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Selling Freedomware: It's about what THEY want.

I've been a little detached from the Free Software/Freedomware/Open Source world for a while. I no longer have that ongoing urge to tell the world about Free Software and convert the whole world. I'm not drooling over "200X is the year of the Linux Desktop" titles anymore. I've been focusing on developing a solid business strategy instead, no matter where it takes me and in accordance to my re-evaluated interests.

In that process, however, I realized something about the approach in promoting Freedomware. I was trying to come up with answers to the question "what do people want" with regards to various categories of interest and when I came to the "Freedomware / Linux" category it kinda hit me that there isn't really among most desktop users real demand for GNU/Linux or Freedomware. People just don't think in terms in which geeks and philosophical tellers of the Free Software movement tend to think. In fact, I've been in a similar mentality myself, more and more open to the idea of choice rather than this continued harping on people to make everything on their computers 100% free or to switch to GNU/Linux as soon as possible because it is the best thing since sliced bread.

I don't feel it anymore. They don't feel it either. You're wasting your breath. You're not delivering the message that they want to hear.

And I was trying to find the answers to the question "what do people want". My conclusion is they don't want Linux and they don't want freedomware. It's hardly even gonna be in their vocabulary let alone one of their distinct needs or desires. What they might want, however, is a computer that doesn't crash all the time, getting rid of viruses and spyware, having a nicer interface, an easier to use tools, being productive and more efficient - those sorts of things. But I don't presume I know all of their wants and needs though, so it should be an ongoing search for answers. We should listen before we give a yet another "software freedom" or "linux is sooo secure" speech.

This is where I come to the gist of my point. There have already been people who have talked about GNU/Linux being "free" actually being one of the reasons people avoid it, thinking it probably isn't very valuable if you don't have to pay anything for it. Others have pointed out that Windows is free so advertising Linux as a "free alternative" is advertising a non-advantage.

I am beginning to believe that we should completely stop advertising Freedomware and GNU/Linux as free of cost, and perhaps even do a total reversal - find a way to CHARGE for it without actually charging directly for software (albeit some opportunistic souls are doing it on ebay, and successfully so I might add, to the disgust of some in our "community"). Put a price tag on the Freedomware experience. Brand it in various interesting ways and market it in such a way for it to appear as a clear answer to the questions they actually ARE asking, the things that they actually ARE looking for. Then once they buy into it, sell them the freedom message. Once they are your satisfied customers, feeling like they got a great deal and something really valuable (and they did) then they might be more receptive to your "freedom message".

Throw it in as a "bonus you can't say no to": "By the way, this software is yours now, you can share it, hire someone to make it better and use it without intrusion, which is thanks to this avantguarde philosophy spearheaded by the Free Software Foundation."

Then just give them a link and don't bother them again. You might find that many of these customers could also become "converts" to your precious GNU philosophy.

So the trick is in making yourself actually seem like you care less about the whole thing and more about the satisfaction of your client; less like you're all too eager to convert him regardless of how far you need to go and more like you're simply here to serve. Save your eagerness and passion for later, when you might get a chance to help them on a support forum or talk to them about the philosophy should they very positively respond to your "by the way, freedom" pitch.

Anyway, take of this what you will. I know I'll certainly modify my approach should I decide to keep Freedomware marketing integral to my business activities.

Thank you for your time.

Comments

I have been saying that for

 

I have been saying that for the past few years, however, some of your points are wrong.

It is not that users don't want Linux, they just want a computer and will use what they are used to. This is where Microsoft got it right. They struck deals with the education systems around the world to get students of all ages used to using Windows and their development tools. And parents (those that are actually GOOD parents) will buy a computer that their children can use for school.

Now, fast forward a few decades when those children are older and out of school, they look for a computer that they can use at home that would allow them to bring their work home from time to time. If their work place is nothing but Windows, they will look for a Windows-based computer.

The user just wants what they are used to. Plain and simple.

But, more importantly, they want something that works without having to learn anything about how computers actually work. It does not matter if it's Windows, GNU/Linux, OSX, SkyOS, Minuet, it does not matter, as long as everything just works for them and they don't have to sit there for hours on hold with tech support trying to get their Canon printer to work.

Now, as for the commercial aspect of your post, there already are companies that sell GNU/Linux (Red Hat and Novell come to mind), unfortunately, they sell to businesses that need work stations or servers. They have no plans on getting into the desktop market. And who can blame them? The effort they would need to use to go against Microsoft's 85%-90% dominance would milk their funds try.

And then you have the biggest sub-catagory of computer users that GNU/Linux just can't compete with, and that's the gaming market. Let's face it, if you want to play the pretty games, you will have to use proprietary drivers. And the gaming companies don't see a need to develop for GNU/Linux because the majority of those who call it "GNU/Linux" will only use free drivers and free software (including games). The actual percentage of GNU/Linux users who just don't care about that stuff is a small minority. Once again, another reason for the gaming companies to not care.

I fully agree that one needs strong convictions in life, whether its freesoftware, politics or how to raise a child, people need a passion. The way that I see all of this is like this...

I am a customer. If a company wants my money, they will cater to my needs, plain and simple.

I decide to use GNU/Linux because I truly do not see why I would have to pay for a program to use a computer (Windows is NOT free. You still pay for it, but it is included in the price of the computer). Besides, I build my desktops, so to then fork out an additional 400 dollars for the latest version of Windows is just insane. So, I use GNU/Linux and if a company wants to sell me something, it better work for me.

If a company wants my money, I expect them to bend over backwards to please me. If they don't, they don't want my money.

