There ain’t no party like an Ubuntu release party. You might think that you are a party animal, but have you seen an Impish Indri? Some time ago, it was common for the Ubuntu LoCos (local communities) to host and run ‘release parties’, meet-ups, and get-togethers where members of the wider community come together to talk about all things Ubuntu. This idea has somewhat disappeared. But what’s stopping it from coming back?
For Ubuntu 21.10 we’d like to encourage you to get involved in a release party again. Let’s call it a warm-up for 21.10. Because of the re-rising number of cases of COVID-19 we recommend you run a virtual meet-up, reach out to people in the community you know or have worked with before, tell them to join and invite their friends, and share the Ubuntu love.
If you can host one we’d love to hear about it. Make a new discourse topic in the community category or reply to the one associated with this blog post. It’s a lost tradition that members of the community have been unanimously missing. It’s a chance to get together with your other Ubuntu enthusiasts and encourage new people to join in and find the wonderful world of open source.
We’re only a month or so away from the release (October 14th!!!) so any attempt from us (the community team at Canonical) to revitalise these initiatives systemically would be rushed at best. But it’s in our sights for 22.04. The big one. The next LTS.
With that in mind, we want to help you however we can. And learn some best practices to proactively help people in 6 months time. If you have tips and tricks leave them in the discourse post. For now, we’ve put together some initial suggestions and thoughts that we hope will help, but we’ll answer any questions and do what we can to help you with your release parties too. If you want our help just open a new topic on the forum too.
Once you’ve decided to host a release party and settle the date/time, you have to spread the word. To try and reach as many interested people as possible, here are some good places to advertise your party:
- Make fliers advertising your release party with the location and date/time information. You can pin these to notice boards and your friends’ doors, or attach them to social media posts, and in various Linux community places.
- Social media. Think about anyone in your area that has a lot of influence and ask them to help spread the word. /r/Ubuntu and the Ubuntu Hideout on Discord, are good places for letting other Ubuntu people know. And of course, tweet us or tag us on Discourse and we’ll help promote too.
- Local schools. This one is more for next time when, hopefully, COVID rules and restrictions are softer, but a strategy that’s worked in the past is to find the computer science department of local colleges and universities and drop off some homemade fliers. Local high schools might be interested too!
- Local coworking spaces.
As well as a chit-chat and a chin wag, it helps to have a plan, something to break the ice or entertain at the party. Here are some suggestions we remember from release parties of old:
- Ubuntu cake! CAKE! Even virtual you can still bake and show an Ubuntu Cake.
- Presentations that go over some of the new features
- Show off or demo the new release, maybe on multiple architectures. It would be easy for someone to spin up a Raspberry Pi and demonstrate core desktop and various features.
- Music. An eclectic mix of all types of music could be easily cultivated into a playlist beforehand.
- Some sort of raffle or drawing at the end to encourage folks to stay till the end
This is a tricky one. In days gone by this was easy, Canonical could send out barrels of merch to give out at the release parties. But with the pandemic and the state of vendors and distributors, this is a little harder this year. We hope to have this sorted for 22.04, and who knows, if you ask in the forum we might be able to get something sent out, even if it’s just stickers. If nothing else we can DEFINITELY get you some sticker set images so you could print your own? Some quick and easy things you could produce/purchase that do well and we might be able to help you fund:
- USB Thumbdrives (Make them bootable)
Laws, rules, and restrictions abiding, if you can and feel comfortable with an in-person event this is what we’d suggest. Ideally, you should hold a release party in an inclusive environment. If there’s food and drink, it should be available to all ages or at least with options for everyone. We didn’t list bars here because we would hate to exclude non-drinkers and folks too young to imbibe. Some suggestions for free or possible cheap venues are:
- Coffee shop
- Community center
- Asking your place of work for a room
Have some sort of survey (or just an open-ended question that asks how to do better next time) that gets emailed out to the participants to gain a better feeling for what can improve for next time. Thanking folks for coming and inviting participants to help with the next one is a great way to grow your LoCo.