Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to "sell" Linux to our families and friends

We've all tried telling grandma not to open that attachment, even if the mail "comes from a friend".
We've all fought with Dell drivers.
We've all cried on the inside when dad complains about not being able to find a button in the new version... that was just moved 20 pixels to the right.

When we got tired of that, we tried to get them to install Linux, which we obviously use at home.
Unfortunately, we tend to use the wrong arguments:
  • They don't care if "the source code is public and anybody can change it". Even if they know what source code is, they can't do anything with it.
  • They don't care about the four freedoms.
  • They don't read, nor are they worried about the EULA.
  • They don't care about the license prices as long as it comes with the PC (or a friend/relative -usually yourself) can install it for free or a small fee.
Instead, try to focus on the things they DO care about.
And don't just talk about it: show them!
  • It comes with everything you need (browser, office programs, etc)
  • It usually detects your hardware without the need for external drivers (as long as it's supported)
  • The media player just works. No need to worry about codecs.
  • It's easier to find and install new programs. Just open Adept or Synaptic and search for what you need. Image editor? DVD recorder? Poker game? Expense tracker? you've got it.
  • Also, installing and uninstalling programs doesn't break the computer. Feel free to play.
  • Pentium II, 256MB RAM? Sure, more than enough for some distros.
  • No viruses. No spyware. No calling the tech guy every few months to clean up the mess.
  • Yes, you can try it, no strings attached. Here's the Live CD.
  • You can run both. You don't need to erase your hard disk, or anything. And you will still have access to your documents. Still not convinced?
You are welcome to comment on additions to these lists.

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