Minute Gift Ideas to Encourage Linux Use
Contributed by Walter V. Koenning Jr. for
Opinion/Editorial December 9, 2004.
There is still time to
decide on a few holiday shopping ideas that can both help foster Linux
use and benefit someone still hesitant. I have seen very positive
responses by giving one of the following inexpensive and practical
1. Give the
Gift of Linux CDs
I have a great holiday gifting idea for the dozen or so colleagues and
friends I know spent most of 2004 hearing about Linux, asking me
questions about the OS, and still sheepishly not trying it out.
Give the gift of Linux.
I prefer to order a dozen copies from Discount Linux CD's!
where I know the CDs are ready to use, have professional labels, and are
reasonably priced (although the handling fee is steep it makes up for
my lost time sitting burning a dozen flavors at 4 CDs each!). I
also try to avoid pushing one flavor since I know people have
preferences. Instead, I usually order a handful of Fedora, a
stack of Mandrake, and some copies of Debian. Each has its
advantages and meets specific needs.
One method is to download and burn your own Linux CDs and hand them out
as stocking stuffers to friends who will never take the initiative to
try it alone. However, please make the effort to add a
good-looking label to your CDs; otherwise, we end up simply
perpetuating the idea that Linux is cheap and second hand when this
is far from the truth.
These CDs not only make great stocking stuffers, they offer an
opportunity to open up doors. For instance, one associate who
kept badmouthing Linux for the longest time received my Linux gift with
joy and thanked me for finally sharing with me what this Linux is all
about. People love getting gifts and nothing is more satisfying
than giving something that is useful.
2. Give the
Gift of a Helper with the new beginner book
I know there are volumes of beginner books available. However,
the one I recommend is the new release
Linux For the Rest of Us. When I first received a review copy from Rais,
I thought this could be yet another failed attempt at catering to the
specific needs of new users. There are too many such books already.
After perusing the chapters, I was surprised to find that someone has
actually taken the extra effort to speak encouragingly to brand new
Linux users. This book will not help me much; I have been using
Linux since 1998. Nevertheless, it definitely has the ingredients
to help those who are just about to try out Linux.
Linux For the Rest of Us covers a lot that brand new users need to
hear. The book includes chapters on installation of the latest
flavors, focused on getting people started with Fedora, Mandrake, and
SuSe. There is a chapter on helping people install older Linux
flavors such as RedHat 9.0. The author wisely incorporates a
section on post-installation configuration where he guides users to
tweak their system after the install.
To clarify similarities and differences between Windows and Linux, the
author includes a very good starter guide on moving from Windows to
Linux and follows it up with a number of very helpful tips for using
the KDE desktop.
He goes on to add much more but all in concise and new user
terms. Not technological jargon and plenty of specific tips and
advice like setting up Linux for internet use. Did you know that
in most major cities you can get on a free Linux dialup? I did
not until reading the modem chapter.
Give the gift of a Linux helper by giving this book. It is a
personal and personable helper for the new user to get over the humps
and hurdles painlessly. It is not a thorough Linux reference, but
for new user it may just be the right motivator.
the Gift of Linux Driven Entertainment
No stocking stuffer is complete without the gift of
entertainment. Give the gift of a quality 3D video game this
holiday and prove that intense gaming also happens on Linux.
There are plenty of Linux native games available today, and most of all
these stocking stuffers make great gifts for the new Linux users and us
fans too! In fact, I have chosen to treat myself to one just now.
Find a copy of your personal favorite video games at the
Tux Games site among many. Or, go and
download a demo game available for Linux such as
Americas Army: Special Forces
from places like fileshack.com
The last minute crunch for gifting ideas is easily resolved by giving
the gift of Linux on CD, a good Linux beginner book, or perhaps a
quality Linux based game. Choose any of these three gift ideas
this week and it will arrive in perfect time. Most importantly,
you do not even have to think about stepping out of the comfort of your
Walter V. Koenning Jr. is a
freelance writer and contributes his voice to the technology industry
on Opensource topics.
brief opinion piece should not be construed as factual information, and
only contains the opinions of the author at the time of
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