[clug] Linux Learners Group idea

Steve Walsh steve at nerdvana.org.au
Thu Jun 15 01:11:52 GMT 2006

Ok, I'm going to have to put on my 2cents in and be the devil's advocate

>(My thought was one of ten seconds of watching a Windows blue-screen, and
then watching a Linux user work with some of the cool
software we have, and just fade into the words "Make Your Move", but that's
another story.)

IMO, this is totally the wrong way to approach getting people across. My
Experience has been (and this has occurred in both trying to get SME's to
move to linux, as well as the advocacy work I've been doing with LA/SLUG)
is - bashing windows is the wrong way to approach it. Showing them that
Linux isn't so bad, and is easy to use is the right way. We had literally
hundreds of people in the OS Demo Zone at CeBit who said "I use this" and we
said "linux has that", and they went away to try it out. When one of the
other LA guys came on and jokingly bashed windows, the demo zone became a
graveyard for half an hour.

Then, when they're comfortable with it, ask them if they want to go back to
windows, or stay with linux. Let them Bash windows, don't try to direct
their thoughts.

If Paul went to a Highland Dance day to learn more, and the first thing the
instructor said was "Irish set dancing? Hah! can anyone say 'Box step in
silly clothing'? Learn a real dancing style!", I'm sure Paul would get his
nose very quickly out of joint, decide he already new a proper dancing
style, and turn and walk away. Even if that was the case (as seen from the
view point of the Highland people), you've just alienated Paul, and most of
the Irish Set Dancing group Paul knows, and is therefore going to talk to.

If you are going to do this, show people using GIMP, OOO, Firefox, GhostPDF,
Inkscape vs someone using MS Office, Photoshop, IE, Acrobat. Show them that
Linux isn't the big bad menace that MS is making it out to be, maybe with
the tagline pointing out how same they are. If you attack something someone
knows (and for whatever reason, trusts and prefers), you are straight away
attacking them (ever seen a Mormon and an Irish Roman Catholic argue
religion? Notice how quick they start to attack the other's belief? Notice
how quickly it ends in insults?)

>We also talked about the thoughts on the Computer Charity
>people: that giving them Microsoft Windows is just giving them a
>and it's the training that's crucial and not the software.

Having sat on Selection Committees for positions, I can say right now that
giving an unemployed person a copy of Office to learn to get them back into
the workplace is (whilst it breeds dependancy on MS) is a good idea. How
many people failed to get an admin job (even as early as 2-3 years ago) due
to having 5+ plus experience with ClarisWorks or Wordperfect as opposed to
MS Office?

Do you really think giving someone who is trying to get a job a Office Suite
that won't be recognised by selection panels is going to help them get a
job? My Wife sits on Selection panels for Government departments, and if
they can cut you from the list because you don't meet one part, you're gone
in no time. Once you accept OOO as similar to Office in a job selection
environment (even tho it is), you need to accept all the other Office
suites, which then raises issues when the admin person needs to call the
computer company/outsourced Help Desk who charges them $60 per hour for
helpdesk services to talk the person through a mailmerge in word. And you
can be guaranteed that as soon as the support guy hears "I'm not familiar
with word, I learnt open office), he is stay on the phone while the machine
chugs and groans it's way through all 600 invites. Teaching it to People
like Engineers, scientists, etc is a good idea, but to a single mother of
trying to get back into the workforce, no. We need to show people in the
Corporate world that OOO is as good as MS Office before we start trying to
change the masses.

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