Here's an interesting

 

Here's an interesting article on how to promote Freedomware:
http://digifreedom.net/?q=node/103

(Actually, I may have found it somewhere here on the forums a while ago...)

Quote:
I am beginning to believe that we should completely stop advertising Freedomware and GNU/Linux as free of cost, and perhaps even do a total reversal - find a way to CHARGE for it without actually charging directly for software

I don't agree with this completely.
Advertising Freedomware and GNU/Linux as free of cost is efficient in some cases:
-Small companies
-Governments of third world countries
-Humanitarian organisations
-Universities, schools, research centers
-As mentioned above: people building their own computers.

Basically, it's efficient in all cases where:
1)people are low on money and/or need it for other things
and
2)are buying computers in big quantities or building their own computers.

The main thing reducing the free of cost advantage is the fact that computers with windows preinstalled are costing less and less.

As for making people switch to GNU/Linux, I think new features like Beryl/Compiz and their extensive promotion on Youtube as well as the overall improvements of ease of installation have been extremely efficient. Smiling

Once they are using GNU/Linux, some of them will get into the Freedomware movement.
It worked for me. Smiling

sakuramboo wrote: It is

sakuramboo wrote:

It is not that users don't want Linux, they just want a computer and will use what they are used to.

That's what I mean actually. They want what they're used to, not Linux. I suppose what you mean is that if they knew all of the advantages and felt excited about them they would want it, but that's the thing, they don't know and they don't even look for it. They do look for something else though, so we have to offer them that. So the way we promote GNU/Linux is to see what about it meets a particular need or desire that they do have and promote that aspect. I guess it comes down to knowing your customer so to speak.

If they really want only something they're used to any nothing else, that is, they simply don't feel like they want anything better then there isn't really a point in trying to offer it to them, unless they change their mind.

sakuramboo wrote:

Now, as for the commercial aspect of your post, there already are companies that sell GNU/Linux (Red Hat and Novell come to mind), unfortunately, they sell to businesses that need work stations or servers. They have no plans on getting into the desktop market. And who can blame them? The effort they would need to use to go against Microsoft's 85%-90% dominance would milk their funds try.

Indeed. To be honest I didn't quite formulate the idea on how exactly can someone sell GNU/Linux to the desktop market, especially without all of the funds that big companies like RedHat and Novell have, but my guess is there's a way. A couple of things come to mind though. Pre-installed GNU/Linux, which is now already being done, I think it should be done more and there may still be an opportunity for computer builders to excell in that. This way the customer doesn't know whether the OS on the computer is free or not, nor do they care, so you have a situation that's perfectly on par with Windows. Success of EeePC and similar devices may be a testament to that..

Second way is to actually sell the OS itself, but with value adding components, special customizations for special needs, with tech support for one year or so added. It's sort of what RH and Novell are doing for servers and enterprise, but adapted for the desktop. You could have a site which sells what it may brand a "computer power up", explaining only in small letters that it's actually a whole new OS, and for a small fee offer people access to a special section where they can install and download the "power up" by clicking a button and having it do the rest (migrating existing windows files, bookmarks etc.) and also offer such things as discounts or even free music of popular artists ready to play in rythmbox...

I'm just brainstorming, but basically you'd combine entertainment with a software upgrade that's actually an OS replacement (not necessarily displacing Windows completey, it could just be something like wubi).

sakuramboo wrote:

And then you have the biggest sub-catagory of computer users that GNU/Linux just can't compete with, and that's the gaming market.

Oh yeah. This could actually be added on to the above idea. They could gain access to a library of easily installable freedomware games, best of breed selection, and perhaps EVEN some proprietary ones which work natively or at least well through wine... You could sell a Cedega subscription as part of this whole package. Sticking out tongue

Of course, I do think some distinction in labeling should be made between freedomware and proprietary games, and clearly, proprietary games access should bump the price a little.

Other than that, speaking of games, I don't frankly know if there's a real solution here in terms of having good games with a full plot and story as Freedomware. After so many years it hasn't happened. Alientrap, a group behind Nexuiz, has been working a plot-based game Zymotic for years and there's pretty much nothing coming out yet. It could almost be quoted as a proof that games with a full plot just can't sustainably be developed as Freedomware. All we can do in terms of promoting the games which already are out there are tournaments... to just keep at least that scene alive.

KIAaze wrote:

Here's an interesting article on how to promote Freedomware:
http://digifreedom.net/?q=node/103

Excellent article.

KIAaze wrote:

Advertising Freedomware and GNU/Linux as free of cost is efficient in some cases:

Well, true, I would concede to those. It's about knowing what they actually want before presuming. So if they do want, clearly, something that is free or at least cheaper then the "free of cost" argument may still be valid. Albeit even among those kinds of people some might have doubts about quality (because it's free) - even as they do want something cheaper or something free they might have a perception of "free" as meaning "worse quality", which isn't always the case.

Cheers

Okay, you obviously do this

Okay, you obviously do this for a living too, and I'm not trying to crap on your approach, but this hasn't been my experience. I sell Linux desktops and provide support, so I do this for money too. Three or four years ago I would have agreed with the thrust of this post (people don't care about freedom, they want to do stuff with their machine). But that's changing rapidly. Example from last week: I've got a customer with an iPod. I was helping her set up gtkpod on her laptop, and in the process of doing so we got to talking about my mp3 player (an iAudio X5 from Cowon). Until I showed her my player, she thought all audio players had to have a gimmicky proprietary iTunes-type interface. She thought it was totally normal for her mp3 player to tell her "no, you can't copy that file." She was amazed when I plugged it in and it showed up as a normal drive. (Have you seen the iPod filesystem structure? Ye gods!) Needless to say, by the end of the conversation she had determined that her next audio player purchase wouldn't be from Apple. Why? Freedom sells.

