Ten ways to take over the world

Short URL: http://fsmsh.com/2002


It's a little too late for yet another New Year's resolution list. So here is a list of ten ways to take over the world, GNU/Linux style. Taking small bites and a gradual takeover is a decent goal for Linux in 2007. With the lukewarm reception of Microsoft Vista, GNU/Linux is in a better position than ever to be the migration target. No need to purchase a new system just to run eye candy.

In no particular order here is what you can do.

  1. Use GNU/Linux First and foremost you must set the example by using GNU/Linux. Just like anything else, the more you use GNU/Linux the more you will become familiar with the operating system. Practice what you preach, eat your own dog food, whatever you want to call it, just use GNU/Linux and be productive.
  2. Become an Expert Become an expert in one aspect of GNU/Linux or open source computing. Expertise in OpenOffice, even if on Windows, could lead down the path to full GNU/Linux adoption. Become an expert in a widely used application, especially an application that works better than Windows based alternatives. Is your hobby photography? Become an expert in photo applications.
  3. It's the Applications People use applications, not operating systems. No matter how good your operating system is, if it doesn't run your application it's useless. If there is a particular proprietary application that isn't available and there isn't an alternative the user is locked in. Find another target until an alternative can be found.
  4. Make Toast A GNU/Linux desktop doesn't have to be the first implementation of GNU/Linux. Create or use a GNU/Linux appliance, like an IPCop firewall, SME Server or a commercial Linux appliance. Once the benefits of using GNU/Linux are proven, additional adoption will make transition easier.
  5. Don't Bash the Competition Some people have been using their operating system for years and have become emotionally attached. You will get the same reaction as calling their kids ugly. Showcase the benefits of GNU/Linux not the limitations of others.
  6. Smart Human Tricks Three words, stealth GNU/Linux implementations. Need a file and print server installed at work? Install GNU/Linux, Samba and CUPS. Does your friend need storage and shared Internet? Setup a small server for her.
  7. Research the Hardware No operating system supports every piece of hardware. Make sure you know the hardware will work before formatting the hard drive and finding out that the Windows only printer or RAID controller doesn't work. Nothing is more embarrassing than promising the sky only to come crashing back down to earth because of some weird piece of hardware. You may have to make a purchasing decision, but I'd rather buy a new low cost printer than have to buy a whole new system to upgrade.
  8. Don't Assume Anything Just because you can supply a better solution or prove that you can save money or person hours doesn't mean it will be adopted. There are some bosses that will make irrational decisions, even if it's silly accounting practices. I once had a customer tell me, "We can't afford to save money.", because they had a service contract budget but not a capital equipment budget. Buying new equipment would have been cheaper than paying for their current service contract. Time to find another target, or another job.
  9. Show the Benefits Once you have a basic GNU/Linux desktop installed you are pretty much set to go. You have general office software, accounting software, e-mail and web surfing applications. No need to spend even more money on anti-virus, anti-spyware or disk defragmentation utilities. Secure out of the box, stability and speed are some of the many benefits to boast about.
  10. It's OK to Buy GNU/Linux GNU/Linux is literally free of cost and free as in freedom. However, don't be afraid of purchasing a commercial license if you feel it's necessary. You may need timely telephone or e-mail support. A customer may need a certain proprietary application provided by a distribution. There may be a need for a commercial appliance. Support Debian and Slackware when it's possible, buy a commercial license when it's necessary.


neox2006's picture
Submitted by neox2006 on

Very nice & practical. I've done the same at my former job, and GNU/Linux has accepted smoothly.


Med Berdai.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Check on most of the list. Not much further Linux adaption is in sight here, except for a few toasters (which will also serve files). We're testing openoffice in day to day use though :)

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Microsoft has something on the order of a $500 million marketing budget to launch Vista and Office. Free software has a $500 marketing budget. Maybe "take over the world" is setting your goals a little too high. Everyone already knows about Microsoft products. Most know nothing about open source. Is there any good reason to talk about this?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Liunx is also a great way to "recycle" old PC's. Linux will run on anything from an old 386 on up.
Print servers and routers are the most likely candidates for using old PC's but there are many applications where performance isn't really a requirement and an old PC will do just fine.

