Anti-FOSS Conspiracy? Meh.

In “Something’s Amiss in the Linux Community”, Walter V. Koenning suggests that there are people who are so against Linux and Free and Open Source software in general that they will take the time to post negative comments under articles that are pro-Linux. He notes that the negative comments appear to be copied and pasted into each article. At the same time, he notes that there seems to be more articles praising the merits of Windows.

Yet, I propose there is one big difference. The difference is so major that it allows me to smell the fishy smell, and notice that which has gone amiss and still sleep well at night.

Linux did not get to where it is today because it was promoted extensively, strategically deployed, well marketed, etc. It got to where it is today because there is an unquenchable thirst in the world (I’m talking about all of humanity) for creativity and collaboration.

Thousands of people have volunteered their blood and sweat to OpenSource because it matters more than general economics or power.

What we create with our minds and fingertips together with others we’ve never seen matters and benefits many and leaves a legacy that money can’t buy and power can’t wield. It’s not possible to stop inner human passion. Nor will it be possible to undermine the community that makes it tick so well. Instead, for every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction.

If there are forces at work to try to undermine FOSS and make it appear dangerous and inferior to proprietary products, then doesn’t it mean that the people behind those forces are afraid? If it really was as bad as they say, FOSS wouldn’t survive on its own merits.

Yet it does. And apparently if the trends the author indicates exist, people are dedicated to spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to slow it down. It simply demonstrates that Free and Open Source Software is important enough to be a threat, which means that it is good enough to compel people to switch.

Quite simply: they’re afraid.

Marketing for DLC Results

The DePaul Linux Community had the technical presentation last week on Thursday. Before I reveal how well marketing did, I’ll note some general data regarding our previous presentations:

  • there are usually only a few people who show up (between two and six non-members is normal)
  • we usually only post fliers and tell people in our own classes

The difference in marketing this time around: I sent out an email to over 20 professors.

The difference in attendence this time around: we had over 15 non-members.

Only one of them could be directly linked to an email I sent to a professor. The rest said they found out about the event through the website (a marketing tool which I will need to make sure is working to its full potential) and through other friends. I don’t know how many of those friends knew about it from my letter to a professor. Still, this is very encouraging.

Also, we found a lot of people were very happy with the event, titled “Developing for the Modern Web”. Larry Garfield did a great job talking about the wonders of CSS. Many, myself included, were surprised at the number of things that you could do with it. My favorite comment on the feedback forms we had: “Excellent presentation. Thanks for sharing this ‘untaught’ knowledge!”

Marketing for DLC

I’m a member of the DePaul Linux Community. We usually hold events each quarter, and this quarter is no different.

Last year we determined that we need to do more marketing. All we’ve ever done is post fliers up around campus, and the results have been decent. Unfortunately no one wanted to be the main person responsible for marketing. Since that time, I have learned quite a bit about running a business, and I know that marketing is definitely something I’ll need to get better at if I want to do well. I volunteered this quarter, partly to help the group and partly to practice my marketing skills.

I recently finished Jay Abraham‘s Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got. At one point he describes direct mail. When I thought of direct mail before, I thought of junk mail, or snail mail spam. It still is for the most part, but I also see that it can be a valid marketing too. It’s still unsolicited, but the marketing message is in its entirety, allowing the reader to get the full message. It’s supposed to have a higher response rate, and it makes sense that it should, especially over fliers.

Today I wrote an email and sent it to a number of faculty members in the CTI school of DePaul. It basically provided the information about the different events, a link to the website, and a blurb about the mailing list we have. It suggested actions to take, explicitly asking for them to post a section of the email on the announcements page of their class websites and making in-class announcements as well.

Unfortunately our first event is only a few days away, but hopefully the turnout will still be improved by this email alone. And it also sets the stage for the next few events.