The Education Expo is on this weekend. I’ve sent a couple of missives to our helpers. The second one contains some advice that would work well in many situations regarding FOSS (especially where marketing is concerned), so I’ll reproduce it (slightly edited) here:
Subject: Education Expo, this weekend!
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 23:29
From: Sridhar Dhanapalan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: SLUG Activities <email@example.com>
The expo itself runs from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Entry is free. It’s a fun day for families with children in the K-12 space, so feel free to bring along your kids and make a day (or two!) out of it.
This year, the expo will be held in Rosehill Racecourse’s brand new Events Centre, and our stand is in a prime position right in front of the door. If you haven’t already, take a look at the original announcement and the Education Expo Web site.
I asked in my previous message if people could tell me when they would be available to help out. If you haven’t already, please let me know. If you’re unsure, that’s fine too: just show up and grab me at the stand.
I’ll be there at 8am on Saturday (an hour before it starts) to set up the stand, and probably at 8:30 on Sunday. I might need some assistance to set up, and also to pack up afterwards.
- Wear comfortable casual clothing. It might get hot in the exhibition hall.
- If you’ve got any Linux or FOSS themed clothing, wear that 🙂
- Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing most of the time.
- Keep some water handy.
- Talking to stand visitors can strain your throat. Some mints can help.
Make it clear to visitors that there is a vibrant FOSS community in Australia, and especially in Sydney. Invite them to SLUG, which meets in the city on the last Friday of every month (next meeting on 27 June). SLUG has a segment known as ‘SLUGlets’, which is intended for newbies.
Familiarise yourself with the leaflets that we will distribute:
Have a read of Linux Australia’s guides to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and FOSS in education. Remember to promote these to stand visitors as the best place to start with Linux and FOSS:
One important point to remember is that Linux is not FOSS. We will be handing out copies of the OpenEducationDisc, which is a CD full of education-oriented FOSS for Windows. Not everyone is able to switch over to Linux cold-turkey, but we can get them started with FOSS on Windows first.
Similarly, open standards are not FOSS, but they are a good start. Inform people about the dangers of proprietary file formats, as seen with Microsoft Office, and promote in their stead open alternatives such as OpenDocument and PDF.
Show people that Linux isn’t strange and new. Many don’t realise it, but they are already using FOSS. For example:
- Firefox and OpenOffice are becoming increasingly popular. The NSW Department of Education is in the process of switching over >40,000 school computers to OpenOffice.
- Wikipedia is built around the idea of open knowledge, inspired directly from the FOSS movement (and it’s built on FOSS too!).
- Even Mac OS X has many important components based on FOSS, such as the kernel, file sharing, printing and the Web browser.
- About two-thirds of Web sites are served by the FOSS Web server, Apache.
- Most of the large Web companies (like Google, Facebook and Yahoo) are built with FOSS.
- It is normal for Hollywood films to be created using Linux.
- Linux is prevalent in a range of consumer devices.
- The popular ASUS Eee PC, and many of its competitors, come with Linux pre-installed.
Show people that Linux is easy to install and use. Ubuntu has an installer called Wubi, which is a Windows application that installs Ubuntu as a file without partitioning the hard drive. It behaves like a normal dual-boot system, but it can be uninstalled from ‘Add/Remove Programs’ just like any Windows application. We’ll also have copies of Edubuntu. Remember that this is an add-on companion, not a stand-alone liveCD as in the past. Give a copy of Ubuntu with every Edubuntu disc you distribute.
Linux is more secure. While nothing can claim to be 100% secure and virus proof, Linux has an excellent track record. It doesn’t need ‘band-aid’ solutions like anti-virus and anti-spyware software because the software was built sanely to begin with. The Internet was built for UNIX, not for Windows.
Linux and FOSS is great for families. It’s affordable and reliable. It won’t get infected and show unsolicited porn adverts to your children. There are heaps of great educational software installable with just a few mouse clicks.
- As a community stand, we are not selling anything.
- Avoid unnecessary Microsoft-bashing. We’re running the stand because we love FOSS, not because we hate Microsoft.