OT: Why not Linux? (was Re: KOffice vs. OpenOffice)

p.daniels teeahr1 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 17:47:18 BST 2008

On Monday September 29 2008 09:40:30 Derek Broughton wrote:
> Valter Mura wrote:
> > Il lunedì 29 settembre 2008 14:12:53 Derek Broughton ha scritto:
> >
> > Oh, yes, you're right. But explain me which is the reason why "in my
> > country" (I don't know in yours), when the average customer cannot choose
> > between an open source OS and a propietary one. If you go in a shop, the
> > 100% (except for MAC systems) of the systems are Windows...
> Then demand Linux.  100% seems awfully high - back when I used to by my
> systems from a friend who built PCs in his basement, I could have had Linux
> if I wanted (in fact, I think I _did_ get my first linux CD from him).
> Unfortunately, he's now 2000km away :-)  It shouldn't be too difficult to
> find places like his, though.

Or do what I did and do it yourself! I realized there was nobody in my town 
(and I live in a city of 400,000) selling or supporting Linux machines, and 
said "I smell money." My friends told me I was loony, they told me "There's no 
market for it." I said "I can make a market." So I started selling and 
supporting and marketing desktop Linux to Joe and Jane User (Linux 
exclusively; I do not handle Windows and I do not handle Macs).

That was 36 months ago. Today I am doing well enough that six months back I 
quit my day job. Not only that, but I'm making an impact on my market. I know 
of at least one shop that used to be Win-only that now supports (but does not 
sell) Ubuntu machines. Because of me. There is at least one middle school that 
now accepts students' work in .odf as well as .doc. Because of me (me 
personally that time, I had an upset customer call me and complain, and I 
called the teacher about it.)

I say this not to be like "Ooh, look at me and what I'm doing," but to let 
people know that it can totally be done, but the only way it's going to get 
done is if people just do it themselves. It's a complex ecosystem. Every major 
city has some sort of Best Buy-ish place(s), they're Win/Mac only because 
they're Evil Corporations and they're all in bed with each other, and you and 
I can't affect that directly. But every major city also has the legion of 
freelance/small-time operators that put fliers at coffeeshops and stuff. These 
guys aren't selling Windows because they're married to Windows, they're just 
trying to make the rent and it's accepted wisdom that that's the way to do it. 
Now that's something I can affect. Me selling Linux machines makes me money, 
which is good for me. It also establishes Linux as a player in the market (a 
tiny tiny player, but I'm just one guy), which means somebody might ask some 
other freelancer "Hey, what about this Linux thing I saw at the coffeeshop?" or 
they might ask their kid's teacher "Why can't my kid hand in her assignment?" 
And that's good for everyone.

I'm sorry, I've gone on for a while here, as I am wont to do when I start 
talking about my job (zealot for hire, that's me). I'll end this with a Linus 
Torvalds quote.

*The Linux philosophy is to laugh in the face of danger. Oops, wrong one. "Do 
it yourself," that's it.*

-pete daniels, zealot for hire
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