I could give various other similar anecdotes (many of them about Vista), but I think that one will suffice. The point I'm making here is that if you talk about free software in vague, general terms of "it's good to be free," of course people aren't going to care. But show someone a real-life example of how their computing experience would be better because of freedom, and they get it. Show them a media player that isn't crippled, and they get it. Show them a computer that doesn't talk back to them and they get it. Freedom is a feature, and it's the one that makes all the other features possible.

 
libervisco wrote:

Other than that, speaking of games, I don't frankly know if there's a real solution here in terms of having good games with a full plot and story as Freedomware. After so many years it hasn't happened. Alientrap, a group behind Nexuiz, has been working a plot-based game Zymotic for years and there's pretty much nothing coming out yet. It could almost be quoted as a proof that games with a full plot just can't sustainably be developed as Freedomware. All we can do in terms of promoting the games which already are out there are tournaments... to just keep at least that scene alive.

I still have hopes. Coders are there. Artists are there. I haven't seen a lot of story writers participating in FLOSS games yet, but perhaps someone can show me were to find good stories usable in FLOSS games (can books be used?). Smiling

http://wiki.freegamedev.net/index.php/Complete%2C_non-casual_open_source_games

And from my personal experience:
Metal Blob Solid (not an amazing plot, but still good&fun single player campaign)
Battle for Wesnoth (haven't even finished it yet + has lots of additional user-made scenarios)
Marathon: http://marathon.sourceforge.net/ (freed commercial game)
Supertux
Freedroid RPG
Adonthell
...

(disclaimer: only finished Metal Blob Solid and Supertux (some version) fully so far)

Ok, not a lot of great plots or real solo-FPS games, except for Marathon which isn't even real 3D...

The best solo-games I played on GNU/Linux have been SNES games so far (probably illegal), but things can only get better and I intend to participate in it as much as I can. Smiling

Actually, if you think

 

Actually, if you think about it, Linux is not completely free of charge. Of course you usually don't pay the developers/distributors, but you pay your power-company, your ISP and the shop where you buy the blank CDs/DVDs.

Thus, there is a small cost for Linux, which in some way (depending on what you pay per KW/h, for Internet and for blank discs) even can be calculated.
Also it involves effort, which isn't as easily calculateable as the other three factors, but still adds to the "cost" of getting Linux.

Especially for not so savvy people having the option to go to a shop and grab Linux from the shelf, maybe even bundled with a instruction manual and, as mentioned, a year of support, might actually get some people going for it.
Maybe they just get interested by seeing a cool box in the shelf of their preferred software-dealer, search for it on the net to find out more. And then, instead of paying a certain amount for the next Windows-upgrade they pay (for example) half the amount (or maybe 25%) for a box with Linux, which comes with a lot of useful software, unlike Windows, which is just Windows and in itself not much use (except for those who just surf the net).

My first version of Linux came like that. It was a Suse 6.2, a big box with 6 CDs a fat skull-cracker of a manual and, as far as I remember, some phone-support. And I happily paid 100DM (about 50 Euro) for it.

Also I would like to note that both Red Hat and Novell have commercial desktop-distributions, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and SLED (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop). Okay, these both are aimed for enterprise-use, and not for home-users, but why not expand this offer to home-users?
I don't think it would cost these companies a lot to offer these distributions to the common user. They are there already, it's not like they would need to make a big effort and create something from scratch.

Of course we shouldn't forget, and in your post you didn't, those companies selling Linux pre-installed. This is a good thing, and more companies should be willing to take this step.
If a user goes into a computer-store he has a certain set of needs he wants to be taken care of by his computer. Often this is stuff like surfing the web, sending emails, writing letters, play some music and maybe even do the finances. And of course the box shouldn't be too expensive.
So why do the guys in the shops now suggest the latest model (which already is totally over-dimensioned for the kind of use; let's be honest, mostly gamers need the latest PCs, the gaming-industry, from my POV, is one of the main drivers for hardware-development) with Windows Wanker (TM)?
You don't need 3GB of RAM to write an email! Of course I admit that you can never have too much RAM (except you have more than your board supports), but isn't this a bit like buying a SUV where a normal car would have been perfectly sufficient, at a lot lower price?

Real life example for this: My PC has 2GB of RAM. I do a lot of stuff where this memory is useful, some graphics and 3D-stuff, but mostly I need this memory for virtualization. It's nice to run a virtual machine with 512MB of RAM and still having about 1GB free for whatever I like to do (you may notice that 1GB + 512MB are less than 2GB, this is because I substracted what's anyway used for the system and also I have 256MB of shared memory assigned to the onboard GPU).

My mom has a notebook, which more or less is used for what I said before, surfing the web, sending mails, typing letters in Word and financial stuff. More or less typical home-office use you could say. That little toy has 3GB of memory!
She probably could have saved a 100 Euro if she had taken the same model with just 1GB of RAM.
My notebook has 1GB of RAM. The use is a mix between what I do on my PC and what my mom does on her notebook. I do some surfing, but also sometimes some 3D-stuff. Some programming, but no virtualization (anymore; doesn't make much sense to start a 6 hour compile on a 30 minute train ride).
But already with the 3D-rendering I stress my box a lot more than she does with whatever she may think of doing on her box.

So, back to the computer-store. Wouldn't it make the customer happy if the salesguy would present him a model that really fits his needs (with a little buffer for more) and thus already saves him some cash on the hardware?
And then wouldn't the customer be even more happy if he learned that, by choosing another "interface", which is perfectly suitable to what he wants to do, he can even save some more?

