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Mazza558
October 8th, 2007, 05:08 PM
How do you think FOSS could be made to appeal to the public in general?

Most people only care about the practical side of FOSS, e.g "does it function as well/better than the tried-and-true software?", but never consider the political, social and economic benefits.

It would be cool to start a FOSS campaign not unlike the "Spread Firefox" campaign, which had critical success.

ryno519
October 8th, 2007, 05:13 PM
Ubuntu had the idea when they started covering FOSS with naked people, now THAT'S appealing.

incidence
October 8th, 2007, 05:31 PM
How do you think FOSS could be made to appeal to the public in general?

Most people only care about the practical side of FOSS, e.g "does it function as well/better than the tried-and-true software?", but never consider the political, social and economic benefits.

It would be cool to start a FOSS campaign not unlike the "Spread Firefox" campaign, which had critical success.

First, It should be easy for all to understand what FOSS means and there should be a global site that'd explain the concept. Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/) is a good example.

Kingsley
October 8th, 2007, 05:57 PM
FOSS may function the same as the proprietary counterpart but does it look as good or better?

For instance, Solitaire on Vista and Linux:

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/vistasolitaire.png

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/linuxsolitaire.png

Steveway
October 8th, 2007, 06:02 PM
FOSS may function the same as the proprietary counterpart but does it look as good or better?

For instance, Solitaire on Vista and Linux:

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/vistasolitaire.png

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/freecellsolitaire.png

You can't compare the powerfull funbringer pysol to a simple Solitairapplication. That's not fair.
Pysol rocks. :guitar:
And I second the comeback of naked people in Ubuntu.

Fbot1
October 8th, 2007, 06:08 PM
If you really want to make FOSS appeal to the masses make a crazy virus, that would do it.

Ireclan
October 8th, 2007, 06:16 PM
FOSS will only have appeal to the masses if it quits trying to dislodge proprietary software, and learns to co-exist. If it won't it'll always be labeled "radical" by the majority, and ignored.

p_quarles
October 8th, 2007, 06:32 PM
FOSS will only have appeal to the masses if it quits trying to dislodge proprietary software, and learns to co-exist. If it won't it'll always be labeled "radical" by the majority, and ignored.
You mean like how FreeBSD coexists with the Aqua window manager in OS X?

I really don't think FOSS is perceived as "radical" so much as it is not perceived at all. The vast majority of people who use electronic devices are already using Linux or other FOSS in some way every day. A few examples:
- TiVo
- Routers/gateways
- Some cellular phones
- Slightly more than half of all web sites

Linux already "appeals to the masses," they just aren't aware of its name.

WebDrake
October 8th, 2007, 06:34 PM
How do you think FOSS could be made to appeal to the public in general?

Most people only care about the practical side of FOSS, e.g "does it function as well/better than the tried-and-true software?", but never consider the political, social and economic benefits.

It would be cool to start a FOSS campaign not unlike the "Spread Firefox" campaign, which had critical success.

Making anything appeal "in general" is a difficult task. ;-) It's better to talk specifics---Firefox, for example, enjoyed success (although it's still in the minority as regards browser use) because it addressed a very particular need, that is, the need for a high-quality, forward-looking web browser that isn't controlled by Microsoft.

People only care about the practical side for a good reason---for most people, their "main business" is not using software but performing other tasks and while computers may help, most of that work could be done without computers if it really had to be. Computers and software are there to make their lives easier. So if you want to "sell" FOSS to these people you have to make a case which fits with their individual needs. Part of that may be the acknowledgement that for some people, FOSS is simply not ready to provide what they are looking for.

A few key parts of any strategy would be:

(i) Focus on what people need rather than what you want and find solutions for them. Don't try to sell FOSS as a complete package but emphasise what parts of their software bundle they can switch without difficulty. Start with the simple stuff---web browser, word processor, email client. Be understanding that the big proprietary CAD package they use is an essential part of their work and switching away from it is a big investment even if the FOSS competition is better.

(ii) Free/open data formats are probably easier to get support on than free software (and IMO more important) because they address a problem that everyone is concerned about (at least if they think for more than 2 seconds). From software you want functionality but from data you want accessibility and your worst nightmare is having your most important work files stuck in a format you can't read.

Since free data formats are often best (or only) implemented by free software, this can be an interesting Trojan horse (but filled with nice cuddly GNU programmers instead of evil men with swords and axes).

(iii) Emphasise the range of choice that open source brings---choice of software, choice of software provider---and the potential ease of migration from one to another.

As it's late in the evening where I'm writing, I'll leave it for now but look forward to what other people think about this ...

-- Joe

marco123
October 8th, 2007, 06:40 PM
Maybe they should give it away for free. Oh wait.... :)

DarkOx
October 8th, 2007, 07:41 PM
I think you're jumping the gun a bit with the ad campaign thing. Have you thought about to whom you're going to address these ads? If it's just "the public" then the message likely won't mean anything to anybody. Simply put, it's hard to target everyone at once. You need to segment the market.

