View Full Version : Linux Conversion Done the Right Way : Golden Switch Story

July 6th, 2009, 02:31 AM
I won't lie. I'm a geek. I develop video games for crying out loud. I always loved Visual Styles in XP and minibin (recycling bin on the taskbar!? NO WAY, how convenient :P). But most people hate having to look for a program on download.com in the first place. It just rubs them the wrong way.

So I am here to officially declare that, according to my computer-hating friend, installing Ubuntu was almost as easy as installing a single antivirus program.

Anyway, getting to the point, here's how my friend was 'introduced to Linux'.

It was two days after my birthday. Got myself an N810 (love the thing, I hope Ubuntu mobile's getting there very soon). I was just showing it off to my friends, and if you've done any research, you'd know most MIDs are upwards of 500 dollars. So he said, "ah, that's cool, but I bet it costed you a fortune. I'll probably have to get an iPod Touch instead." Now, as I'm sure none of you know, a good iPod Touch goes for about 400 dollars these days (you know, the whole "disk space alone is worth hundreds of dollars" idea).

Well, I told him I got it from eBay, in perfect condition, for 180 dollars. This blew his mind.

So I plugged it into my Ubuntu laptop, putting some gba and gb roms I legally own on it so he could test out using my N810 as a GBA. And, naturally, having compiz and the sexy Mira v2 gnome theme, he had to ask what I was using. He assumed I had a super-fast lappy with some crazy Windows program (yuck).

So I told him it was Linux, and that I got compiz to run without speed conflicts on our buddy's 256 MB RAM PC, no problem. He was fascinated (man, we need to advertise this stuff).

So, I promptly told him that he could get it on his computer, but warned him of the 'disasters' of Linux. Ie. No iPod Touch 2.0 yet, wine doesn't work with every program, and it's generally better to get Linux-native programs since there are so many, so he'd have to find some alternatives.

I asked him what programs he uses frequently on Windows. He told me what he had, and the only thing he needed in Wine was an MMO called Nostale (works great in Wine), Starcraft, and Diablo II with expansion. All were fine with even older versions of Wine.

See, this part is key- tell them all the difficulty first, and state it clearly. And remembering to compare it to the Mac for Mac users is actually a very good thing if they're moving from Windows.

So, I proceeded to tell him, "I can promise you the following, without a doubt. You won't get viruses, you will find installing programs much easier, you will spend less time optimizing your computer and more time using it, you will become more productive, your computer will be fast, and will not slow down over time, it will be easy to find settings you want to change." Basically listing the benefits that I could guarantee, not mentioning the fact that many programs outdo their competition, such as OpenOffice, Banshee, compiz, etc.

And, coming from a friend, he was convinced. Just have to get people comfortable with the idea that Wine won't fix everything and they should use Linux apps, and compare it to the Mac which doesn't have many Windows apps ported anyway, and it just works.

We installed with the LiveCD, and I made sure to install Wine and Compiz for him, noting how to add a repository and telling him "you rarely will need to do any of this," never opening a terminal for a single thing.

He's totally satisfied.

So, lesson learned- buy a Linux MID and you'll accidentally get Linux converts. Make sure you inform and assist anyone who's interested, and don't push it on them. Make them want it first.


With so much good to address, what kind of marketing are we capable of? I think some straightforward marketing, showing actual features (like the iPod Touch commercials), would be a really good thing. Even if only on youtube. Most people have no clue about this stuff. I think we owe it to people to inform them when the opportunity presents itself.

July 6th, 2009, 03:03 AM
Great story. It's always good to hear. :popcorn: