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Re: Getting people into Linux

On Wed, 2007-01-03 at 14:27 -0500, Michael Wiktowy wrote:
> 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.

I have encountered these same road-blocks, as well as, the support
"card".  I would have to agree with the masses though, as where most
other consumer OS / applications are geared toward Multi-Media, and
Linux distributions / applications are still a bit behind in this area.
Out of the box, most Linux distros don't support Mpeg/MP3/Dvix etc... 

If a vested interest is the issue, charge the user $300.00 for the
distro and put the money back into projects / marketing / support to
improve Linux.  Redhat already does this, but it's market is directed
toward SERVERS and not consumers.

The best way to sway the end-user is to show them the goods.  Set-up a
system and show them what it can do.

Robert F. Chapman
Senior Manufacturing Test Engineer
Test Systems Development - WWTS
Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, Ca)

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