One of the comments we hear from people first introduced to Linux is one that relates to the amount of software that's available. For some reason, they assume that the only way to add new software to a Linux system is by way of magazine CDs. Unfortunately, (especially in my area), magazines that mainly support other operating systems tend to only have a few token Linux archives on their CDs if any, thus perpetuating the myth. As soon as we hear the phrase bemoaning software, we introduce them to Freshmeat (http://freshmeat.net) and Tucows Linuxberg (http://linuxberg.tucows.com).
If we've had to deal with the software myth, the next stage is to let others know where to find information about Linux. This is easily done by having a few Linux Journal and other Linux-related magazines handy, as well as pointing them to on-line resources such as Linux.Com, LinuxNewbie.org, Linuxtoday.com or SlashDot. Also, make it a point to let local people know about user groups in the area, and that there are many mailing lists with help just an e-mail away.
Nothing is more convincing than when you can describe what you like the most about something. In my case, it's freedom of choice--not only for the type of operating system I choose to use, but for how my desktop looks, which utilities I choose to use, and the financial freedom of being able to use high-quality software such as the GIMP without having to pay outrageous licensing fees. Along with this comes the freedom (and/or) responsibility to participate by writing articles or offering suggestions for software improvements. It's a chance to give something back to the community that's given me much more than "just" a choice of operating system.
Gaelyne Gasson (email@example.com) is a web admin in South Australia and the author of The Internet for Commodore C64/128 Users. She can be found on-line at http://gaelyne.com.
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