Checklist for a booth

This list intends to help people organizing a booth for the Debian project at any exhibition. Please send comments to

Organizing a booth

This list is ordered. However, some items can be done in parallel, of course, some other can be done in different order.

  1. If you are aware of an event in which Debian could possibly take part, mail to debian-events-<region> - this also applies if you are not planning to run a booth.
  2. Running a booth only makes sense if there are two or more people sharing the work. Consider asking debian-events-<region> for help if you do not have enough help. If nobody else wants to or could help, please reconsider running a booth.
  3. Now that there are some people who will help at the booth, make sure you have at least one machine is avaliable at the booth for showing off debian - as one alternative, the debian events box is available for this. Ask If no machines are available, please reconsider running the booth, since without machines it'll be quite empty.
  4. Now when both people and machines are available, it is time to contact the administration and ask them about a free booth for the project.
  5. It has proven helpful at many events to coordinate the event in the Debian Wiki using the form on the Debian events page there.
  6. Please ensure that the booth will actually have furniture.
  7. Please ensure that the booth will have a power plug and IP connectivity.
  8. Check if there will be walls to put posters on.
  9. If posters can be used, check out if you can afford printing large posters or get some sent to you (check out the material for booths). Debian can also refund the costs of printing large posters.
  10. Check out if you can afford phrasing, designing and printing flyers so that visitors can take something with them. (Check out the material for booths).
  11. If somebody will be at the booth who is capable of holding a talk covering Debian in general or a specific angle of the project, ask them to sign up at the administration if they would like to accept this talk. In any case, you can always schedule talks within the booth, be sure to place the schedule in advance (the first day) so that people are aware of it.
  12. Even if no formal talk is being organised, you can always ask the administration for some room to organize a Birds of a Feather (BOF) meeting. A BOF is an informal meeting between developers and users with no outline in which anyone can ask any question they are interested in. They are quite enlightening because developers get the chance to know what people think and people get to answer the questions they have.
  13. Negotiate with the administration how many tables and chairs are required at the booth.
  14. Please ensure that there will be enough power splitters at the booth so the machines will actually be able to be turned on.
  15. Please ensure that there will be enough network cables and hubs/switches at the booth so the boxes can be connected.
  16. Bare tables don't look nice, you may want to consider using white table cloths so the whole booth will look more professional.
  17. If you want to sell anything (t-shirts, cds, pins, caps etc.), you'll have to contact the administration first to find out whether this is permitted at all. There are some major events where selling stuff at booths is not permitted at all.
  18. If the administration is fine with you selling stuff at the booth, you have to find out whether there is a state or local law that prohibits this (especially if the event takes place on a Sunday). The event administration may be able to help.
  19. If you are selling stuff, you should not emphasize on making money at the booth. It may also look strange if you ask for a gratis booth etc. and then sell something and make lots of money at the booth.
  20. On some events a social event is organised for speakers and exhibitors. Check out if there will be one and how you can attend it if you are interested. As a rule of thumb: A social events usually is quite nice since you meet people from other projects and companies and can relax outside of a stressful exhibition.
  21. Please ensure to take enough fingerprints of your GnuPG key with you so others can sign it. Please also don't forget a passport or drivers license to prove your identity.
  22. If you can get money to do more things for the booth you can read some good ideas regarding merchandising in booths.
  23. When people and machines are available, please ensure that the entire booth staff can operate the machines. That requires a demo account with a password known to the entire booth staff. This account should be allowed to run sudo apt-get if the machines are connected to the network and have access to a Debian mirror.
  24. It would be nice if one of the people who are staffing the booth would write up a short report after the show so Debian Weekly News could report about the show afterwards.

Mails covering organization of the booth and talks should be sent to one of the mailing lists so they get publicly recognized, archived and can attract more interested people to attend.

If you don't want to send such mails to a public list, you can always send them to so we can give some hints to you if required or useful. We won't step in contacting the administration bypassing your effort, though.

Running the booth