for the first time to
the public of their new free groupware tool... Unfortunately I had no
time to see the details :(

RMS' conference : it was free (as beer) and a big success: more than
a thousand people I think... but I couldn't listen to the entire
speach... He ended it singing the Free Software Song ;)

Stallman then came on the booth (and Lolix's too), to have a break and
chat with some more people... The guru did not attract crowds like two
years ago... but maybe because he cut his hair, and few recognised him
? ;)

The companies present at the expo seemed very busy (including those
selling non-free stuff)... is this a good sign from the market ?
Anyway, the developers and friends of APRIL who were on their
companies booths were sometimes very much unavailable, and sometimes
people kept looking for them even though they had taken days off ;)...

We should note also that many companies booths were much smaller than
those of the non-profit associations or groups ;)

The promotional stuff was very rare on the booths (times are harsh! one
would say).

We perpetuated the activist tradition of people preventing suits to
make business calmly with our small demonstration on the subject of
software patents. It was a good success, even if only few companies
managers joined in leaving their booth. Some of them may recognize
themselves on the pictures. Thanks to them for their courage. We
distributed some 500 leaflets to visitors
(see reported the event on their news site... Maybe other
news reports?

A small regret: no Gimp or Gnome booths, for instance... Those
interested might contact us for next year's edition.

There was a huge diner organized by LinuxFr... but can't give details
since I wasn't there :(

We should also note a simulation of the french presidential elections
that was run by The winner was Noël Mamére (green
party), whichever scrutiny method was used (details on This might be linked to
the candidate's positions about Free Software or software patents (my
personal addition: although he didn't respect his promise to ask the
government to change its policy about software patents, although he
announced it when he met RMS).

It should be noticed that next edition of Paris Linux Expo is not 
guaranteed yet... but we'll be there if it happens.

And, finally a big thanx to the team who organized the whole thing and
notably Loïc Bernable who synchronized everything with the people of
Sky Events.

Best regards,
Olivier BERGER (OpenPGP: 1024D/B4C5F37F) - Secrétaire de l'association APRIL
APRIL ( - Vive python (
Pétition contre les brevets logiciels :

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