I'm afraid I stole the following from the newsletter but I thought it needed a wider audience
We all want to spread the word of free software. We've all seen how
much safer, faster and better computing can be thanks to Linux. We
know that we're free of corporate domination and can delve into our
operating system as much as we want, without being labelled as
criminals. It's great being a Linux user, but how do we spread the
1) Start small
If you want to switch someone over to Linux, they're not going to
tear up their existing operating system in one fell swoop. It's a
good idea to demonstrate the benefits of free software gradually,
first by showing the big news stories on the BBC and similar
websites about how scarily insecure Internet Explorer is. Show them
Firefox, how easy and familiar it is, and explain how much safer
they are online now.
2) Count up the price
We're all used to web browsers being free (as in beer), but you can
really make an impact talking about office software. This works
especially well in small businesses, when you can point out that
switching to LibreOffice will potentially save thousands of pounds.
If your convertee in the making gets applications through torrent
sites, show them free alternatives that they can use without the
risk of legal problems.
3) Don't yell FREEDOM
We value software freedom, but it's quite an abstract idea and for
those who don't understand what source code is, it can be hard to
get across. So initially, it's good to focus on the practical
benefits of free software (price, reliability, security). Once a
user is settled in, show them how they can't be controlled by a
company. And even if they have no use for the source code, by
everyone having access to it, nobody is at mercy of corporate
4) Step up to live CDs
There's no need to jump straight into a hard drive Linux
installation. Give someone a live distro, help them to boot it up
and leave them exploring. Tell them that they can't damage their
machine like this and they can simply reboot whenever they want.
That generates massive confidence.
5) Stick with popular distros...
...at least at the start. You may love WonderBuzz Linux 84.7, but
because a new convertee may need help from a community online, it's
best to start with a well-known distro where it's easy to find help.
Once your convertee is fully settled into the Linux world, you can
show him/her the broader world of distros.