[sf-lug] Software Freedom Day at Best Buy

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Sat Sep 5 17:14:10 PDT 2009


> If
> Microsoft thinks Best Buy is a worthy battleground, perhaps we should
> engage them there for SFD.

This is a wonderful idea, but I am not going to be able to participate
because I believe we will be escorted off of the premises.

I don't want to throw cold water on your idea, but in my gut I would really
really love to see it succeed.  For years now, I have carried liveCDs with
me wherever I go, looking for a chance to give them away.  As we speak, I
have in my coat pocket some Fedora 11 liveCDs that I got from Larry Cafiero
by way of Grant Bowman, as well as some Ubuntu Jaunty liveCDs.  I have
engaged people in planes, trains, buses, and at Muni stops.  And yes, I have
stood outside of Nordstrom's in SF and talked to people at the Powell street
cable car turnaround about Linux.

I no longer do any of the above, because my success rate was so low.

Instead, I spend my time supporting two SF schools with FOSS.  There, I only
have to spend time making one pitch to one person, the principal, and boom,
I have access to a whole school of teachers and kids, and our team them gets
to place working, properly maintained Linux machines in front of teachers
who have been given the green light by their principal to use these
machines.  In addition, we get access to be able to place Linux machines in
students' homes, where the machines then get used for years.

My concern is that most end users don't understand that an OS has social
implications, and so they have not been prepped to hear the message of
Richard Stallman's four freedoms.  They have come to Best Buy thinking that
they are going to buy a household appliance, when in reality they are buying
a printing press and are committing themselves to a non-Free standard.

But IMHO, you need to first prep the audience to be receptive to your
message, and it has been my experience from 8 years of doing outreach that
people at Best Buy are there for a simple in-and-out transaction, not a
political outreach session.  I hope I am wrong, and I hope that your session
is very success.

I still carry liveCDs on the off-chance that someone will _ask_ me about
Linux.  For example, Grant Bowman and I were in a restaurant recently
talking about Linux.  The waiter came up to us and asked us about Ubuntu.
Grant had just given me some liveCDs, and suggested that I give one to the
waiter.  I asked the waiter if he would like a liveCD, and he said yes.  He
had been an computer science student in India, and had tried Linux in 2004,
and wanted to experiment with it again.

Good luck with your Best Buy buzz!  I hope you find lots of interested
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