[Linux-aus] linux-aus Digest, Vol 1, Issue 1500 lists.linux.org.au)

Paul Antoine paul at justinandpaul.com
Sun Apr 22 23:59:53 UTC 2007

40 million Linux users simply cannot/will not fund advertising 
penetration that *might* dent that of Microsoft, which last I knew had a 
$US40B war-chest... in truth we can't even come close, not just in $$s 
but in the collateral and momentum that Microsoft already has.

Instead we need to use what is now known as "guerilla marketing" which 
seeks an outcome via unconventional means. (More on that below.)

Jeff Waugh wrote:
 > Why do you see the existence of advertising as a benchmark for
 > success? There are *some* markets for which advertising *some*
 > Linux related products or services makes sense right now; but
 > certainly not the general market, for Linux as an idea. In the
 > case of this Indy 500 madness, you'd be promoting to a very
 > particular market in a very general way. That is NOT USEFUL.
 > Even though it doesn't tickle your "mass market" buttons, we
 > achieve vastly more, *every year*, with linux.conf.au. Not to
 > mention all the actual work being done on our software...

I agree wholeheartedly with Jeff. As a senior exec in the IT world for 
many years I can tell you that advertising and PR require *many* 
repeated touches to work - more than a year of continuous effort to 
build momentum before you see significant results.

In this regard I have to say that Linux Australia has been doing a great 
job with a result (article, editorial, etc.) every month or so. Not bad 
for a part-time after hours "hobby" (i.e., not a Real Job(tm) :-P)

And to be fair, advertising and PR for Linux is quite pervasive... it 
just doesn't necessarily specifically target the desktop or appear on TV 
during Home and Away.  Linux on servers is doing very well as I recall.

I also agree with many writers that the Indy 500 campaign has very 
limited appeal - it doesn't reach much of the 6 billion people on the 
planet.  As a certified generationally-enhanced genetically-predisposed 
Petrol Head(tm) I can tell you I do *NOT* watch the Indy :-)  Formula 1, 
WRC, etc. etc... but not Indy.

I also think we can promote a more positive, global and community 
improving image for Linux.

So what could we do instead with $US350,000??

We could *pay* contractors to help a large number of charities, 
not-for-profits and schools all over the world switch over to Linux on 
the desktop.

We could *donate* that much equipment with Linux pre-loaded by 
volunteers to schools, charities, not-for-profits AND probably have it 
generously discounted/donated to by HP, IBM or Dell WITH the 
concommittant "good corporate citizen" *global* advertising and PR clout 
of the donor!

And so on...in short I can think of many ways to spend that much money 
that would also count as *good works* focussed on improving the human 
condition instead of burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible to go 
around in circles :-)  Those good works would surely generate much PR 
globally with minimal effort as everyone likes a feel-good story.

In this I was inspired by two friends who over a weekend some years ago 
took two old 386's and turned them into Linux email servers.  They 
optimised an email link so that a major charity (name escapes me now) 
was able to run email via satellite phone from Dili in East Timor to 
Darwin.  The result?  Every charity and NGO in Dili at that time would 
ask to send email from their system because it was the most reliable way 
to communicate - even the United Nations folks!

That charity was subsequently convinced to make Open Source a policy for 
all internal IT use AND the focus of all IT-related activities in 
disadvantaged countries. The rationale for this was that Linux can make 
old computers usable and frees funds so that:

     *  the charity has more funds available for their projects, which
        further supports their primary goal of making sure a greater
        percentage of donations to their charity reach recipients

     *  developing nations are freed from the burden of paying for
        proprietary software thus enabling them to put the money
        towards more useful projects.

All jokes aside, I truly feel that we can let the Americans pay for the 
Indy deal if they wish.  In Australia I'd like to see how much we could 
raise additional funds for Linux Australia's grants scheme and a PR 
campaign to encourage applicants for same to do good works in their 
respective communities.

To me this is the true nature of open source - a privileged community 
helping disadvantaged communities all over the world.

Warmest regards to all,
Paul Antoine

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