Bringing Linux to the public – in UK

Where are the Linux user and consumer shows?

by Michael Smith

While the US, Germany, and other countries seem to have one Linux Expo and other event after the others – aimed at the general public, the consumer, and the geek alike – in the UK it seems to be an absolute dearth. No proper attempt appears to be even made to get Linux, in whichever shape or form or distro, to the people and to get Linux known to the consumers in general.

The Linux Expo that used to be an annual event in the UK seems to be in a coma and it would appear very close to death's door if not having passed over already. At the same time it would appear that no other even to bring Linux to the general public, the general consumer, as well as businesses, is even attempted in Britain.

This is a very sad state of affairs for sure, especially as, as it would appear, some Linux distribution companies and organizations do have there base in the UK.

The previously mentioned Linux Expo in the UK used to be held in the Olympia exhibition center but that is hardly necessary. While the event should be in London – or at least one of them – there is no need to use one of those expensive venues for sure. Other venues are available, from race courses such as Epsom or Sandown, for instance, over the dog tracks, to halls of one kind or the other that are equally suitable, even school gymnasia, as it is done with so-called computer fairs.

If we, and especially those that stand behind Linux, are really serious in getting Linux, whether Ubuntu (and this to me is still the best version for the ordinary user) or SUSE or Fedora, or whichever other, to be taken up by the general PC user, the ordinary consumer then we better get the software and also the hardware that comes preloaded with Linux out to the consumer. The only way we will be able to do that, aside from, maybe, the Internet, is by consumer shows and expos dealing with the subject of Linux, with workshops and such like.

Whether those are going to be shows for which the customer will be charged an entry fee or not is another question. It would, obviously, be best if such shows could be free or for a nominal ticket price that people would not mind paying. Prices such as GBP15 or such for a ticket, as charged by some consumer shows, would mean that the footfall would be virtually zero. However, unless such shows are organized and in fact laid on and run Linux, especially Linux on the desktop, will, predominately, remain the domain of the geek, those in the know, and some governments and organizations. If Linux distros are serious in getting a market share away from MS Windows then Linux must present itself to the consumer proper. If this is not done then the uptake will either continue on the level as it is presently or it may, in fact, start sliding backwards; especially the take up of Linux by the general computer consumer.

© M Smith (Veshengro), September 2008