How I introduce Open Source Software to new people

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    • #339

      I wrote this piece on

      …I will admit that if someone has already made up their mind not to give something new a try, then there is no sense in wasting your time trying make them re-think there decision.

      Among those who give such excuses there are those who are just repeating what they have heard or read and really do not a have any of their own information or experience to draw from. They are easy to pick out once you have heard hundreds of different people say almost the exact same thing like I have. It is not that hard though, all you have to do ask a few questions and you can easily determine if they are just repeating what they have heard or actually have their own reasons for not wanting to give Linux a try.

      Here is what I do.

      Ask them if they use IE, WMP(Windows Media Player), Quicktime, Itunes, Word, Excell, PowerPoint, Access and always ask them how many Anti-Viruses they are using. You have to make sure that you always end with the AntiViruses, trust me, I tell you why in a second.

      You will find that roughly 99% of the people you talk to do not even use all of those programs I listed and do not use any outside of it. Almost all of them only use, IE, Word, WMP maybe Quicktime a little and whatever Anti-Virus or Anti-Viruses they have installed.

      After you ask them how many Anti-Viruses they use, they will ask it back to you

      “How many Anti-Viruses do I use?” – “Do you have more than one Anti-Virus on your computer?”
      Many people do not, but many do use more than one. This is where I tell them,

      “When I ran Windows I used, Ad-Aware, AVG, Spybot, Spywareblaster, Spyware-Doctor, Webroot and Registry Mechanic.”
      Which by the way is true, I had all of them on my computer and between them I could keep my system fairly safe, fairly.

      Ask them if they have ever heard of Firefox. Some will ask,

      “What is Firefox?” – “Firefox is a browser.”
      “What is a browser?” – “It is a program that you use to surf the Internet.”
      “You mean like IE?” – “Exactly, only it is a lot safer than IE.”

      Here is where I go into the features, import of favorites and reasons it is safer than IE like,

      “Because it is not a part of the operating system, it is a lot harder for spyware to damage your system when using Firefox.” Which is technically true, technically.

      Now for those who know of Firefox and/or already use it then you will not have to have the previous conversation.

      Since almost all of the people who use MS-office only use Word, ask them if they have ever heard of I have only ever had one person say yes to that question, only one.

      Say to them,
      “OpenOffice allows you to view, modify, save and send the changed document in MS format and it does not cost $500, actually it does not cost a thing.”

      I have to tell you, that a lot of people are not happy when they buy a new computer and then are told by the store employee that it does not come with Word or Office and that if they want it, it will cost hundreds of dollars. If you can get people to listen to you long enough to get to the parts about compatibility and price. Many will not leave until they get the web address from you.

      If I can get most or all of the way through these steps then I know I can re-visit the Linux question and show them that it just might be something that could work for them. When I explain the Root and User separation built into Linux, how it makes the computer safer and that they will not need multiple Anti-Viruses or have to re-format their Hard Drive every six months because windows does not actually delete anything, they start to actually look at the retail Linux box I have already handed them.

      Is this system perfect? No. You may talk about one thing before another or skip over something or do it in reverse, every conversation is unique. I do it this way because I inform them of choices they may not of known of, open them up to new ways of doing something and not make them feel like they were wrong or stupid. If I do it right, they do not even feel their own shift in opinion or preference.

      I should expand on this some more and I will. But I thought that giving you the basics of what I do might help others in getting past the FUD without alienating the person you are talking too. Changing someones opinion or stance without making them feel stupid takes practice, and I get a lot of practice. 🙂


    • #9240

      Hello All,

      I just wanted to say “Hi” and tell you why I posted this. I am not a hacker, yet but I know that you all are and even though this article does have anything to do with “hacking” per se, I thought that it might help those of you who, like me run into people all the time who are making computer buying choices.

      I really try not to bash on M$ but a little compare and contrast can’t hurt that bad, can it?



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