GNU/Linux Install Party

  8 years ago

Organizing a LinuxMint Install Party

An install party was once a spectacle for dozens or even hundreds of computer enthusiats which needed hours to install Linux, choosing the right kernel moduls, compiling them, installing loads of software and drivers supported by high educated post docs and developers and often YAST as one of the first comfortable install tools coming with SUSE.

Times are changing and now installing is simple and needs concentration only while entering BIOS or UEFI and then while partitioning. Further we need only a few clicks, a login and some 30 minutes to copy files by the sophisticated install tools. Avarage Linux experience is by far enough to run a Linux party nowerdays.

The main skills might be social skills, since the visitors should be able to trust you. The task doesn't need high potentials anymore, but the task is huge!
Why? The garbage versions of weaker operating systems sum up to a market share of almost 30% ( W8.1~13.1%, XP~12%, W8~2.9%, Vista~1.6% ;, june 2015). Computers won't be upgraded just by spreading millions of gratis DVD's with magazins. Cause so many people reach out for the change but don't trust their own abilities.

Install parties can multiplicate the speed of change. And we, the LinuxMint community, have a higher resonsibilty since we represent the most popular Distro.
I want to raise that market share of one percent up to a third within the next two years - at least in the the small sphere of my influence. And i will support anyone who want to do the same, even personally at your location as far as i can afford it.

Team: 2 installing, 2 socializing

We need to be 2 or more persons able to install LinuxMint. Being two allows to discuss problems. Furthermore it is possible one of both works fast on the computers which get installed easily. At the same time the other one cansolve harder problems.

It is not easy to install computers and socialize with new guests. So we need at least one person to welcome the people, better two. The second task is making a list of order for further installations and take note of mail addresses of all visitors. If there are two, the second person can present how to use LinuxMint on a LapTop.

Location: central with internet, better quiet

The more guests the better the party. So we want to be situated in the city center, close to public transport and parcing lots available.

The location should have at least desks big enough to collect incoming and outgoing people on a first desk. Then space on a second desk for installations. There have to be a power plug and internet connection. WLan/WiFi is fine when proven it is reliable, better we have cable connections.

At least we should have water for free. Better there will be served a wide choice of drinks and food. If the location is crowded, runs music or television loudly a separate room is highly recommended.

Date & Time

Potential guests should have time and the location should be free that day. So i recommend an evening in the beginning of the week, when peoples calendars are not full with family and events. A couple of Linux user groups compete with family time and birthday parties at the weekends.


To keep control of the event we need an official webpage with the official invitation. The webpage should be free and should be accessible without login. All the team should have accounts to login. If possible the barriers of user policies should be low, for example to allow user accounts just for the purpose of this party. Most blog providers are fine, for example or similar.

Important information

The install party invitation (link to example) should contain: Date and time; location including an image of a map with parking, public transport stations, bus stops and links to OpenStreetMap or another mapservice; some plain advantages to the users, short description of GNU/Linux and the kind of installation (dualboot).

Make clear where they can get support after having the brand new installation. For example a regular meeting and the bulletin boards.

Mention the visitors to make their usual back ups and bring the powerplug for Laptops. If you provide mouse, keyboard, monitor, publish users don't need to carry more than the desktop box.

Make the invitations public

Make your invitations public on different communities: regional and local forums; GNU/Linux forums like LinuxMint, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Archlinux, Manjaro, libreplanet, local freenet group, ...; social media;, if affordable.

Use advertising columns. Find organizations which support your volunteering effort: cultural and solidiraty clubs, unions, welfare organizations.


To all GNU/Linux friends the equipments might be the most simple thing. Probably you will find easily new ideas to add to this check list. The equipments are ordered by importance:

  • Extension cords with multiple plugs
  • universial power plug for laptops wuth adjustable voltage
  • prepared install media on USB memory sticks and DVD
    • i recommend the newest version LinuxMint MATE 32bit in general;
    • and LinuxMint Xfce 32bit for computers with less than 1 GB RAM;
    • LinuxMint MATE 64bit  for UEFI installaiton;
    • Memory sticks with Virtualbox or Vmware and ISO-files for virtual installations.
  • more empty USB memory sticks and DVD's
  • external DVD player and burner
  • permanent maker to write on DVD's
  • transparent and colored adhesive tape, a scissor
    • many purposes, one is to fix on USB memory sticks and write the
  • list with keys to enter BIOS by make and product line, etc. ...
  • Collection of useful cables
  • private Laptops of your stuff to lookup information
  • Laptop to present and test out usage of GNU/Linux for new guests (one or more)
  • USB Wifi connector
  • Wifi Range extender and RJ45 network cable
  • USB Keyboard(s), mouse(s) and maybe for PS/2
  • standalone monitor
  • maybe Raspberry Pi for demonstration purposes
  • signs, in case the location is not easy to find, we just use pouch laminated DIN-A4 pages, each with a Tux and an arrow (5 pages).
  • printed installation tutorials, to prove how easy it is and to find more installing supporters

What else?

After installing ask them for an email address and to send you some lines about their first experiences to get your feedback. Invite them to your regular meeting for any further questions. Some think we should provide some give always (like companies with poor products) while i recommend just to install LinuxMint as the best gift we can make to any computer user.

Write a report to the official page even if the result was less then expected.

Other resources:


Rebel450 8 years ago

.... ahm - ya. Tutorial ... :-S

lib2know 8 years ago

confirmed, it always has been in the tutorial section and never in the ideas section. But it is still awaiting an official review. So it is not clear if it is a tutorial. Last but not least every real tutorial needs a comment "This is not a tutorial..." by ... can't recall his name :-)

The only major change is described in my comment below.

by the way: Allegations made in the first comment by @Hammer459 this text was copied (from wikipedia or anywhere else) are completely wrong allegations - just lies.

MagicMint 8 years ago

@Rebel450: I think it’s always has been a tutorial ;-)

Rebel450 8 years ago


this article should move from the "ideas" section to the "tutorials" section
now - because it is not really an idea -
but a very good step by step guide for those planning an event.

Your hard work is highly appreciated.

Rebel450 8 years ago

Good idea now. +

aanjusuf 8 years ago

Good ideas, very detailed and helpful :)

lib2know 8 years ago

i removed the lines between the first and the second heading:
"There are many ways to do it. This is a Tutorial explains how to start a GNU/LInuxMint install party in a small group and a small or intermediate group of persons who want to upgrade their computers to GNU/Linux."
Then added four paragraphs as an introduction.

Not long ago i traveled pretty far to support an install party. We met their with complete equipment and a supporting team and NO guests. Why?
The founder of the group refused to publish an invitation until the day after (!) the party.
That makes pretty clear why it is useful to collect all the most important (and even obvious) details in a tutorial. It can make clear the team agrees in important decisions and nothing essential will be forgotten.

This tutorial is completely and originally written for the LinuxMint community. Someone mentioned in the comments i would have copied text. That was a complete and destructive lie.
Lying about others, in my opinion, is much worse than the usual latrinalia poetry in the comment spam column. And it happened not for the first time here. I wonder where are the limits in that community and it seems to me anyone who would care is obviously gone after uncountable nasty comments.
But i am still here :-) cause i don't care.

MagicMint 8 years ago

Seriously, you need a tutorial to make up a party ? ;-)

Hammer459 8 years ago

Instead of copying the text just post a link in the Forums to the wikipedia page that you copied (including the incorrect name GNU/LinuxMint)