Okay, this probably is not going to happen. The reason why salesmen always want to sell the latest stuff is because they want to earn a lot of money. And, to be honest, being honest and just giving the customer what he needs doesn't help a lot to achieve that goal.

Well, I guess I've been running around in circles a bit and got lost. But that doesn't actually matter, somewhere in the stuff I've written may be point. ;-)

So, what I would like to finish with is that I agree that people are looking for something they are used to, but also many people are just looking for something that does the job, without even knowing about alternatives.

The first group is, more or less, a hopeless case. They usually know they use Windows and that's what they want.
Solving this problem has to be done in schools, educating the next generations that there actually is other stuff, and that it can solve your problems too.

The latter group is the one that "we" might trick into using Linux, but simply telling them about a way to save some money by choosing a different "interface".
My wife has an Acer Aspire One, the Linux-version with Linpus Lite (which is a raped and mutilated Fedora Cool, and she's happy with it. It does all the stuff she wants and it works really nicely. So why should she pay 500HKD more for the Windows-version? Okay, it comes with a 120GB hard-drive, instead of a 8GB SSD, but that doesn't justify 500HKD. She's doesn't need that much space and she doesn't need Windows for what she does.

I'm still waiting for the clash of the titans with the schools of the kids. So far there were no problems as OpenOffice simply can export to MS Office files (after the teacher was unable to open the PDF...), but I'm sure at some point this is going to happen.
Well, if necessary I still have a very dusty Windows-installation. Or I could always setup Win2K in a VM...

Edit: A note about games:
On the train on my way home I usually play Nethack. No, not with the Falcon's Eye GUI, the text-version. Sometimes I also play something in E-UAE (the Amiga emulator), like International Karate+ or Moonstone, or I play a native Linux-game like Widelands, FlightGear or something has a native engine, like PrBoom with the Doom 1 & 2 files, or Exult with the Ultima 7 files.
There are a lot of good games for Linux, and if you want to play really good games and don't care about graphics you should install DOSBox and play the titles from the early 90s, like Bioforge, Crusader, System Shock (and many more). These were still good games, not that crap (although it's shiny, good-looking crap) that's released nowadays...

Edit: @TeeAhr1: DRM is a good reason to make people change. It limits them in the use of what they (supposedly) have paid for. My player is a Samsung, which even supports Ogg/Vorbis (yeah!) and I love it. Wouldn't want some smelly iPod.

Very true about those two

 

Very true about those two categories of users. However, the latter group falls into the former because they would be more influenced to purchase something they are familiar with because they won't have to learn anything new. This is also why, when a driver gets mucked up or their internet is down because someone unplugged the cable, they call Geek Squad or their local computer geek to fix it. They don't want to have to install an OS because "that's scary. What if something breaks?" I hear that all too often. The average user things that installing an OS is something that only people who deal with computers on a day to day basis know. Even when proven wrong, they still are reluctant to do anything serious.

This is why pre-installed is the key to making sales (even though, I am against pre-installed, that's the only way to get average users using a computer).

Of course there are plenty of commercial PC companies that offer GNU/linux pre-installed, unfortunately, you need to hunt them down. Take Dell, for example. No where on their main site do they let their customers know that they have a small select group of computers that come with Ubuntu pre-installed. Lenovo is no longer selling pre-installed GNU/Linux. But, the big question is "why?"

Simply put, those who know about GNU/Linux tend to look for GNU/Linux and are already in the know of where to get it. Those who are the average user, most likely, don't even know what this "Lin-ox" thing is. Which brings me to my next point, Advertising.

There was a post somewhere recently that GNU/Linux doesn't need advertising. It does. Fact of the matter is, most people don't know about GNU/Linux because it's no where on TV. We see Apple commercials, people know Apple, we see Windows commercials, people know Windows, we don't see GNU/Linux commercials, people don't know GNU/Linux. If Ubuntu wants to be the OS for the people, they need to start advertising to the people, especially in areas of the world where capitalism and consumerism runs rampant.

Advertising

 
sakuramboo wrote:

There was a post somewhere recently that GNU/Linux doesn't need advertising. It does. Fact of the matter is, most people don't know about GNU/Linux because it's no where on TV. We see Apple commercials, people know Apple, we see Windows commercials, people know Windows, we don't see GNU/Linux commercials, people don't know GNU/Linux. If Ubuntu wants to be the OS for the people, they need to start advertising to the people, especially in areas of the world where capitalism and consumerism runs rampant.

I agree. We need to raise awareness in the common user. How are they supposed to learn about Linux when they just visit their daily news-site and check their mailbox?
It's good and important that sites like GGL exist, but Joe User is unlikely to just stumble over it if someone doesn't rub his nose right into it.

What works is media-coverage. Get somebody to say a few lines about Linux in a radio-commercial.
Get Bruce Willis and Will Smith discuss the advantages of Linux in a TV-spot, or better let them fight their way through some stuffed computer-store in order to get that cool, new thing, Linux, just to find that the last box just has been grabbed by some granny (symbolizing that it's suitable for everybody).
Or print an ad in a newspaper with some Playboy-bunnies going crazy about that super-sexy KDE4-look.
(Note: Royalties are gladly accepted from those who actually produce these ideas. ;-) )

There are companies who could finance this. Canonical, Red Hat, Novell, they all should have enough change in their pockets for stuff like this.
But to be true I only see Canonical in the situation, based on their agenda of world-desktop-domination, to actually do it.

