Thursday, December 18, 2008

Evangelism - sort of.

Evangelism, for Christians, could be described as sharing a great secret with someone - sharing with others the hope that lies within you. Not forcing it down their throat - but, through your words and actions sharing, encouraging and enlightening someone about something you truly believe.

Well, this isn't a story about Christian evangelism, but GNU/Linux. Hahaha, some of my viewers are rolling their eyes already - yeah, you Zac.

I was recharging my laptop batteries in the camp kitchen of the camp site we were staying in. A couple from Peru were there and were interested in how I was getting internet access (I was browsing Slashdot at the time). I then excitedly described how all I had to do was plug in my mobile phone into the computer and that Ubuntu Linux then automatically configured it to work.

They thought that was very cool. I felt cool anyway. =D

A while later (I was still browsing the net) the girl asked me was operating system I was using - she loved the default Ubuntu 8.10 wallpaper. I then explained to her that I was using a free operating system called Ubuntu Linux and that it did everything I needed so well. She was immediately intrigued and asked me what it was. I proceeded to explain in more detail what Ubuntu Linux was (including Ubuntu's meaning) and the main (obvious) benefits that it gives (free, secure, easy, pretty). I also told them that it was very easy to give it a try. She (and her partner) were impressed and asked me where they could get it - I proceeded to give them Ubuntu's website URI.

Then, very interestingly, she asked me why she hadn't heard of it before. I told her that it doesn't have direct advertising and that most of its promotion comes from word-of-mouth. I proceeded to tell her that there was about 10 million current users and that major PC manufacturers were bundling it with their computers in some countries (not Australia yet =( ).

I then encouraged them to give it a go. The lady then asked me if she could check her email on it and I obliged. She didn't find it hard at all to operate, and was impressed with the look and feel (I didn't ask her - she told me). She then proceeded to tell me that she had to get an illegal copy of Windows Vista and that she was having problems with it (viruses and wouldn't run her older software).

Anyway, we talked some more small talk and they wen't to pack up their tent and leave. At this time I had a brain-wave - I don't get many brain-waves during hayfever season. I realised that I had an Ubuntu 8.10 live CD on me. I grabbed it and went outside to find them again - thankfully the guy was taking photos of the seaside at the time right outside the camp kitchen. I gave him the CD and told him that he could boot off it and test Ubuntu Linux without affecting their computer. He was very thankful and asked me if they could have Vista and Ubuntu Linux on the same machine. I then told him that Ubuntu Linux could do this and would actually encourage this as the default option. I also gave him some avenues of help if he got stuck. He was a very happy customer.

Anyway, I guess the thing is that through my public use of my computer people noticed that it was different and asked questions. It was very cool.

It was obvious to me that people haven't heard of Ubuntu Linux - but that many people needed something better than their current operating system. Hopefully Ubuntu Linux can fill that need for them.

Anyway - I thought it was cool. So what, I may be a bit nerdy - but I have a passion for this GNU/Linux based OS.


  1. Very cool story! I've had not a few people ask me about Linux. I've not used Ubuntu (I'm a Gentoo kind of guy), but I do believe that's the distro that Dell uses on their Linux offerings.

    In the times I've found myself in a position to sell/defend Linux, I've usually met with good response. I must admit, it would help our desktop market share immensely if we had some major name game factories writing native Linux games. :)

  2. Just for a tip.... to use correct terms and understanding.

    Linux (the kernel) is the operating system. Not the Ubuntu or GNU/Linux. Ubuntu is complete software system what uses Linux as OS and includes lots and lots of other software too to allow. GNU/Linux is Linux OS + development tools (+ other software). The Ubuntu is Linux Operating System, but to be very accurate, it is a distribution of Linux operating system.

    The monolith kernel is the old way to develope an Operating System, where the complete Operating System is running in one address space. There is lots of differences of operating systems and kernel-structure is biggest part of it. The saying "Operating System needs an kernel" is wrong because some kernel-structures are the operating systems. And the calling Ubuntu as complete OS? It is just so out of truth that... same as calling Firefox as part of OS and bug in Firefox a bug in OS and not on browser...

    Altought... Happy Christmas ;-)

  3. Hmm, so they did like it? Funny. Yesterday I used an Ubuntu livecd on the PC of a collegae of mine who never had seen linux before. He told me he thought it sucked, and looked like from the 80's...

    Personally I find the brown OK, it's different. But every first-time user I've spoken with hated it...

    Either way, it's a good news story ;-)

  4. Haha, very nice.

    It's almost like the time when I was working on a project in the largest train station in the Netherlands. It was a large thing with 3 42" and 2 50" screens, so clearly visible.

    Put a Tux wallpaper on and do a compiz rotation once in a while when there are a lot of people passing by and you get some promotion power ;-).

    Even a guy that worked at Adobe passed by and asked if we used Photoshop for our graphics and we needed to tell him that we needed to use GIMP because PS does not work on linux ;-D.

    Have fun in Australia!