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Re: Getting people into Linux

I have run into many little road-blocks when promoting Linux to
friends, family and coworkers. But two really stand out as
particularly difficult to overcome since they are not particularly
rational positions.

Primarily, since they haven't heard of it, they don't trust it. No
matter how many virtues you point out about something, if someone
hasn't heard it mentioned in the newspaper, on TV, by a celebrity, by
their friends, etc. they are not going to adopt it. The majority of
people are conformists and they feel comfortable when other people
around them are doing the same thing they are. MS and Apple are
primarily marketing companies that spend a great deal of money making
sure their brands are shown on every street corner and making sure no
one using their products feels alone. Linux doesn't (yet) have that
kind of marketing push behind it to achieve the self-perpetuating
critical mass of users familiar with "the brand". You would have to
somehow convince them that they are part of the greater Linux
community ... even if it is just bringing them to a LUG or pointing
out enough popularity statistics or big groups/corporations that are
using/supporting/promoting Linux.

Secondarily, people tend to value things they pay a lot of money for
and they take for granted things they pay nothing for. So if you are
going to someone and saying "Throw away that OS+apps you spent a lot
of money to buy and do they same thing with this free stuff" you are
going to be fighting uphill since they have a vested interest in
making use of this thing they spent a lot of money on ... no matter
how painful it may be. If you manage to catch them before they pay the
MS-tax or after their MS installation has horribly broken or won't run
on their old system anymore after updates then you have half a chance
to get Linux on their system but you still run into the first
roadblock I mentioned.

I have found both of these very difficult to surmount since they are
psychological hurdles rather than technical ones.

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