I've been using Liunx since around 1995 (kernel version 1.3 if memory serves). It's come a long way since then.

As I write this, I'm on a 64 bit (AMD) Linux box at work. We only use Linux with the exception of a few people who must use a few apps that aren't available for Linux. They use dual boot or VmWare to get around the problems.

At home I have Windows and Linux (dual boot) on my Desktop and Laptop. I much prefer Linux. It's faster than Windows. All the apps I need from day to day are avialable for free under Linux. About the only thing I use Windows for is my tax returns. I'm looking forward to the day when even that app will be available for Linux.

Linux has made operating systems a commodity. Although it seems the boys at MickeySoft haven't quite realiazed this yet.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Thanks for the list. I have been looking for a listing of hardware supported by either Kernel version, or Distribution. I haven't really seen anything like this up until now. Is there a website or something I have overlooked?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

It is so refreshing to see this line of thinking. Now all we have to do is make it be heard above the screeching chorus of FUD and "dumb it down" and "it has to be just like Windows" and all the other bogus theorizing.

Look well, folks. This is how to play Linux and win. It's not Quake or Doom, not Poker and not even Chess. It's Go. One stone, one eye, one group, one joseki at a time. In other words, it's how *HONEST* people play. If Linux couldn't win the honest way, it would not be deserving to win at all.

- Penguin Pete

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on


Linux is Linux. Not GNU/Linux.


Linus seems to think GNU/Linux is ridiculous...and he created it. Would you like it if one of your creations took on a name you didn't give it?

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

The reason people will choose free software and stick with free software is when they learn to value the freedom it gives them for its own sake. If the ethical reasons for free software are left out, people will have no reason to reject the non-free software they're offered to do the same jobs.

Read http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html for more on this.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
[email protected]

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I used to work in a small firm that was windows-centric, and in fact opposed to open source (they refered to it as "open-sore" though entirely out of ignorance and assumptions, none had any experience with it) When faced with the need for another FTP server, they started plans for getting new hardware, software, and licenses. I told them to give me a few hours with the secretary's old PC and I'd make them an FTP server and if it didn't fill their needs they could go ahead and buy the proprietary solution. I installed Slackware and pureftpd in an hour and it ran beautifully, probably still running to this day.

This event started a chain of converting most of our production machines to linux and open source. We saw a large reduction in overhead, sometimes combining the processes from several older machines onto new cheap Intel hardware running linux. The only negative effect was the inexperienced IT guy, who didn't want to give up all his influence, insisted on running Fedora Core on our production machines because "it supported dual-processor", he didn't really understand the difference between kernels, distributions, userspace, what compile meant, etc. Nothing like having the boot process freeze because he corrupted the X config file on a headless machine.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make: People, especially businesses, will not adopt linux "just because". It needs to provide a solution. So apply it to a current problem and follow through. Attributes like being free and efficient will help you sell the idea. Success speaks for itself.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

That was an absolutely perfect article.

Thank you.


Daniel Escasa's picture

First off, I don't think we can rely on a Vista flop. Remember when XP was due out, and the late beta, release candidate made GNU/Linux look attractive?

Second, as to "bashing Windows": IMHO if we're stating facts and backing them up with statistics from respected sources, that's not bashing. We don't need to employ FUD, just get the facts... erhhh :)

Third, Linux is the kernel, GNU/Linux the OS.

Fourth, re #1: by that criterion, I'm technically not contributing to the plan for world domination because I'm on DesktopBSD (FreeBSD 5.4 + KDE + desktop utilities). Although I'm aware of the spirit of the article, the author unintentionally excluded at least three excellent OSes.

Daniel O. Escasa
independent IT consultant and writer
contributor, Free Software Magazine (http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com)
personal blog at http://descasa.i.ph

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

It's best for all Linux users to keep Linux's market footprint small. If it gets over 5% share, M$ and the RIAA will crush it.

Author information

Ken Leyba's picture


Ken has been working in the IT field since the early 80's, first as a hardware tech whose oscilloscope was always by his side, and currently as a system administrator. Supporting both Windows and Linux, Windows keeps him consistently busy while Linux keeps his job fun.