Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends

From evan at mcnabbs.org  Mon Sep 15 09:03:50 2003
From: evan at mcnabbs.org (Evan McNabb)
Date: Mon Sep 15 08:03:30 2003
Subject: [uug] Linux Marketing Survey
Message-ID: <20030915140350.GG2919@medusa.nabbernet.net>

I have a friend who is getting his MBA and is currently working on a
project to see how to market Linux to the average person. I told him if
we were to ask the UUGers he could probably get a pretty good response.
Here's his question:

Q: What features or attributes of Linux led you to start using it and/or
influence you to continue using it? Please be specific and descriptive
as possible and as technical as you would like.

Feel free to write as much (Halcrow) or as little as you want...

-Evan

-- 
/********************************************************************\
       Evan McNabb: <emcnabb@cs.byu.edu> <evan@mcnabbs.org>
		     http://evan.mcnabbs.org
             System Administrator, CS Department, BYU
 GnuPG Fingerprint: 53B5 EDCA 5543 A27A E0E1 2B2F 6776 8F9C 6A35 6EA5
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From mike at halcrow.us  Mon Sep 15 10:32:14 2003
From: mike at halcrow.us (Michael Halcrow)
Date: Mon Sep 15 08:33:29 2003
Subject: [uug] Linux Marketing Survey
In-Reply-To: <20030915140350.GG2919@medusa.nabbernet.net>
References: <20030915140350.GG2919@medusa.nabbernet.net>
Message-ID: <20030915143214.GA15455@halcrow.us>

On Mon, Sep 15, 2003 at 08:03:50AM -0600, Evan McNabb wrote:
> Q: What features or attributes of Linux led you to start using it and/or
> influence you to continue using it? Please be specific and descriptive
> as possible and as technical as you would like.
> 
> Feel free to write as much (Halcrow) or as little as you want...

I get the subtle feeling that I should respond to this question.

My initial encounter with GNU/Linux was on the mission field in a
small town in southern Italy in 1998.  Well, I never actually saw it
in action on a computer.  I noticed a box in the window of a computer
store that I was passing by with a big red hat on it.  I was curious,
since I considered myself fairly computer literate, yet I never heard
of this ``Red Hat Linux'' thing.  I was intrigued that it was
important enough to put in a store window.  I shrugged it off and kept
doing the missionary thing.

Upon returning to school in 2000, I landed a job in a research lab.
The lab was have HP-UX machines, and have x86 machines with some
flavor of GNU/Linux installed.  The less experienced undergrads were
assigned to the yucky HP-UX machines, and the upper classmen and grads
had the privilege of using the cool GNU/Linux machines.

I was embittered by the blatant class separation, so I decided that I
would show them all by installing Red Hat Linux 6.2 on my own Pentium
133 machine at home.  I networked it with my roommate's G4 using
AppleTalk.  In my mind at the time, that was the coolest thing in the
world.  I was instantly enamored.

I struggled a bit getting everything to work just right at first, and
so I brought my box in to the lab and asked some of the Ph.D. students
to help me get it all working.  Paul Graham, to his everlasting
credit, spent over an hour working with me on getting it all set up.
I would frequently ask another Ph.D. candidate in the back of the lab
questions, and he would usually give me a mocking look and tell me to
RTFM.  So I learned to RTFM.  It was all cookies and cake from that
point on.

One day, this Ph.D. student looked at me and said something along the
lines of the following:

``So you just installed a bunch of Free Software.  Congratulations.
Now what are you going to give back?  You know that all this stuff was
written by someone somewhere.  You can write code too, you know.  Are
you just going to keep taking from the community, without giving
anything in return?''

I didn't know exactly what to say to that.  It was true - a bunch of
people donated their time and effort to give me all this great
software. What was I going to do in return?  How was I going to give
back to this community that gave so much to me?

With time, I started learning more about the history and culture of
the Free Software movement.  I realized that it was much more than
just cool free (as in beer) software.  This was an entirely unique
view of community and cooporation in the electronic frontier.  The
Free Software movement allows people to share, help, develop, and
include anyone who wants to participate.