You need to think about who would use the product and divide up people by geography, demography, psychographics (meaning activities, interests, opinions, values) and behaviors (i.e. what benefits they seek from the product, their usage rates, etc.) For example, you might be looking at promoting Ubuntu to Americans in their early 20s, who are interested in technology and value freedom of information. You would then promote the openness of the system.

Alternately, if you were marketing to retirees and wanted to emphasize easy of use, your marketing strategy would have to change. Maybe the internet would be a poor way to promote the product, so you'd have to think of another way.

Once you've got an idea about who you're promoting this to, then start crafting your ad. Not before.

HermanAB
October 8th, 2007, 07:49 PM
Hmm, I think what we need is a 'Linux Inside' campaign.

Every year, about 2 billion embedded devices are produced. Of these, about 20% run Linux, which totals to about 400 million devices. These type of devices last about 5 years, then they are replaced/fail. So there should be about 2 billion Linux powered devices out there. A large percentage of these are cell phones which people handle every day.

If Linus would change the license to require a Linux logo on all devices that run Linux, the visibility of Linux will increase enormously.

aysiu
October 8th, 2007, 07:57 PM
If you're really interested, read these three threads:
What do non-geeks want? (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=199744)
Starting SpreadUbuntu (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=14810)
Let's Get SpreadUbuntu Up And Running! (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=208572)

macogw
October 9th, 2007, 12:31 AM
"You know how Firefox is faster and safer than IE? That's because it's FOSS. You can replace Windows with fast & safe FOSS."

Or, if you're Kevin Cole, you ask someone "Did you ever use Corel Wordperfect?" if they say "yes" "Does the phrase 'reveal codes' mean anything to you?" They get this misty "ohh i miss that...." look on their faces. "FOSS is like 'show codes' on a much grander scale."

WebDrake
October 9th, 2007, 10:16 AM
(i) Focus on what people need rather than what you want and find solutions for them. Don't try to sell FOSS as a complete package but emphasise what parts of their software bundle they can switch without difficulty. Start with the simple stuff---web browser, word processor, email client. Be understanding that the big proprietary CAD package they use is an essential part of their work and switching away from it is a big investment even if the FOSS competition is better.

I realise this sounds like it's still just a question of getting people to use software rather than understand the principles and reasoning behind FOSS. Of course the intention is to show where FOSS can provide better solutions not just because the program has better functionality but because of the privileges granted by being FOSS.

WebDrake
October 9th, 2007, 10:22 AM
If Linus would change the license to require a Linux logo on all devices that run Linux, the visibility of Linux will increase enormously.

Not possible because this would be GPL-incompatible---and since Linux contributors retain copyright, no one can unilaterally change the license. Also, although it wouldn't technically make Linux non-free, it would rather run against the spirit of FOSS.

See the FSF's page on the original BSD licence and its "obnoxious advertising clause":
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html

Sporkman
October 9th, 2007, 07:55 PM
FOSS may function the same as the proprietary counterpart but does it look as good or better?

For instance, Solitaire on Vista and Linux:

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/vistasolitaire.png

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/linuxsolitaire.png

:lol: Good point.

Incense
October 9th, 2007, 08:11 PM
FOSS may function the same as the proprietary counterpart but does it look as good or better?

For instance, Solitaire on Vista and Linux:

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e57/demasterk/vistasolitaire.png



I think project like portable apps (http://portableapps.com/) help make people aware of how useful open source can really be. I point folks there all the time.

Solitaire on KDE4

Mazza558
October 9th, 2007, 09:35 PM
A lot of FOSS focuses on the function rather than aesthetics. The biggest exception is probably the Compiz project. I'd prefer it if developers focused equally on aesthetics and functionality, rather than heavily favouring one or the other.

jgrabham
October 9th, 2007, 09:40 PM
Maybe they should give it away for free. Oh wait.... :)

But people dont want that free rubish... It wont work, Im gonna use the mascafee that came on my Dell for 50 a year, and use MS Office for 200 :(

But why dont we all shove a stack of opendisks in our local librarys?

jgrabham
October 9th, 2007, 09:50 PM
Now, heres your typical PC user -

I went to the rink to watch a fight and a hockey match broke out. says:
hi
Anthony says:
sup dawg
I went to the rink to watch a fight and a hockey match broke out. says:
2 qs
I went to the rink to watch a fight and a hockey match broke out. says:
what word processor do you have on your pc, and what web browser do you use?
Anthony says:
word and internet explorer (aol explorer is s***e)



(must stop using my friends as guinny pigs, oh well)

oh, and remind me to go round to his house armed with an open disk this weekend

Incense
October 10th, 2007, 02:38 AM
I find that things seem to go over better when people see FOSS in action, so they know first hand that it is not rubbish. Show them how OpenOffice can save to a PDF, or create a quick graphic in inkscape, or edit a photo in Gimp and some users may see the real value in the software....

The rest of them will simply pirate Photoshop, Illustrater, and MS Office. I would argue that an entire generation has been raised with the internet and the knowledge to download and crack these pro apps. They do not assign a value to this software so why would they value FOSS?