Hey! Soham here, from FOSS United Pune. We hosted a Linux Installation Party in July. Here is a reference agenda based on our experience. Feel free to suggest edits.
LIP Reference Agenda:
- Request all attendees to RSVP via the FOSS United form, ask if they can bring a USB in the registration form.
- Prepare 5-10 USBs flashed with Ventoy and the chosen ISO (switch to GPT partitions,turn SB support on)
- Figure out the charging situation. If the event is being organised in a college seminar hall with laptops, arrange for extension boards.
- every person is assigned a volunteer beforehand from the RSVP data
- train 3-4 volunteers with exotic hardware (Nvidia/Realtek/etc. driver installation)
- Ensure a 1:6 or better volunteer to attendee ratio.
- Set up extension boards (keep the nvidia/gaming laptop users close to wall)
- Label and flash USBs from attendees
- Show how Linux can be downloaded and flashed
a. During installation:
b. Turn off fast boot startup
c. turn off bitlocker
d, ask attendees if they play valorant. turn off secureboot by default.
- Ubuntu install options:
a, Partition 1: /boot
b. Partition 2: windows partition
c. Partition 3: 1gb /boot/efi
d. Partition 4: 20+gb root ext4
e. Partition 5: 1x/2x of RAM as swap
f. Partition 6: windows/OEM recovery partition
- Discuss FOSS alternatives for commonly used software (eg. VLC, LibreOffice, etc.)
GNOME: Recommended for macOS users, or people interested in change from Windows in terms of UI.
KDE: Recommended for Windows users, very customisable.
Cinnamon: Looks like Windows, is sleek.
XFCE: Runs lean, good for resource constrained applications.
I might have missed some DEs. But generally, letting the attendee pick is a fun way to get them excited. I would not recommend going for a WM for a first install.
Good beginner friendly distros:
Fedora (GNOME): Looks unique, packages are recent, lower package count, focuses on modern technologies like PipeWire, Wayland, etc. Preferential to open source drivers.
Fedora KDE Spin: KDE version, might be preferred visually by some attendees.
Linux Mint: Looks very similar to Windows, easier to transition. Good installer and good support for exotic hardware.
Debian (Live): Some issues with initial setup such as sudo, but Debian is a solid choice.
Nobara: Downstream Fedora with good support for Nvidia, gaming specific tweaks. More of a hobby project by the developer, would recommend if the hardware is very exotic. Encounters issues with version upgrades.
Note regarding Ubuntu: Ubuntu was previously considered to be the universal default choice for a first distro. However, they have implemented a wide array of controversial changes regarding snap, advertising in terminal, etc. As a thumb rule, all of the above choices will perform better, but Ubuntu is still a GNU/Linux system if none of these options are easily functional. Ubuntu is also a recommended prerequisite for a wide variety of usecases such as building AOSP etc. Please defer to Ubuntu on a case by case basis.