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  Linux Advocacy mini-HOWTO
  Paul L. Rogers,
  v0.5c, 3 May 2000

  This document provides suggestions for how the Linux community can
  effectively advocate the use of Linux.

  Table of Contents

  1. About this document

  2. Copyright Information

  3. Introduction

  4. Related Information

  5. Advocating Linux

  6. Canons of Conduct

  7. User Groups

  8. Vendor Relations

  9. Media Relations

  10. Acknowledgements


  1.  About this document

  This is the Linux Advocacy mini-HOWTO and is intended to provide
  guidelines and ideas to assist with your Linux advocacy efforts.

  This mini-HOWTO was inspired by Jon ``maddog'' Hall when he responded
  to a request for feedback on guidelines for advocating Linux during
  NetDay <> activities.  He responded positively to
  the guidelines and observed that they were the basis of a list of
  ``canons of conduct'' that would benefit the Linux community.

  This document is available in HTML form at

  Nat Makarevitch <> has translated this document
  into French < http://www.linux->.

  Chie Nakatani <> has translated this
  document into Japanese <>.

  Janusz Batko <> has translated this document
  into Polish <>.

  Bruno H. Collovini <> has translated this
  document into Portuguese

  Mauricio Rivera Pineda <> has translated this
  document into Spanish <http://www.linux->.

  The author and maintainer of the Linux Advocacy mini-HOWTO is Paul L.
  Rogers <>.

  Comments and proposed additions are welcome.

  If you need to know more about the Linux Documentation Project or
  about Linux HOWTO's, feel free to contact the supervisor Tim Bynum
  <>.  Tim Bynum will post this document to
  several national and international newsgroups on a monthly basis.

  A personal note: Due to various circumstances, I have not been able to
  dedicate as much time to maintaining this mini-HOWTO and interacting
  with the Linux community as I would have desired.  I apologize for
  this and if you have attempted to contact me and I was slow in
  responding, please forgive me being so inconsiderate.  While I still
  have many other commitments, I am anticipating that they will start
  requiring less time to meet and allow me to catch up on other parts of
  my life.  I appreciate your patience and would like to extend a
  special thanks to all who have taken the time to suggest additions and

  2.  Copyright Information

  This mini-HOWTO is Copyright � 1996-2000 by Paul L. Rogers.  All
  rights reserved.

  A verbatim copy may be reproduced or distributed in any medium
  physical or electronic without permission of the author.  Translations
  are similarly permitted without express permission if it includes a
  notice on who translated it.

  Short quotes may be used without prior consent by the author.
  Derivative work and partial distributions of the Advocacy mini-HOWTO
  must be accompanied with either a verbatim copy of this file or a
  pointer to the verbatim copy.

  Commercial redistribution is allowed and encouraged; however, the
  author would like to be notified of any such distributions.

  In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this information through
  as many channels as possible.  However, we do wish to retain copyright
  on the HOWTO documents, and would like to be notified of any plans to
  redistribute the HOWTOs.

  We further want that all information provided in the HOWTOs is
  disseminated.  If you have questions, please contact Tim Bynum, the
  Linux HOWTO coordinator, at

  3.  Introduction

  The Linux community has known for some time that for many
  applications, Linux is a stable, reliable, robust (although not
  perfect) product.  Unfortunately, there are still many people,
  including key decision-makers, that are not aware of the existence of
  Linux and its capabilities.

  If Linux and the many other components that make up a Linux
  distribution are to reach their full potential, it is critical that we
  reach out to prospective ``customers'' and advocate (being careful not
  to promise too much) the use of Linux for appropriate applications.
  The reason that many a company's products have done well in the
  marketplace is not so much due to the product's technical superiority
  but the company's marketing abilities.

  If you enjoy using Linux and would like to contribute something to the
  Linux community, please consider acting on one or more of the ideas in
  this mini-HOWTO and help others learn more about Linux.

  4.  Related Information

  Lars Wirzenius, former comp.os.linux.announce moderator and long-time
  Linux activist, also has some thoughts
  <> about Linux

  Eric S. Raymond provides an analysis
  bazaar.html> of why the development model used by the Linux community
  has been so successful.

  The free software community has recognized that the terms "free
  software" and "freely available software" are not appropriate in all
  contexts.  For more information about using the term "open-source
  software" when marketing "free software", please visit the Open Source
  <> site.

  If you need to brush up on your Linux sales techniques, take a look at
  the Linuxmanship <> essay by
  Donald B. Marti, Jr.

  The Linux PR <> site
  discusses the importance of press releases to the Linux community.
  Another way to gain valuable experience in this area is to organize a
  NetDay at a local school using the guidelines presented in the NetDay
  How-To Guide <>.

  Linux International's <> goal is to promote the
  development and use of Linux.

  The Linux Documentation Project <> is an
  invaluable resource for Linux advocates.

  The Linux Center Project <> provides a
  thematical index of resources about Linux and free software.

  The Linux Business Applications <>
  site provides a forum for organizations that depend on Linux for day-
  to-day business operations to share their experiences.

  Linux Enterprise Computing <> and Freely
  Redistributable Software in Business
  <> cover resources and topics of
  interest to those deploying Linux in a business/commercial/enterprise

  The Linux Advocacy Project's <> goal is to
  encourage commercial application developers to provide native Linux
  versions of their software.

  The Linux CD and Support Giveaway
  <> program is helping make Linux
  more widely available by encouraging the reuse of Linux CD-ROMs.

  Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc. (SSC) hosts the Linux Resources
  <> site and publishes the Linux Journal

  The linux-biz <> mailing list is a
  forum created to discuss the use of Linux in a business environment.

  The Linux Mission Critical Systems survey
  <> documents successful
  existing systems which have a large load and are up 24 hours per day.

