Linux Advocacy Guidelines

  1. Share your personal experiences (good and bad) with Linux. Everyone knows that software has bugs and limitations and if we only have glowing comments about Linux, we aren't being honest. I love to tell people about having to reboot four times (three scheduled) in three years.
  2. If someone has a problem that Linux may be able to solve, offer to provide pointers to appropriate information (Web pages, magazine articles, books, consultants, ...). If you haven't actually used the proposed solution, say so.
  3. Offer to help someone start using Linux.
  4. Try to respond to one ``newbee'' posting each week. Seek out the tough questions, you may be the only one to respond and you may learn something in the process. However, if you aren't confident that you can respond with the correct answer, find someone that can.
  5. Seek out small software development firms and offer to make a presentation about Linux.
  6. If the opportunity arises, make a presentation to your employer's Information Technology group.
  7. If you need an application that is not supported on Linux, contact the vendor and request a native Linux version.
  8. Participate in community events such as NetDay96 While your first priority must be to contribute to the success of the event, use the opportunity to let others know what Linux can do for them.
  9. Always consider the viewpoints of the person to which you are ``selling'' Linux. Support, reliability, interoperability and cost are all factors that a decision-maker must consider. Of the above, cost is often the least important portion of the equation.
  10. Point out that the production of freely available software takes place in an environment of open collaboration between system architects, programmers, writers, alpha/beta testers and end users which often results in well documented, robust products such as Emacs, Perl and the Linux kernel.
  11. Report successful efforts of promoting Linux to Linux International ( and similar organizations.
  12. Find a new home for Linux CD-ROMs and books that you no longer need. Give them to someone interested in Linux, a public library or a school computer club. A book and its CD-ROM would be most appropriate for a library. However, please be sure that making the CD-ROM publicly available does not violate a licensing agreement or copyright. Also, inform the library staff that the material on the CD-ROM is freely distributable. Follow up to make sure it is available on the shelves.

Canons of Conduct

  1. As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your CEO. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  2. Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  3. A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  4. Don't bite if offered flame-bait. Too many threads degenerate into a ``My O/S is better than your O/S'' argument. Let's accurately describe the capabilities of Linux and leave it at that.
  5. Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  6. Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. We have a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  7. Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  8. Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using ``creative spelling''. If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  9. Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project, MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  10. Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  11. There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

User Groups

  1. Participate in a local user's group. If one does not exist in your area, start one.
  2. Make speakers available to organizations interested in Linux.
  3. Issue press releases about your activities to your local media.
  4. Discus the Linux Advocacy HOWTO at a meeting. Brainstorm and submit new ideas.


Grateful acknowledgment is made to all contributors, including:

Jon "maddog" Hall,
Greg Hankins,
Eric Ladner,
Martin Michlmayr,
C. J. Suire,
Lars Wirzenius,