CeBIT 2011

Ludovic Hirlimann

This year I had the chance to go to CeBIT and represent Mozillamessaging. I’ve been told in the past (well last year) – that the mozilla booth had been receiving a lot of Thunderbird related questions. So this year I went there to help the booth deal with Thunderbird and messaging questions.

I kinda of took a lot of notes while there so I could write this summary of what happened while I was on the booth.

Day 1

The first impression as a first timer at CeBIT, is the size of the fair. Everybody told me it was the biggest computer show on earth. But which fair or show isn’t going to say that. Based on the map I had received before going, it didn’t look *that* big. But when I arrived and realized that each block on that maps weren’t just “areas” in a big hall , but actually halls themselves, and that it took me 20 minutes of walking just to reach the hall 2 where mozilla had it’s booth. I then really was impressed with the size of the fair. I’ve now come to realize that the Hannover’s main source of revenue is probably the fairs happening all year around.Plus walking to the booth let me pass in front of nice places that solde bretzels, sausage and beer , I felt in German land (ie Alsace is a lot like that too, but they don’t like being associated with German culture). Even arriving after three didn’t mean I wouldn’t get questions from users (some tricky support questions, some general question etc …). I met fallen the project lead of Lightning, as he was visiting CeBIT. Then Tomcat went to the open source talks booth, to receive an award for Mozilla Firefox on the mobile platform. I once again experienced the fact that our world is very small. The mozilla booth was sitting across the Libre Office booth. And someone I had met when I visited munich last year, was on the booth. On the way back to the hotel I was wondering why my co-worker looked so tired, I was going to figure this out for myself the next day 🙂

Day 2

Second day started by me going to C’t or heise’s booth on another Hall, so I would get my pgp key signed. I did all the paper work and I’m now waiting for the key to actually be signed :-). I managed to do this before the fair was open to the public so I didn’t miss much of the action on the mozilla booth. It’s Friday and we are seeing less suits and more normal people. The crowd is a bit bigger than the previous day from what I can tell. Today I wore the Firefox costume twice. It’s hot like in hell when you wear it, and I sweat a lot – feels a bit like in a sauna – but after a while even breathing becomes difficult. So wearing it more than 20 minutes is a challenge. I must say I had a lot of fun being the fox, even if you don’t see much , people just love you, hug you and want to take pictures with you. So I think I’ve never had so many picture of myself taken with so many girls (too bad I will probably not see so many of them).
Swag is going away like crazy – the screen cleaner is confused with stickers. When you demo how practical that piece of swag is people realize that they want more and take one or two more to give to friends and family. Thanks to Rafael I had some Thunderbird swag (T-shirts and Stickers), that I kept with me and only gave to people who where actually asking Thunderbird questions. I then tried to compared attendance on the OpenOffice and LibreOffice booth. I counted 3 people on the OpenOffice booth and 16 on the Libre Office one, but I’m unable to tell the actual number number of staffers on both booths.

Day 3

This was the most tiring day of all. Attendance came by wave and many many visitors came to the booth. We had one more staff on-board as Kaie came to CeBIt just to be on the booth and demo the new features of Mozilla Firefox 4.0. We had plenty plenty of visitors and some of them were Thunderbird fans , and talking to them was cool ! I took the costume 3 times and it was even better than the days before.

Overall The Thunderbird demos I did went pretty well. I of course made a bunch of pictures during those 3 days.