First of all I’m writing this post because it can be useful for other countries in Latin America and even other regions like APAC. I realize that countries and regions are different from each other but we can share experiences in order to improve things and make them work better for our ambassadors everywhere.
In Brazil and LATAM in general, we always had problems when producing and shipping Fedora media. The first problem was the budget. Money was hard to get and the process used to take at least a couple months. The second problem, a consequence of the first, was that media was produced too late in the release cycle, sometimes not in time for the events or sometimes shipped using a faster shipment – usually more expensive – so that ambassadors could get them in time. The third problem, was receiving the reimbursement for shipping, what usually happened only in the next release cycle.
An attempt to solve this issue was buying a media duplicator. Unfortunately that didn’t work in the long term. The machine was way too low to copy and print the amount of discs needed, the ink could only be bought in the United States and the maintenance costs were not worth it. Even so, that was a good idea by that time and I supported it. Although not ideal, the media duplicator gave us agility to produce media right before a Fedora release and was appropriated for small events.
Then the machine broke, I was elected for FAmSCo for the first time and fortunately the community credit cards were in place some months after. The community credit card was the first step to get this fixed and I came up with the idea of mass production. For Fedora 15 we tried this for the first time. I sent the original media for production in São Paulo and the company gave us the shipment as courtesy due to the quantity we asked them to produce. A couple weeks after that they shipped the produced media back to me and I started to ship to our ambassadors.
I would like to thank Neville for supporting this as the community credit card holder in LATAM. Without his help that would just not work. This model worked pretty well but we ended with some undesired leftovers. In order to avoid this, for Fedora 16 the Brazilian Ambassadors were asked to post by forehand in a Track ticket how many media they would need during the first six months of the life cycle, so I could base the production on those numbers. I considered a production a bit bigger then they initially asked to make sure we would be able to cover future requests as well and I’m really glad that this time we were able to ship everything and on time.
We still need to work to improve the swag production, but since we figured out the media issue this will be easier now. All Fedora 16 media is now shipped to ambassadors around the country and it is time to start working on quotations for Fedora 17 media.