The Installfest (Installation Party) HOWTO

Things to think about, decide and arrange before throwing an installfest.
This HOWTO aims to describe the details of organizing an installation event for the Linux operating system. Such events used to be about letting people have access to a new version of Linux, by means of a fast network connection to a server. Those events used to aim at professionals.

Nowadays, an installation event, an installfest or an installation party, whichever name you call it, is about professionals volunteering to help people who are not familiar with Linux to install Linux, or to configure their systems. In addition to the technical aspect, a promotional flavour is added. The term "Linux Day" is usually attached to an event which includes an installation event as well as basic tutorials, and may be a part of a series of such tutorials.

This HOWTO is based on experience from a number of such events, most of them organized by Haifux, Haifa Linux Club. While this HOWTO is geared for events in Israel, most of the information is not country-specific, so it should be helpful to a worldwide audience.


Ask the soon-to-be installees to register in advance (using e-mail, a web form, etc.), in order to be able to estimate the number of installees, as well as the expected hardware. A good policy for encouraging installees to register is to declare that registered installees will have a priority over walk-in installees.

Pre-registration also enables allocating shifts to installees, to decrease the evening rush-hour.

Make sure to explain that it is possible to install Linux along with other operating systems, using several pertitions.



Equipment may come with the location (for example a university's computer lab). On other cases, consider asking sponsors (such as computer vendors) to lend it. On top of that, you may declare a policy of priority to installees who come with their own equipment, in case of shortage.

Lending Equipment

This way or another, most of the equipment needs to go back where it came from. For that to happen safely,

Selling Equipment

A network card vendor can be encouraged to sell and install network cards in the party. Linux CDs, Linux shirts (including women shirts) and penguins can be sold. Sponsors may also offer their mechanize.

Lending Equipment to installees

Network cards can be lent on the spot to installees against a deposit such as an ID card. This deposit must not be given to an installer, but to a person who mans a stand (the CD selling stand, the supervisor, etc.). That is to make sure that when the installee wishes to leave, (s)he can get her/his ID card back.

Public Relations

In a world of publish or perish, not informing all the potential installees (and installers) might reduce the effectiveness of the installfest. Possible places: As usual in this case - the more the merrier. Build and maintain a website for the installation party with as much as possible information (location+map, times, dates, registration forms, etc.).

Women in Linux


Before the installfest, the following questions require answers: Answering these questions pre-hand will save arguments on the installfest itself.

Choosing Distributions and versions

The following arguments should be considered: If a new distribution is chosen, its best to make a 'demo' installation to the installers before the party, so they'll get to know the (possibly new and changed) installation interface and its caveats (e.g. "In the 3rd screen, if you don't click that hardly-seen check-box, you won't be able to make the system dual-boot").

Note that although RedHat is now keen on preventing re-distribution of its trademarks, educational Institutions, Not-For-Profits, Linux User Groups and Affiliated Individuals have explicit permission to re-distribute it.

Getting Linux

How will you get the required Linux?

Welcome to Linux


Schedule in advance the people to be present:

I am an installee who just walked in. What happens now?

I am an installer who just walked in. What happens now?

Preferably, you don't just walk in. We advise in favor of a preliminary meeting of all installers before the installfest, where policies can be brought up and discussed. Many of these issues should be set a-priori to the installfest itself, as gurus might have contradicting opinions about these topics. Listen to them, they might know something you don't.

However, once a policy was decided, it should be mandatory. All installers should install according to the same policy. Have a 15-minutes gathering of installers before the installfest begins, in order to update installers who missed the gathering (yes, some people really prefer to avoid arguing) regarding the policy, and ask all installers to comply.

In addition, have a paper ready which summarizes everything to the installer. A hard-copy of the resizing tools HOWTO is also a good idea.

I am in charge, what happens now?

The people in charge may take turns. A turn should not be longer than several hours. There are two functions for the person in charge, and they can be divided between two different people at the same time (but not more than that) The first thing to do is get a debriefing from the former manager, regarding topics which should be passed on. If there are more than two different managers to the day, the debriefing should be done in writing, to avoid lossy information passing (a "broken phone").



The HOWTO is based on experience gathered from several installfests, insta-parties and Linux Days, mainly Haifux's Linux Day, as well as on installfest tips formerly located at There is a GNU/Linux Installation Party mini-HOWTO in German, but I have never read it for technical reasons.

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Orna Agmon : ladypine at
Orr Dunkelman : orrd at
guy keren: choo at
Ezion Bar-Noy
Meir Maor
Omer Zak
Ron Artstein