Linux Advocacy Guidelines
- Share your personal experiences (good and bad) with Linux.
Everyone knows that software has bugs and limitations and if we
only have glowing comments about Linux, we aren't being honest. I
love to tell people about having to reboot four times (three
scheduled) in three years.
- If someone has a problem that Linux may be able to solve, offer to
provide pointers to appropriate information (Web pages, magazine
articles, books, consultants, ...). If you haven't actually used
the proposed solution, say so.
- Offer to help someone start using Linux.
- Try to respond to one ``newbee'' posting each week. Seek out the
tough questions, you may be the only one to respond and you may
learn something in the process. However, if you aren't confident
that you can respond with the correct answer, find someone that
- Seek out small software development firms and offer to make a
presentation about Linux.
- If the opportunity arises, make a presentation to your employer's
Information Technology group.
- If you need an application that is not supported on Linux, contact
the vendor and request a native Linux version.
- Participate in community events such as NetDay96
While your first priority must be to
contribute to the success of the event, use the opportunity to let
others know what Linux can do for them.
- Always consider the viewpoints of the person to which you are
``selling'' Linux. Support, reliability, interoperability and cost
are all factors that a decision-maker must consider. Of the above,
cost is often the least important portion of the equation.
- Point out that the production of freely available software takes
place in an environment of open collaboration between system
architects, programmers, writers, alpha/beta testers and end users
which often results in well documented, robust products such as
Emacs, Perl and the Linux kernel.
- Report successful efforts of promoting Linux to Linux International
(email@example.com) and similar organizations.
- Find a new home for Linux CD-ROMs and books that you no longer
need. Give them to someone interested in Linux, a public library
or a school computer club. A book and its CD-ROM would be most
appropriate for a library. However, please be sure that making the
CD-ROM publicly available does not violate a licensing agreement or
copyright. Also, inform the library staff that the material on the
CD-ROM is freely distributable. Follow up to make sure it is
available on the shelves.
Canons of Conduct
- As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing
list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain
from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a
member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your CEO.
Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has
of the Linux community.
- Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's
unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
- A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only
provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their
respect for your knowledge and abilities.
- Don't bite if offered flame-bait. Too many threads degenerate into
a ``My O/S is better than your O/S'' argument. Let's accurately
describe the capabilities of Linux and leave it at that.
- Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone,
their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you
do offend someone, please try to make amends.
- Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the
competition. We have a good, solid product that stands on its own.
- Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a
wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
- Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be
gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using
``creative spelling''. If we expect respect for Linux, we must
respect other products.
- Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel.
Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project, MIT,
Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would
not be very useful to most people.
- Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular
application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that
Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of
- There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to
recognize this and offer another solution.
- Participate in a local user's group. If one does not exist in your
area, start one.
- Make speakers available to organizations interested in Linux.
- Issue press releases about your activities to your local media.
- Discus the Linux Advocacy HOWTO at a meeting. Brainstorm and
submit new ideas.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to all contributors, including:
Jon "maddog" Hall,
Greg Hankins, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Ladner, email@example.com
Martin Michlmayr, firstname.lastname@example.org
C. J. Suire, email@example.com
Lars Wirzenius, firstname.lastname@example.org