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Old 02-06-2004, 01:00 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Pitching Linux and Open Source

F/OSS advocacy is widespread but not very organized. Why don't we have an official presentation of Linux and F/OSS?

Here at work, I set up an informal presentation of Linux and Open Source technologies figuring that I'd have maybe five attendees. However I've just been informed that interest is much greater than expected and we will be teleconferencing to other locations. I started to do information gathering on big wigs like RMS, ESR, Bruce Perens, Alan Cox (et al kernel dev people) and Linus for some history. I put together some information about how business models work with F/OSS. It then occurred to me that there was too information and it would take time to put together what I needed. doesn't really have anything but kernels. does a good job of telling what it is, why to use it, but I'm trying to drill information down into a presentation. is too extreme a philosophy for management. ESR's the Cathedral and the Bazaar is excellent, but not in a presentation sort of way, and it's doesn't mention specific products and numbers. Specifics are what people like to see.

In short, I'm looking for a concise presentation that mixes conservative (ESR-like as opposed to RMS) OSS philosophy and concrete examples of advantages, all in an easy to swallow one hour format. I'd do it myself, but I've only been alloted two hours to prepare, and already spent most of that.

If there were a community project for such, there would be a high quality, well researched, easily available presentation that anybody could use with little preparation. I guess what I'm looking for is information for the linux advocate. There is plenty of information out there meant for consumption of the reader, but not alot out there for trying to advocate to other people. Think 'Linux Advocacy Resource' that contains brief yet rich blurbs and tips for evangelicalizing to others.

Anybody have tips on how to help me?

P.S. I thought about doing an askslashdot article on this, but I need to get this question out as soon as possible. However, feel free to put it on slashdot. I'll see it.
Old 02-06-2004, 02:48 PM   #2
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Moved to General - this is not a technical question
Old 02-06-2004, 04:55 PM   #3
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I'd look over the 'sales' pages of every major distro you can find and quote everything that you think would be a good idea. There are some real gems on the Debian news site (esp. things said lately by Ian Murdoch about the future of Linux in business). Don't leave out the KDE project of A good place to start for that type of launchpad is You may want to contact the brass at Lindows and Red Hat. They seem to know how to sell Linux Good luck. May the source be with you.
Old 02-07-2004, 02:43 AM   #4
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Tell em about PHP/MySQL's success

Depending on what you are trying to sell them on, the Apache/PHP/MySQL success stories are probably the most visible and most hype-able aspects of open source software at the moment. You can talk about the fact that Apache is by far the fastest, most stable and most common web server in use today. You can talk about how PHP has eclipsed ASP as the worldwide scripting language of choice. If you want to talk about databases, MySQL is absolutely huge in terms of the adoption rate and the sheer number of users. And if someone starts whining about transactions and Oracle, stick some Postgres in their pie hole.

Discuss some of the huge projects that use these open source technologies. Specifically, Google uses all Linux clusters (I think), the US Census Bureau uses MySQL. Many foreign countries now mandate open source code for government projects. Even many US state governments are switching to Linux for certain things. I wouldn't try to argue for Linux as a desktop replacement for the average user (even though OpenOffice rocks), but rather focus on the current strengths of open source and don't speculate too much on things that haven't happened yet (even though we all know open source will eventually leave Microsoft in the dust). And of course, don't forget Eric Raymond's open source manifesto, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar". It's required reading for anyone trying to evangelize open source software. There's also a great movie you can find on the file sharing networks called "Code" which is a documentary on the history of Linux. About a 1/3 of the footage is in a foreign language (not sure which language) with non-english subtitles, but most of the interviews are conducted in english since so many of the programmers are english speakers. It might be a good place to grab some video clips if you need any multimedia enhancements for your presentation. Good luck.

Last edited by minorgod; 02-07-2004 at 02:47 AM.


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