These are some notes we've made about the organisation and implementation of recent WLUG InstallFests (2004 and 2005).

You might also be interested in the (relatively brief) Installfest-howto.

2004 installfest

We'd never had one of these before. Daniel made the following notes:

Pre-fest organisation

  • We could have done with chasing up more sponsors. DSE stepped up and offered us some Mandrake CDs, as did Andreas from Yoper, although we didn't end up taking him up on his offer. Next time, we probably should - people can try it out. Other forms of sponsorship can include:

    • Network cables
    • Power distribution
    • Food
    • CDs / Duplication
  • Get the room setup entirely the night before. We tried to do this, it didn't work so well due to not really thinking about it in advance. It'd be great if we could get the whole lot set up the night before.
  • You will need a phone line into the venue. This was about the only major problem with our last 'fest - so many people had modems to configure, and we couldn't test them.

    • It would be great if it was a DSL enabled phone line. For obvious reasons.
  • Better advertising. As it turns out, it's kinda good we didn't advertise more, we probably couldn't have handled it.
  • Registration

    • Get a better idea of what people want - maybe a checklist of options?
    • Mail people updates about the 'fest as it gets close
    • Registrants pre-book tables. Non-registrants don't.
  • Provide some pre-day information to new users. PDF copies of RUTE, perhaps, or a Knoppix CD or similar. This won't always help (we had at least two people at the last 'fest who still used 386 class machines under DOS as their only computer!)
  • Provide some good information regarding WinModems etc. Specifically, give people tips on how to identify problem hardware ahead of time

On the day

Our fest went pretty smoothly, aside from not having gotten everything set up the night before. Things to think about:

  • More photos. Although I've not seen phil's ones yet, I think we needed a lot more.
  • An organised lunch would be good. The tea/coffee/milo/juice + biscuits went down really well - a sausage sizzle would have been great too
  • Organise different areas of the venue for different foci.

    • Put all new installations down one end. This way you don't spread these helpers out so thin, and the new users can (in theory) help each other out as they go along.
    • Put all "problems" at another end. You get experienced users sitting with each other, they can help each other get through their problems a lot quicker.
    • Or, alternatively, try to alternate new and experience users on desks?
  • Get a CD Duplicator of some description, and try to arrange things so that if you install a version of linux on someones machine, they get to take a copy of the media home with them. Gold coin donation per CD would be adequate I think.


  • When sending a thank you email to the mailing list, coordinate it so the president and secretary don't both send one within minutes of each other.

2005 Installfest

This year, we were far better organised. We took all the things we'd learnt from last year and implemented them where possible.


  • Sponsorship: We got pretty much everything we wanted from last year, except for the food. Network/power was all sponsored.
  • microphone and speaker/PA system was very useful for keeping order and passing information.

On the day

  • Things to test hardware:

    • Phone line: (In 2005 we had a PABX with a modem answering, so we could test that the hardware and ppp works.)
    • several DVDs so people can check their DVD drives and media players.
  • Better signage to the destination - text on signs need to be 500 point or bigger for people to be able to read them while driving.
  • We had on hand a small first aid kit for minor cuts etc. (We haven't needed one yet)


  • Next year (2006) we should put a link to a wlug wiki page on everyones desktop in the script.