Maybe I should just copy'n'paste the previous paragraph and mail it to (Space-)Shuttleworth.

There have been commercials

 

There have been commercials for GNU/Linux, unfortunately, you won't see them on American television. They were made for other countries where choice triumphs over capitalism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwEWxpOWOok
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOtKZA9ri7M

Both made by IBM. But, personally, I really like this one that was done by some unknown person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLHjT5-XM9o

TeeAhr1 wrote: She was

TeeAhr1 wrote:

She was amazed when I plugged it in and it showed up as a normal drive. (Have you seen the iPod filesystem structure? Ye gods!) Needless to say, by the end of the conversation she had determined that her next audio player purchase wouldn't be from Apple. Why? Freedom sells.

What I would say is that what sold there is the ability to copy files. You call it freedom and I call it freedom, but the way she probably sees it is the most obvious thing: ability to copy all files on her mp3 player. So that's what I mean, advertise to people what really matters to them and THEN once they're sold we can tell them that they can do this because someone respected their choice and their freedom, in which case they'd appreciate it more. The other way of doing it is to talk about freedom first before actually showing its effects, and most people unfortunately wont be sold that way.

KIAaze wrote:

I still have hopes. Coders are there. Artists are there. I haven't seen a lot of story writers participating in FLOSS games yet, but perhaps someone can show me were to find good stories usable in FLOSS games (can books be used?).

Well, it's good to hope, and costs nothing, if you can't do much about it. Sticking out tongue The fact still remains that while we're hoping and while there may even be some slow progress, the proprietary games industry is light years and parsecs ahead. Some would say that it's already long clear who won here. Even Richard Stallman isn't as adamant about 100% free games as he is about other software, at least as far as game data goes, which is afterall the biggest part of what we're missing in FOSS games. We've got some interesting engines already, albeit they too are strongly challenged by such things as, for instance, the Crysis engine.

In a sense it might not even be so much of a free software issue then as much of a free culture issue... the engines (software) are there, but the data and stories (culture) isn't, and by the looks of things not enough people are willing to give those under less restrictive contracts/licenses and so it's not being done enough.

reptiler wrote:

Also I would like to note that both Red Hat and Novell have commercial desktop-distributions, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and SLED (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop). Okay, these both are aimed for enterprise-use, and not for home-users, but why not expand this offer to home-users?
I don't think it would cost these companies a lot to offer these distributions to the common user.

That would probably help, or at least might be a good try. It would cost them some marketing though because they can't just put the product up and tell nobody about it, so it's gotta be marketed for them to see if it really works or not. I suppose they don't find compelling reasons to do that yet.

That said, maybe there's an opportunity for some new company or a small existing GNU/Linux related business to do this. There's a hint for business people who may be reading. Eye

reptiler wrote:

So why do the guys in the shops now suggest the latest model (which already is totally over-dimensioned for the kind of use; let's be honest, mostly gamers need the latest PCs, the gaming-industry, from my POV, is one of the main drivers for hardware-development) with Windows Wanker (TM)?

Powerful PC's are also good for home workstations though. One reason that I tend to like more powerful PC's is because I want to know I can be able to use it for whatever I want, from gaming to multimedia to compiling etc. It's a one stop shop and that works for me in the current living configuration. There may still be people with similar expectations or needs who might even be willing to overpay a little if it'll mean they'll never hit the snag in case they want to do more with it.

And these sellers are no doubt hoping for that. Sticking out tongue

But otherwise I agree, if you're sure you wont need it for anything more than basic use (internet, office etc.) then I think nowadays PC's are out and laptops are in.

You mentioned your wife has an AAO; that's a good example of GNU/Linux being pre-loaded and successfully sold. It's much like the EeePC case, so this sort of approach is already working for spreading the GNU/Linux use. As you agreed, we just need more of it, and more of it on full size laptops too. Smiling

reptiler wrote:

The reason why salesmen always want to sell the latest stuff is because they want to earn a lot of money.

Indeed, and I don't blame the salesman. That's his job, to sell for the biggest profit. I would in fact blame the customers who fall for it because they fail to do the research. If something can be sold then it will be sold. Apparently, people still buy PC's beyond their needs and thus salesman are still pushing them. Either people buy them cause they really think they need them or they just don't known (didn't get informed) and so fell for whatever salesman suggests. I dream of a world in which people are more informed and responsible regarding their decisions, as it would be a better world, but... welcome to the real world...

reptiler wrote:

These were still good games, not that crap (although it's shiny, good-looking crap) that's released nowadays...

Well you seem like an old school gamer, not that there's anything wrong with that. Smiling But obviously old games aren't gonna push gaming on GNU/Linux to the mainstream.

Also, personally, as I'm watching lately some of the new game releases, I think there's some really interesting new titles coming out lately. I'm also personally a fan of shiney and razor clear and realistic graphics. Smiling

Some examples of (seemingly) innovative games are Spore and LittleBigPlanet.

sakuramboo wrote:

Lenovo is no longer selling pre-installed GNU/Linux. But, the big question is "why?"

Because there's not enough demand, most likely. So the key is advertising as you said, I completely agree with that. Big players for GNU/Linux Desktop, like Canonical (well it's the only one really dedicated to the desktop at the moment) should really get into advertising. If RH would then jump in and do the same for Fedora, that'd be something now; two distros you can see advertised on TV, radio and across computer sites. Smiling

reptiler wrote:

(Note: Royalties are gladly accepted from those who actually produce these ideas. ;-) )

Great ideas! Laughing out loud

sakuramboo wrote:

They were made for other countries where choice triumphs over capitalism.

