[UFO Chicago] New Linux Website

David Horton dhorton@megsinet.net
Thu, 28 Nov 2002 19:37:24 -0600

David Blomstrom wrote:
> I'm writing to publicize a new open-source/Linux activist website and 
> solicit any feedback you care to offer.
> I'm not currently using open-source software. I'm an experienced web 
> designer but am still basically a computer geek who wasn't even aware of 
> open-source until fairly recently.
> My immediate interest lies primarily in open-source's political 
> potential. I'm a sworn enemy of corporate corruption in general and Bill 
> Gates in particular, and I was delighted to learn that Microsoft is 
> running scared of Linux.
> Accordingly, I've begun publicizing Linux on my website. My primary 
> open-source site is at http://www.geobop.com/gnu/ In addition, I've 
> listed Linux user groups in all 50 states on my North America site. Go 
> to http://www.geobop.com/World/NA/ and click on the name of your state, 
> then look for the Linux penguin near the bottom of that state's home 
> page. Please advice me of any corrections or additions I should make. I 
> also put in a plug for Linux on my home page, at http://www.geobop.com/
> The theme I'm trying to develop is "Rediscovering American Values" - as 
> in escaping Microsoft's monopoly, corruption and the growing global 
> digital divide and returning to honesty, diversity and international 
> cooperation. I welcome any comments or suggestions on my project and 
> have two particular requests:
> 1) I'd really like to help popularize Linux among less experienced 
> computer users and would like to learn about individuals and companies 
> who help people install Linux, whether for a fee or gratis. Many Linux 
> fans say people should do it themselves in order to learn about it. But 
> there are many people who are simply to ignorant of computers. Moreover, 
> they can learn by watching someone else install it - or direct them in 
> installing it. Accordingly, I'm thinking of listing some Linux buffs who 
> make home visits, if you can suggest any.
> 2) I'd like to try to earn some revenue from my open-source activism, if 
> possible. I lack the technical skills, but I have pretty solid writing 
> skills and I can advertise commercial open-source products and services 
> on my website. (My sites are currently averaging about 13,000 visits a 
> day, with traffic nearly doubling in spring.) I'd particularly like to 
> sell advertising to local companies on my 50-state sites. Can you 
> suggest any local or regional companies that might be good contacts?
> I can also advertise on my other websites. For example, I've been 
> delving into politics on my Symbols site at 
> http://www.geobop.com/Symbols/ and am working on a new political site 
> for both children and adults. I can even work some Linux logos (like the 
> penguin and chameleon) on my animals site at 
> http://www.geobop.com/geozoo/  I welcome any tips on possible commercial 
> ventures - writing, advertising, affiliate programs, etc.
> I'm currently unemployed (thanks partly to Bill Gates), and I may only 
> have a few months before I get uprooted, so I'm hoping to get Linux up 
> and running very soon - once I decide whether I should partition my hard 
> drive, buy another hard drive, or get a separate Linux computer! I also 
> figured out that I might actually save money by leasing a dedicated 
> server and moving my websites on to it. That's the other reason I became 
> interested in Linux. (I also need to learn about things like Apache 
> software, MySQL, etc.)
> I'd appreciate it if you could share this e-mail with your group or 
> list-serve.
> Thank you.
> David Blomstrom  GeoBear@geobop.com


You might consider writing documentation for The Linux Documentation 
Project (http://www.tldp.org).  These are the people who write the 
HOWTO's and such.  Since you say you are more of a writer than an 
open-source expert, this would probably be a good fit.  As you learn 
more about Linux and open-source software, take notes.  If in your 
journey you stumble upon something that you think is really cool, but it 
lacks good documentation consider writing an FAQ or HOWTO that explains 
it.  I can see many benefits in this:

* You can help new users by writing documentation from their vantage point.
* Good documentation makes it easier for people to make the switch to 
open source.
* You can put it on your resume!

You could also get involved in a volunteer group, like I.C.Stars in 
Chicago, for example.  (http://www.icstars.org)  I.C.Stars helps inner 
city youth gain technical skills to compete in today's job market.  I'm 
sure there are many other groups who are also working to "bridge the 
digital divide."  This also looks impressive on a resume.

I would suggest toning down the "Viva la revolution" rhetoric a little 
and concentrate on taking a low-key approach to getting your message 
out.  If you come on too strong people are likely to file your words 
away under the same heading they use for T.V. Preachers and Pro 
Wrestlers.  Consider the words of Martin Luther King Jr. who said, "Hate 
cannot drive out hate.  Only love can do that."  Don't show people how 
to hate Microsoft, show them how to love open-source.

David Horton