The GNU/Linux and other Free Software continues to be technically
cool, but my main motivation at this point for continuing to use and
advocate it is the Freedom factor.  Free Software authors will not try
to stop you from copying their software, learning from its source
code, or even extending and redistributing it.  It is the way that
things should have always been.

Mike

-- 
------------------------------------------- | ---------------------
Michael Halcrow                             | mike@halcrow.us     
Developer, IBM Linux Technology Center      |                      
                                            |
Where did you want to go yesterday?         |
------------------------------------------- | ---------------------
GnuPG Keyprint:  05B5 08A8 713A 64C1 D35D  2371 2D3C FDDA 3EB6 601D

From evan at mcnabbs.org  Mon Sep 15 12:45:22 2003
From: evan at mcnabbs.org (Evan McNabb)
Date: Mon Sep 15 11:44:30 2003
Subject: [uug] Linux Marketing Survey
In-Reply-To: < 20030915140350.GG2919@medusa.nabbernet.net>
References: < 20030915140350.GG2919@medusa.nabbernet.net>
Message-ID: < 20030915174522.GC10961@medusa.byu.edu>

> Feel free to write as much (Halcrow) or as little as you want...

I might as well put in my story right here. I grew up using a mac and
occasionally windows. My dad (and brother) did computer stuff but I
really wasn't too interested until my sophomore year in high school when
my grandpa got us all government surplus laptops. I played around some
but the thing that really got my interest was when Andrew (my bro)
showed me how to dial up into a Unix box at PrairieNet.org (a freenet
organization in my home town). The whole idea of communication on the
Internet (e-mail, irc, chess servers) really intrigued me. 

I liked the power of the Unix shell (since I had only used Unix
remotely) much more than DOS so I had my dad bring home an old Unix
workstation. It was made by OKI and ran some version of OKI Unix. It
sucked. Then I became the admin of a random Sun box at the University of
Illinois. That sucked too. Both were completely different in many ways
(even though they were both variants of Unix), were close to impossible
for me to configure, the GUIs they offered were HORRIBLE, and I knew I
could never afford one to use in my own home (since I had to return the
one I was borrowing). I had yet to find anything I really liked.

I tried out BSD at the end of high school but I felt like it had many of
the same downfalls as the other Unicies I had tried. I thought BeOS was
neat but no one was catching onto that. MacOS hadn't progressed in the
last 10 years, and Windows 95 was a joke. Then I tried Linux.

It ran well on our home "server" that Andrew, Peter, and I bought
together. I messed around with it but I was no expert. I did realize
that this had a lot of potential. This was around 1997.

I got back from my mission in 2000 and by that time Andrew and Peter
were die hard Linux users. I bought my laptop and from that moment on I
have used Linux as my main desktop and have used it on every server I've
had to maintain.

I use Linux because:

1) It's free as in beer (I don't have to pay for it) and as in freedom
(I have the ability to customize it to how I would like).

2) It runs on many architectures (yes, there are computers out there
that aren't x86, and I happen to own some of them) and on older
equipment. It was only last year that I got rid of the original server
my brothers and I had bought.

3) There are apps for everything I need (for no cost) to check e-mail,
browse the web, type papers, etc. The only thing that isn't widely
supported is games but I don't play many in the first place.

4) It's a great programming environment. 

5) It works great as a server, and I don't have to pay a ton for
databases, client licenses, etc.

6) It helps me to learn about how computers really work. I can see the
source code. I helps me understand how devices work. There is more to
computing than pointing and clicking.

There are many other things but I should get back to work. 

Linux isn't perfect yet, but it's getting really good, really fast.

-Evan

-- 
/********************************************************************\
       Evan McNabb: < emcnabb@cs.byu.edu> < evan@mcnabbs.org>
		     http://evan.mcnabbs.org
             System Administrator, CS Department, BYU
 GnuPG Fingerprint: 53B5 EDCA 5543 A27A E0E1 2B2F 6776 8F9C 6A35 6EA5
\********************************************************************/

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