Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Door-to-Door marketing FOSSSL 2006

We are not your average sales people. We couldn't be... had we even tried to. We shouldn't be... because we are already selling just fine. We ought to be... because that's what people seem to expect.

We are the Sri Lankan FOSS community and we're coming to your door step - well if we find time, that is.

Here are the top 5 reasons, why your never going to think of us as the average sales person:


  1. We don't wear a tie. We don't have shiny shoes. We generally like to wear jeans and cool FOSS T-shirts, some of which, has the GPL license printed on the back.


  2. We don't carry a brief case full of sh**. We might have a poster or two in our hand.


  3. You like what you hear so much that you have an urge to invite others to listen to our gospels.


  4. After a few minutes of listening, your not sure what we're here to sell. You might even ask "So what is it that you want from us?" or "So what's in it for you?"


  5. We leave your place without having taken a penny or a filled up registration form. And yet, you feel like we've sold you something.



Even though my feet are killing me after all that walking, it was a very satisfying day. All the places that we visited was welcoming and they had already heard about Free & Opensource software (FOSS) to some degree or the other. You could tell they knew something about FOSS but were eager to learn more.

After talking with many guys in the banking, insurance, shipping and the telecom industry, it was apparent that there is a high demand for learning GNU/Linux and about other Opensource software that could replace their current proprietary IT infrastructure. Many of them had a sense of "Opensource is the new trend, the future", but was somewhat unsure of how to go about deploying it. While some places I visited had already adopted one or two servers for handling mail or proxy, the majority is still running on proprietary systems, with an expensive overhead. What is evident is that they realize that its high time to start shopping for an alternative - something that brings back control and reduces cost.

This thirst to know more is the primary motivation for us when we organize events to educate the public at different levels. FOSS(SL) was a week long series of events we started last year, around the first ever Software Freedom day celebrations. So while the rest of world was celebrating a day, we were doing a week :)

Similar to last year, this year's FOSSSL 2006 is a special one as it encompasses the first ever ApacheCon for Asia. ApacheCon is a very popular conference in the US and Europe, that brings thousands of developers and technologists on to a multi track sessions comprising of talks and tutorials. ApacheCon Asia will have a star line up of speakers both local and international. This will be a good opportunity for our local developers to interact with key developers of the popular Apache software that powers nearly 65% of the web (at the time).

Another useful event for the above said local industry looking to migrate is FOSSEnterprise which looks at the know how of adopting FOSS in the enterprise. There will be several real world case studies followed by panel discussions that will be moderated by key FOSS personalities. Similarly, there will be prominent line up of speakers, who have a lot of experience working with the industry.


To end it all off, there is a fun event called Geek out which is an action packed camping trip with a chance to hang out with the geeks!

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