USA is no longer a truly capitalist country and hasn't been for a long time, disguised fascism/corporatism is more likely. I am a capitalist, an anarcho-capitalist in fact and I believe that if you want choice you can only and truly have it in a free market, uninterfered by the state. Unfortunately there's no country where this is fully true yet. If you want to debate that I'd be glad to, but not here. Eye

sakuramboo wrote:

Both made by IBM. But, personally, I really like this one that was done by some unknown person.

I like that third one too. The IBM ones are a little too vague and slightly even patronizing. Sticking out tongue

Some points

 
libervisco wrote:
reptiler wrote:

Also I would like to note that both Red Hat and Novell have commercial desktop-distributions, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and SLED (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop). Okay, these both are aimed for enterprise-use, and not for home-users, but why not expand this offer to home-users?
I don't think it would cost these companies a lot to offer these distributions to the common user.

That would probably help, or at least might be a good try. It would cost them some marketing though because they can't just put the product up and tell nobody about it, so it's gotta be marketed for them to see if it really works or not. I suppose they don't find compelling reasons to do that yet.

Of course marketing would be necessary. Not many product just sell through simply existing.
The reason why they don't do it probably is that they simply don't see a big market for it. Educating the common user about this system, at this time, most probably would take too much time, effort and money with too little effect.

As we noted here already, many people actually are quite happy with what Windows gives them. (I think we noted it, I might be wrong though)

reptiler wrote:

So why do the guys in the shops now suggest the latest model (which already is totally over-dimensioned for the kind of use; let's be honest, mostly gamers need the latest PCs, the gaming-industry, from my POV, is one of the main drivers for hardware-development) with Windows Wanker (TM)?

libervisco wrote:

Powerful PC's are also good for home workstations though. One reason that I tend to like more powerful PC's is because I want to know I can be able to use it for whatever I want, from gaming to multimedia to compiling etc. It's a one stop shop and that works for me in the current living configuration. There may still be people with similar expectations or needs who might even be willing to overpay a little if it'll mean they'll never hit the snag in case they want to do more with it.

Of course they are. My PC is also not what you'd call downsized. ;-) At the moment I got 2GB of RAM, a total of 370GB of HD-space and a AMD64 X2 4000.
If I'd be surfing and chatting only that would be seriously overpowered, but as you know I do quite a lot of virtualization, thus having this machine is really useful.

libervisco wrote:

You mentioned your wife has an AAO; that's a good example of GNU/Linux being pre-loaded and successfully sold. It's much like the EeePC case, so this sort of approach is already working for spreading the GNU/Linux use. As you agreed, we just need more of it, and more of it on full size laptops too. Smiling

Right, we just need more of it. Those small notebooks are really booming. My mom's considering now to get one too, after seeing my wife's.

Funny thing is that you can also buy the Aspire One with Windows, but it weighs a few 100g more because it needs a bigger battery to offer a capacity high enough to run it more than only an hour, and it costs about 600HKD (~60 Euro) more.

This price-difference alone might make people consider buying the Linux-version. Also if they try it out in the shop, they might find that they can do everything they need.
I don't know what's coming with the Windows-version, but I don't think it comes with MS Office. Maybe with OpenOffice, but as said, I have no idea. But I can check. Actually I'm curious now.

libervisco wrote:

Indeed, and I don't blame the salesman. That's his job, to sell for the biggest profit.

Right. It's their job, but still seeing a bit more "honesty" would be nice.

libervisco wrote:

I would in fact blame the customers who fall for it because they fail to do the research.

Well, then you also have to blame people for not being educated about the restrictions Windows imposes onto them and not choosing Linux instead.

What I want to say with this is that you cannot see this that black and white as you do here.

reptiler wrote:

These were still good games, not that crap (although it's shiny, good-looking crap) that's released nowadays...

libervisco wrote:

Well you seem like an old school gamer, not that there's anything wrong with that. Smiling But obviously old games aren't gonna push gaming on GNU/Linux to the mainstream.

I agree on both points here. Yes, I am an old-school gamer, and I'm happy with it. And yes, those games are not going to push Linux onto people's desktops, especially since DOSBox, ScummVM and all the other tools I use for those games also are available for Windows.

libervisco wrote:

Also, personally, as I'm watching lately some of the new game releases, I think there's some really interesting new titles coming out lately.

I have to be honest that I'm not watching the gaming-market that close anymore.
I know that Doom 4 is in the making, but that's more or less it.

libervisco wrote:

I'm also personally a fan of shiney and razor clear and realistic graphics. Smiling

I have absolutely nothing against good and realistic graphics, actually I like them.
Example: Of course I could play Formula One Grand Prix 1 or 2 using DOSBox, they were great racing-games and cost me many hours back then, through their, then, nice graphics (okay, that doesn't apply to F1GP 1 ;-) ) and the good physics. But that newer F1 game I have here (forgot the name as I cannot play it due to no space for my wheel) looks a lot better and also feels a lot better.
On the other hand there's FIFA Soccer. I still play FIFA World Cup 96. Why? Because it still has good game-play. The later versions all play crappy, and at some point EA even decided not to allow you anymore to play games that really last for 90 minutes, as I always used to do with a friend of mine.
There the graphics are absolutely not convincing enough to make the step.
But when I saw Doom 3 I was wowed. Doom 3 looked, and still looks, amazing. And from the shots I've seen from Doom 4 I think it'll push the limits of super-sweet graphics again for from everything that'll be there when it's released.

libervisco wrote:

Some examples of (seemingly) innovative games are Spore and LittleBigPlanet.