  A number of online publications are now devoted to covering Linux.
  These include:

  �  LinuxFocus <>

  �  Linuxove noviny <>

  �  Linux Gazette <>

  �  PLUTO Journal <>.

  Additional links to online publications can be found at the Linux
  Documentation Project <> and
  the Linux Center Project

  5.  Advocating Linux

  �  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.

  �  If you are available for making presentations about Linux, register
     with the Linux Speakers Bureau

  �  Offer to help someone start using Linux.  Follow up to make sure
     that they are able to use their system effectively.

  �  Some people still believe that Linux and similar systems operate
     only in text-mode.  Make sure that they are aware of the
     availability of graphical applications, such as the Gimp

  �  Try to respond to one ``newbie'' 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.

  �  Participate in community events such as NetDay
     <>.  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 whom 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.

  �  Availability of support is often mentioned as a concern when
     considering the adoption of Linux.  Companies such as Caldera
     <>, Cygnus Solutions
     <>, Red Hat <>, and
     S.u.S.E. <> offer support for some or all
     components of a typical Linux distribution.  In addition, the Linux
     Consultants HOWTO <
     HOWTO.html> provides a listing of companies providing commercial
     Linux related support.  Of course, some of the best support is
     found in the comp.os.linux and linux newsgroup hierarchies.

  �  Point out that the production of open-source 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 Apache
     <>, GNU Emacs <>, Perl
     <> and the Linux kernel

  �  Stand up and be counted! Register with the Linux Counter

  �  Report successful efforts of promoting Linux to Linux International
     ( 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.

  �  When purchasing books about software distributed with Linux, give
     preference to books written by the author of the software.  The
     royalties that authors receive from book sales may be the only
     monetary compensation received for their efforts.

     <-- Need to fix or change the Powered by Linux text -->

  �  Encourage Linux-based sites to submit their entry for the Powered
     by Linux <> page and
     suggest that banners promoting Linux
     <>, Apache
     <>, GNU <>, Perl
     <> ... be displayed on their site.
  �  Participate! If you have benefited from open-source software
     <>, please consider assisting the free
     software community by:

  �  submitting detailed bug reports

  �  writing documentation

  �  creating artwork

  �  supplying management skills

  �  suggesting enhancements

  �  providing technical support

  �  contributing software

  �  donating equipment

  �  furnishing financial support.

     The Linux Documentation Project <> provides
     a list <> of Linux and Linux-
     related projects.

  �  Finally, keep in mind that we all have infinitely more important
     issues to deal with than the selection of a computing environment.

  6.  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 Chief
     Executive Officer.  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.  Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its

  �  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
     their freedom.

  �  There will be cases where Linux is not the answer.  Be the first to
     recognize this and offer another solution.

  7.  User Groups

  �  Participate in a local user group.  An index
     <> of Linux User Group registries
     is part of the Linux Documentation Project
     <>.  If a user group does not exist in your
     area, start one.

  �  The Linux User Group HOWTO <
     Group-HOWTO.html> covers many of the issues involved with starting
     an user group and discusses the importance of Linux advocacy as one
     of the goals of a user group.

  �  Make speakers available to organizations interested in Linux.

  �  Issue press releases
     <> about your
     activities to your local media.

  �  Volunteer to configure a Linux system to meet the needs of local
     community organizations.  Of course, the installation process must
     include training the user community to use the system and adequate
     documentation for ongoing maintenance.

  �  Discus the Linux Advocacy mini-HOWTO at a meeting.  Brainstorm and
     submit new ideas.

  8.  Vendor Relations

  �  When contemplating a hardware purchase, ask the vendor about Linux
     support and other user's experiences with the product in a Linux

  �  Consider supporting vendors that sell Linux based products and
     services.  Encourage them to have their product listed in the Linux
     Commercial HOWTO <

  �  Support vendors that donate a portion of their income to
     organizations such as the Free Software Foundation
     <>, the Linux Development Grant
     Fund <>, the XFree86 Project
     <> or Software in the Public
     Interest <>.  If possible, make
     a personal donation to these or other organizations that support
     open-source software <>.  Don't forget
     that some employers offer a matching gift program program.

  �  If you need an application that is not supported on Linux, contact
     the vendor and request a native Linux version.

  9.  Media Relations

  �  Linux International is collecting press clippings
     <> that mention
     Linux, GNU and other freely redistributable software.  When you see
     such an article, please send the following information to

  �  Name of publication

  �  Publisher's contact address

  �  Name of author

  �  Author's contact address

  �  Title of article

  �  Page number where the article starts

  �  The URL if available online

  �  A summary of the article, including your opinion

  �  If you believe that Linux was not given fair treatment in an
     article, review or news story, send the details, including the
     above information, to so that an appropriate response can
     be sent to the publisher.  If you contact the publisher directly,
     be professional and sure of your facts.

  �  If you involved with a Linux related project, issue press releases
     <> to appropriate news
     services on a regular basis.

  10.  Acknowledgements

  Grateful acknowledgement is made to all contributors, including:

  Kendall G. Clark          <>
  Wendell Cochran           <>
  Bruno H. Collovini        <>
  Allan "Norm" Crain        <>
  Jon "maddog" Hall         <>
  Greg Hankins              <>
  Eric Ladner               <>
  Chie Nakatani             <>
  Daniel P. Kionka          <>
  Nat Makarevitch           <>
  Martin Michlmayr          <>
  Rafael Caetano dos Santos <>
  Idan Shoham               <>
  Adam Spiers               <>
  C. J. Suire               <>
  Juhapekka Tolvanen        <>
  Lars Wirzenius            <>
  Sean Woolcock             <>

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