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2. Write one-page paper on politics and open source software

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  • politics is just for politicians
  • legislative assembly
  • open source advocacy is just for geeks
  • don't know how to get started
  • decisions are just for the boss

management initiatives without a support base will fail.

we need people 'in the ranks'.


  • revolution is not handed down from above
  • the most effective advocate comes from the people
  • you need that internal support base


  • convince people to take personal responsibility, to take the initiative in learning more about open source and advocating it to their coworkers and friends
  • show them the very next step: spend thirty minutes to an hour every day learning about the tools that are available. invest time in learning how to use tools so that you can work more effectively.
  • temper this with some tips on advocacy: be reasonable
  • get the courage to try something out

what is the problem? lack of individual responsibility

why should we care?

  • because this technology is better
  • because we can get it freely
  • because

(This article is addressed to many of my classmates and other people who are new to free software. I write about free software (free-speech, minimal-cost/free-beer), not open source in general, because I believe that free software has greater impact. I might post a revision tomorrow...)

Some of our most common mistakes are to leave politics to politicians, decisions to managers, and free software advocacy to geeks.

It's easy to forget that politics is about people and communities, that we influence the decisions other people make, and that no matter how new we are to free software, our thoughts and actions carry far more weight than statistics, studies, or expert advice.

I want to show you that no matter how new you are to free software, you can play an important role. Here are three important things you can do even as a user.

First, explore. Set aside thirty minutes to an hour each day simply for learning more about the tools you use, whether you're exploring advanced features of your current software or looking for better alternatives.

Second, teach. Even just one day's experiments will yield many things you can help other people discover. Most people will be hesitant because they think free software is hard to use. Show your friends and coworkers that they can easily learn how to use free software. Show them how Mozilla Firefox can block pop-ups and let them browse safely. Show them, GIMP, XMMS; whatever fits their needs, be it a treasure-trove of games for their children or a mail raeder free from viruses. Show them open source in action _first_, then talk about the abstract benefits. Like all good things, free software thrives because of word of mouth. Not only will you share the benefits of free software with people around you, but the exchange of knowledge will also strengthen the social network.

You need to be able to talk about the benefits of free software in terms that your colleagues and friends will understand. Your explorations will allow you to talk from experience, and people can identify with you far more than they can identify with a dry report. If you can learn how to use and take advantage of open source, then so can they. You know your community. You know what people around you need.

Lastly, share. Free software redefines the game; instead of having to ask your friends to buy software, you can freely give them copies of software you like.

Don't wait for a government mandate or a company policy. Learn more about free software and teach your community about it today!

It's the freedom to decide when you want

The most effective advocates I've met are not the ones who know the most about the technology or who have a list of accomplishments a mile long; rather,

Open source software is software

a Open source advocacy begins with you

You can experiment at home or

When people approach you for help, you will then

Don't wait for a government mandate or a company-wide decision. Learn about open source now, and share your

<mariocarreon> one of the ways our clever sysad managed to convince an entire college to switch to linux...
<mariocarreon> was when he centralized all the home folders into a server
<sachac> Mm hmm...
<mariocarreon> so that people could log in to any computer and see their home accounts
<sachac> Ooooooh.
<mariocarreon> of course this only worked because that college was the
               college of social sciences where teachers werent really
               computer savvy in the first place

1. General instructions for assignments

All pages in an assignment should have your name in the upper left corner and the page number in the upper right corner. I suppose I should draft things in oowriter, but I'll repost it as HTML and text as well.

私たちが休暇をとっている間、近所の人が私たちの猫の世話をしてくれた。 While we were on holiday, a neighbor took care of our cat.

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