Spore has to be played online, right? I don't like being forced to play online. Sometimes I like playing online, competing or teaming up with others, but most of the time I prefer games where I'm challenged by the AI, or a never-ending flood of enemies.
Btw, LittleBigPlanet reminds me of LittleBigAdventure, which also was a very nice game.

libervisco wrote:
reptiler wrote:

(Note: Royalties are gladly accepted from those who actually produce these ideas. ;-) )

Great ideas! Laughing out loud

Thank you.

libervisco wrote:
sakuramboo wrote:

Both made by IBM. But, personally, I really like this one that was done by some unknown person.

I like that third one too. The IBM ones are a little too vague and slightly even patronizing. Sticking out tongue

I agree, the IBM-commercials are too vague. I didn't really see the message carrying over any reason why people should actually use Linux.

The third one was nice, very funny and my 6 months old son loved it too, but also that one I don't really see making people want to use Linux. If I remember correctly it doesn't even convey the message that Linux is an OS, or in any way related to computers.

Just to clarify one point,

 

Just to clarify one point, Spore is a single player game. Its online features is just to get civilization information from other players, but you still play it singly, offline.

reptiler wrote: Those

reptiler wrote:

Those small notebooks are really booming. My mom's considering now to get one too, after seeing my wife's.

Indeed. My dad has an EeePC. I installed Ubuntu Mobile on it. Smiling

reptiler wrote:

Well, then you also have to blame people for not being educated about the restrictions Windows imposes onto them and not choosing Linux instead.

When I talk about being informed I don't mean knowing everything you and I know about the software choices we have, but them knowing everything that is actually important to them at the time of making a purchase. If they aren't concerned with the fact they can't edit the source code or legally distribute software they're unlikely to be interested in those facts and so from their perspective there is no need to research that. We can call that lack of "education", but then an architect could call me lacking education because I don't know what he knows about good quality architecture even though I'm living in a building. Likelyhood is I'm just not as interested in the details he might be interested in.

That does mean that we who are privy to certain facts about software first need to make people actually interested in the benefits of softare freedom, but before that we can't blame anyone for being uneducated. So what I was talking about is a little different..

When buying a new computer, if it's in their interest to pay less and have a computer only for internet and email then it makes sense that they'd ask someone who knows computers what kind of computer would be enough for that so that they don't fall for the most expensive offers by the salesman.

reptiler wrote:

What I want to say with this is that you cannot see this that black and white as you do here.

To me black and white thinking is also known as "clear thinking", not that I can't fall for unclear and vague ideas mind you, but tendency is to think with clarity.. I'm just saying people choose for themselves and if they want to make better choices in terms of what is important to them it's rather obvious that they've got to be informed about facts that affect those things of importance, nothing less and nothing more.

So from my third perspective it may seem unfair that a salesman can sell someone a very expensive computer when that someone merely wants to do email and then put all the blame on the salesman and make the customer seem like a victim, but that would be ignoring the fact that the "victim" was ultimately the one who made the choice of purchase based on what (s)he knew. The fact (s)he knew so little of what's important to him/her about the computer (s)he's buying is not salesman's fault. Salesman is not required to be noble. As a contractor to his employee he is merely required to sell.

It would be nice if stores were also places where you can get genuine information about the products and frankly I think there are plenty of places like that where they wont just try to sell the most expensive stuff, but in the interest of gaining more of your respect are willing to question you for what your real needs are and offer the best fit. Smiling

Cheers

Exactly!

 
libervisco wrote:

When I talk about being informed I don't mean knowing everything you and I know about the software choices we have, but them knowing everything that is actually important to them at the time of making a purchase. If they aren't concerned with the fact they can't edit the source code or legally distribute software they're unlikely to be interested in those facts and so from their perspective there is no need to research that. We can call that lack of "education", but then an architect could call me lacking education because I don't know what he knows about good quality architecture even though I'm living in a building. Likelyhood is I'm just not as interested in the details he might be interested in.

That does mean that we who are privy to certain facts about software first need to make people actually interested in the benefits of softare freedom, but before that we can't blame anyone for being uneducated. So what I was talking about is a little different..

When buying a new computer, if it's in their interest to pay less and have a computer only for internet and email then it makes sense that they'd ask someone who knows computers what kind of computer would be enough for that so that they don't fall for the most expensive offers by the salesman.

Exactly! Here is another analogy. Just because someone buys a car does not mean that they must know how to change a tire. Most people would rather pay AAA or some auto service center to come out and change their tire for them than to take 10 minutes and do it them self. Can someone think of this as apathy with the consumers? They could, but at the same time, they are not forced to learn something.

If we rewind history a bit, when computers were first coming out, everyone had to learn about them because there was no service center they could take it to if there was a problem. People saw great business models here and within a decade, little computer shops started popping up all over the place so that the consumer wouldn't have to learn the ins and outs of computers.

Now, to further go with the car analogy, one must assume that the consumer knows absolutely nothing. With the car, there are people who drive every day, yet, do not even know that the oil needs to be changed or that the tires needs to be balanced and/or rotated every once in a while. When it comes to the computer, there are people who don't even know what viruses are and how dangerous they can be, that there also needs to be some preventive maintenance needed, just like a car, to ensure that it continues to run at top performance.

In order to sell someone a new concept, one needs to bring them self down to their level of thinking and to show them the benefits that would suit them. For example, I have been dealing with a lot of Creative Commons licensed music. I tell a lot of people about the benefits of it, however, I will not be telling the average Top 40 listener these benefits because to them, they don't really care. But, when I talk to other artists and I tell them about the freedom of remixing and sampling that CC gives you, they just love it and also start to promote it.

 
libervisco wrote:

I've been a little detached from the Free Software/Freedomware/Open Source world for a while. I no longer have that ongoing urge to tell the world about Free Software and convert the whole world. I'm not drooling over "200X is the year of the Linux Desktop" titles anymore. I've been focusing on developing a solid business strategy instead, no matter where it takes me and in accordance to my re-evaluated interests.

