[Nottingham] Thread #3: Awareness & Linux

David Aldred david at familyaldred.org.uk
Mon Nov 14 18:27:21 GMT 2005

On Monday 14 Nov 2005 00:41, Martin wrote:
> Folks,
> Any ideas and comments on how to promote a wide adoption of Linux?

1.  Make it readily available;
2.  Make support (friendly, local, and crucially *understandable*) readily 
3.  Get to the generation that is coming, rather than the one that's going. 

...like the lad at my son's school who has been going round giving out Ubuntu 
CDs to all and sundry.   I suspect he will make more long-term and effective 
'converts' than most!  (The fact that the school's head of ICT understands 
Linux is likely to help too).

I don't think awareness days are a big part of the answer - Martin, you've 
already identified the key problem:

What's Linux?  An operating system.  What's an operating system?
What's Linux?  A free alternative to Windows.  But my PC needs Windows!

So if people (even the geekier end at computer fairs) don't identify with the 
terms 'Linux', 'Operating System', 'Free', or 'Alternative', what tagline is 
there to get them in?

How to make it readily available?   How about giving out CDs with a written 
'basics' leaflet with it, a sort of walk-through some basic Linux functions, 
and a 'why use it' section.

How to make support available?  Perhaps we could develop a wiki with simple 
idiot's guide instructions.   Perhaps those of us with different distros 
could make sure that the idiot's guides are accessible to all distro users by 
making sure there are suitable versions for different distros.  Sure, we'd 
reinvent some wheels: but some of the wheels out there need some reinvention 
- they were written a few generations of kernel back and written for people 
who have a bit more PC savvy than most.

How to get to the next generation?   How about offering presentations to 
schools - pupils and parents?   M$ do it, and do it badly.   Offer something 
which covers what you need to do to make an M$ system semi-secure, and why, 
and present Linux as well (not pushing it hard, just letting it stand on its 
own considerable merits).  And as a by-product, you get the attention of some 
teachers as well.  But note - you need points 1 and 2 available first, or 
people will try it once, get horibly confused, and never come back!

David Aldred

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