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hpr1346 :: How to properly evangelize linux or why I use linux as my daily driver.

Riley Gelwicks gives advice on how to evangelize Linux

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Hosted by Riley Gelwicks (glwx) on 2013-09-30 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Windows, Linux. 3.
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Duration: 00:17:31


Twitter/Identi.CA: @rileyinchina(Twitter)

How to properly evangelize technology or why I use linux as my daily driver.


I started linux in 2007 with ubuntu 7.04 because I bought a cheap laptop in china that only had the entry level windows vista in the belief that I could change the language. I use linux on both my work and home pc’s htpc and a server, it really is just amazing the different applications and things you can do with it.

Current PC is using: ubuntu 12.04

Some rules of the road:

Find the right time to broach the subject.Maybe when a person has to reinstall windows or they get a virus, or need to repurchase some piece of DRMed software.

Don’t talk down to anyone, laugh at them or be a jerk. The people we are trying to convert don’t use linux everyday or probably have a vague idea or understanding of what linux is, your mission is to be as patient as possible.

Don’t harp on how bad the system they are currently using is, find a situation in which they could benefit from the use of linux. The reason why fanboys exist is because we have this inherent need to not believe we are not wrong, if we are not wrong then surely the other guy is.

Don’t attempt to tell the person what free as free not free as in beer is. News alert, nobody cares, unfortunate as it may be nobody cares about these things.

Use practical examples as to why open source just works better: for me that’s wowing my coworkers by running a webserver on my desktop and having them test the various pieces of software before we settle on which one to put on our work server.

Show them how you use linux or other open source projects in your daily life, to me the best WOW factor comes from XBMC on a Home Theatre PC, add in a PVR and you’ll easily see people’s mouths drop.

Explain how open source is inherently more secure Linux has less exploited exploits

Use current events: NSA, Viruses the end of lifing of XP to show them why they should at least attempt it.

Ask them what they seriously use their computer for, my gut feeling is that about 75% of computer users don’t use anything on their computers that doesn’t already exist or have a worthy replacement in linux or an easy web application. And if worse comes to worse show them that they have the umbilical cord of WINE and or a virtual machine.

Appeal to their frugality:

Finally but probably most importantly put your money where your mouth is if you are taking the time to evangelize a product give a person some insurance:

  1. Give a guaranteed tech support certificate to anyone that is willing to try.
  2. Tell them to give linux a one day, one week and one month trial.
  3. Help them install it.
  4. Train them, most of us know that desktop linux is for all intents and purposes essentially the same as desktop Windows or Mac OSX


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Comment #1 posted on 2013-09-30 21:01:04 by klaatu


This is great advice, thanks. I think many of us Linux users get a little out of touch and forget how we felt, and what appealed to us best, when we were just starting out. Thanks for the tips!

Comment #2 posted on 2013-10-01 16:49:35 by Ken Fallon

Personal feedback

I agree for the most part. I have won more converts through leading by example, than by trying to force the issue. Also having a stock of Raspberry PI loners helps.

I would argue that there are times when discussing free as in freedom can be used to good effect. I have used the argument when someone couldn't open a document on their word processor because the proprietary format had been updated.

I have found the frugal argument to be more of a hindrance than a help. Namely the "you get what you pay for" or "pay peanuts, get monkeys" spring to mind. So rather than saying it's free, you can explain that large companies pay for support. Or, that you will be expected to contribute back in some way once you are up to speed. It usually say that in a Vito Corleone/Marlon Brando accent.


Comment #3 posted on 2013-10-02 14:24:00 by Glwx

Thanks for the feedback

Ken I agree with you about the "oh it's free therefore it must be crap" aspect of the frugality argument. I would say something to them like well, it's costs nothing to try so so it's not like you're out anything if it doesn't suit your needs or tastes.

It's a sad state of affairs our modern world finds itself in when we all look at things we expect to pay for with a certain skepticism looking for the "catch".

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