In that process, however, I realized something about the approach in promoting Freedomware. I was trying to come up with answers to the question "what do people want" with regards to various categories of interest and when I came to the "Freedomware / Linux" category it kinda hit me that there isn't really among most desktop users real demand for GNU/Linux or Freedomware. People just don't think in terms in which geeks and philosophical tellers of the Free Software movement tend to think. In fact, I've been in a similar mentality myself, more and more open to the idea of choice rather than this continued harping on people to make everything on their computers 100% free or to switch to GNU/Linux as soon as possible because it is the best thing since sliced bread.

I don't feel it anymore. They don't feel it either. You're wasting your breath. You're not delivering the message that they want to hear.

I have been out of the picture in context of everything freedomware myself for a while. During this time away my wife and I came up with an interesting idea on a new way to approach the promotion of freedomware. We are in the process of pursuing this new concept. It involves providing classes at a local coffee house on how to use the Internet in context of everyday life intermixed with how to benefit from freedomware. My wife and I are developing the curriculum from scratch. We will be charging nominal fees because people seem to believe that "nothing good is ever free". The fees will fund a non-profit organization called ProjectFreedomware. We have created a website ProjectFreedomware.org and will be blogging about our adventures there eventually.

Interestingly enough our 14 year old daughter is heading up the computer refurbishing part of the non-profit. She became interesting in this after reading about Free Geek. But she wants to try to focus more on the reuse part of it.

It is good to be back online so to speak. Eye I have missed working with many of you and look forward to contributing here on a more consistent basis.

That being said TheTuxProject taught me that promoting Linux by trying to devise huge marketing campaigns and publicity stunts that require a budget are just not effective. Ideas are great no matter what size or scale. Implementing them and finding others to work with you to do so is a whole other subject all together.

My opinion has shifted toward a more grassroots centric approach. The effective promotion of freedomware will occur naturally by sharing with individuals how it can benefit them in everyday life. This will be reflected at TheTuxProject in time. The other thing I have learned is that in order to effectively promote freedomware it helps to have even a small portion of your livelihood reliant on it. Well... at least it provides a healthy motivation. Smiling

Talk soon

Welcome back Landy! Very

Welcome back Landy! Smiling

Very true what you say. I think those classes are an excellent idea. I suppose what it comes down to is offering something of real value, not just marketing something others have made. Words, shiny logos and commercials can only go so far. Ultimately it's up to what people demand, not what we offer or preach about.

Quote:

My opinion has shifted toward a more grassroots centric approach. The effective promotion of freedomware will occur naturally by sharing with individuals how it can benefit them in everyday life. This will be reflected at TheTuxProject in time. The other thing I have learned is that in order to effectively promote freedomware it helps to have even a small portion of your livelihood reliant on it. Well... at least it provides a healthy motivation. Smiling

Agreed. Smiling

 
libervisco wrote:

Welcome back Landy! Smiling

Thank you it is really good to be back!

libervisco wrote:

I suppose what it comes down to is offering something of real value, not just marketing something others have made.

You summed it up very well!

One of the great strengths of freedomware is that it is truly is something of real value. Not solely because it is free. But because it provides an opportunity for seemingly ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

libervisco wrote:

Words, shiny logos and commercials can only go so far. Ultimately it's up to what people demand, not what we offer or preach about.

The shiny stuff helps considerably. I know this is a bit over simplified Eye but it almost seems like MS and Mac are marketing companies that just happen to make stuff. Stuff that is not always meant to work that well. Sad This means the public suffers and ultimately the world suffers. But boy the general public sure likes it's shiny stuff.

So if we can get freedomware into their hands and lives one person at a time and creating some funding while doing so we are moving in the right direction. This way they can keep their shiny things long enough to see that they have only been receiving fools gold.

There are some things that freedomware does very well. Some that have been pointed out in this discussion and others... not so well. So like you said it is not about preaching. IMO This is because freedomware cannot do everything for everyone.

Great blog post man! It really got me thinking.

Great idea. Smiling I would like to see videos of your classes for examples.

 

Yes we do plan on creating some videos of the classes. We also plan on making some of the materials available.

Value

land0 wrote:

One of the great strengths of freedomware is that it is truly is something of real value. Not solely because it is free. But because it provides an opportunity for seemingly ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Software programs themselves which are freedomware but have proprietary counterparts of same functionality are probably just as valuable as that proprietary software with a couple of crucial distinctions I think. First is that it is usually free to get so those who really can't afford expensive proprietary counterparts can get them. This is where a lesser price tag (or no price tag) in fact makes for larger value. Smiling Second is the source code for those who wish to modify or may want to rely on others to modify and improve it for them.

Additional value of course is added when the freedomware in question is actually more functional than a proprietary counterpart (and there are some innovations from the freedomware world which originated as freedomware).

I would also personally add another value, and that's of it demonstrating the true property ownership applied to software in practice. I think freedomware is the best representation of property ownership over such intangible things as ideas, information and software. They CAN be owned, but once you sell or give it away or tell it away you made a copy so there are TWO units of it now, one owned by you and another by the one to whom you voluntarily sold/gave away/told. So proprietary software completely bastardizes that. What they call "property" is in fact a monopoly on ownership of what otherwise isn't theirs.

But I digress. Smiling

Regards

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