[ubuntu-marketing] Promoting Ubuntu at libraries?

Dylan McCall dylanmccall at gmail.com
Sat Mar 22 03:39:10 GMT 2008

Working for a short while in computer retail, I am growing more and more
crazy from how the concept of free software is essentially taboo in that
environment. While the reason why a computer retailer can not survive
with free software could be "explained" all people want, the essence of
that, and the fact that people are essentially trying to cover up
something as good and important as open source software, tells me that
there is something seriously broken here and it has to be fixed one way
or another. With Linux expanding so rapidly and really becoming a
positive thing for end users, businesses can't keep sweeping this under
the rug forever. Even with Linux platforms succeeding at being
invisible, the difference between that and the competition is obvious.
(There are lots of things people take for granted until they read about
them in the paper or see something reminding them on TV; Linux, unlike
certain other jarringly visible computer platforms, is one of those

Obviously, the best way to stop those businesses trying to dodge Linux
is for people to start coming to their stores thinking about free
software. Maybe with enough attention going that way, they will develop
ways to work with it. That would be one big hurdle overcome in terms of
adoption! (Though I'm sure it's obvious to you guys, being the marketing
people and all).

...The obvious /realistic/ fix: Occasional promotion of Ubuntu at
community events, and with friends.  I for one am personally helping
people with their Linux questions in the store I work at, which seems to
have developed a quiet increase in Linux-seeking customers...
Interestingly, even the people just looking in to Linux for the first
time - usually Ubuntu - seem quite excited about the idea, which I find
very cool.

Then, I realized that I should really think about promoting Ubuntu
properly (in an environment where promoting free software does not get
frowned upon) if I am so keen on it! One of few other local, popular
places keen on free knowledge is a library. Actually, that seems the
perfect place through which to promote Ubuntu, since a public library
has no big financial reliance on Microsoft's confounded business
strategy and is, in theory, all about knowledge. Their administration
and audience also leans very much to the socialist end of
things. Lots of libraries hold small workshops and classes. The one
in my area even has an open bulletin board set up, which could prove
useful, if there was something worth posting there that didn't look like
(My only problem: $12 of accumulated late fees).

So, before I meander way off topic: I can't possibly be the only one who
has pondered promoting Ubuntu, in some way, at a public library. Any
experiences, examples, related stories, screams of terror or links? Feel
free to share!

-Dylan McCall
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