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Desktop Summit in San Diego

I presented a session for Novell at the Desktop Summit in San Diego today. (The same one for which I had to write my bio, which thankfully was revised by the talented Mr. Jeff Allen.)

The session went very well. I had a bit of trepidation about the subject I presented. Besides Novell’s strategy for helping customers use Linux in their enterprises, I talked a bit about how the attendees should look at themselves as marketers–key links in the network that will accelerate the adoption of desktop Linux.

My premises were essentially these:

  • Don’t fall for the “Is it ready yet?” trap
    • The trap is really asking: Is it Windows yet?
    • Desktop Linux doesn’t need to become Windows. (In fact, if we succeed at cloning Windows, then we have actually failed.)
    • Ask “Ready for What”? There are roles for which Linux is already much better than Windows.
  • Speak truthfully about the capabilities and limitations of desktop Linux. (Those who read my blog would expect me to cover this one.)
    • Winning in the short run, but having people ultimately get disappointed works against desktop Linux.
  • Pay for the Linux desktop distribution you use
    • Most open source development–especially the refinement–is coming out of a company like Novell, Red Hat, Mandrake and so on. When you pay for what you use, you help that company keep makingbetter
      both the distribution and the general pool of source code.
  • Quantify
    • If you are deploying any desktop Linux in your organization, make sure you do the diligence to quantify the return on investment. It helps you to show why your organization is using Linux on the desktop.
  • Testify
    • Work with your distro vendor and go public with your results and experiences. The business world is hungry for data and examples.

This whole thing has some controversial stuff in it to purists. Like “pay for what you use.” Apparently there were presenters yesterday who used the rhetoric of “it should all be free,” which is so tired sounding to me.

Many people came up and thanked me for my presentation and said it was dead on. I was pleased to do it, and to those who shared their kind words, I say: thanks for your kind words. And also for lending me your ear in the first place.

I always feel so fortunate to have opportunities where I can talk to the people who are so enthusiastic and passionate to help affect this change in how software is done.


2 Responses

  1. Oh please… Do you even know what you are talking about?

    A lot of people (me included) have been paying for their [Linux|BSD] distribution of choice.

    I have dozens and dozens of CDs here in my office from about 6 different distributions, including “big names” such as Red Hat.

    I buy the official CDs from the two major open-source projects that I use and support every day. And let me give you a hint: none of them come from the company that you work for.

    Not everyone is an 3133t rebel (read: pimply-faced teenager), who refuses to pay for anything. Most of us understand that the distribution we love and use both at home and at work needs our financial support.

  2. re: “Oh please…”It sounds like you get it, and that you already do exactly what I was saying people need to do.
    Further, it’s perfectly okay if you’re not buying from my company. I’m an advocate for distro diversity.
    Maybe there are details I left off of my post. The day before I spoke at the Desktop Summit, there apparently had been some speakers, sans acne, who stated rather strongly that indeed software should be free (of charge). So I made the point that we can all help to accelerate desktop Linux by picking a vendor we like–preferably one who is making significant contributions–and paying for what we use. Since you are doing that, my presentation, and the blog summary of it, is really not indended to be a personal idictment of you.
    If you’d like, drop me an email and I’ll send you the SXI file I used and–you can mark it up and send it back to me with where you thing it goes astray.

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