What are some ways I could interest my friends, girlfriend, parents, etc. to learn and use Linux? It's usually not feasible for them to let me install Linux on their computers, even for a dual boot. Are there other things to get them hooked?

  • 4
    most people dont care what is underlying their webwindow, they'd be best of with chrome-OS, internetexplorer-OS or firefox-OS. they would hate linux for the error-messages they dont understand as they now hate windows for them. i have given up the hope to convince normal people.
    – Baarn
    Jan 3, 2012 at 3:19
  • @Walter Maier-Murdnelch: Good point. Several members of my family are quite content how fast their Firefox is (and they patiently endure my explanations on the underlying differences ;) ). They don't really care how the data gets to "their" FF, just that the UI is familiar. Jan 3, 2012 at 13:18

5 Answers 5


A good way to demonstrate Linux features and for others to play around with, is to boot off a live CD for your Linux distribution. That way no one has to worry about partitioning any hard drive or installing any (corrupted,evil) software until they eventually choose to go with it. The fact that it's for free to try out should make the choise easy. Make a couple of live CDs and distribute them. I suggest Debian or Fedora just show the basic features.

About getting them hooked - I'd show off some fancy looking desktop environments e.g. GNOME3, Openbox w. Conky or Compiz just to make the visual gap between Windows/MacOS smaller - in terms of user friendliness. After all, many non-technical people get scared away once they see a terminal, so be aware. From there there are tons of free, educational, multimedia and everyday-use software to explore. Most people use their computer for simple tasks such as browsing the web and office tasks. Using propreitary for this is expensive and unnecessesary. Linux provides the all features most people may ever require of an operating system, plus an extra feature called freedom.


I just put it in front of them and let them use it. I find that many people, while they do not hate it, are fed up with Windows OS. Some are put off with the price of a Mac. Let them experience a good windowing system, Gnome, KDE, Xfce, see how responsive it is. I used to have dual boot just to use Quicken. Many years ago I moved to GnuCash, haven't wanted to go back. There are plenty of apps on both systems.

  • Not agreed again. If you just put it in front of them you really don't need to interest them anymore. Also you must take care about your dinner after it :D
    – cnd
    Jan 10, 2012 at 11:49

Donate some free CD/DVDs as good will gesture, a free & alternative means to costly OS software installations, besides nurturing the OpenSource philosophy will fetch a long run of the productive and smart minds for better future generations in terms of using the technology.


This is more of a jokey answer but I believe its significant!

You will need the package pv, just yum install pv

And then type this in CTRL+ALT+F1

Login in


clear; man rsync | pv -qL 500



Really hard question. First of all you need to understand that you need to support this people after you interest them. From your list parents is easiest targets but you must to think about every single user as about single situation. Usually friends plays windows games, so you must show some good linux or crossplatform games and lie that they works much better there. If they just use browser you can lie that without antivirus their PC will work 50% faster and compose something else. For parents you can compose everything, maybe windows is an UFO system and they must use Linux to not afraid aliens.

Yes, you always must lie here, in my opinion. I have good experience with linux and use it often. even I know some great linux distribution maintainers and developers (I will not say names). BUT no one of them even me use linux as desktop. I don't want to discuss why not, it's really holy-war, but everyone lies. That must be much harder for you to find some real arguments for newcomers if even people who love and work on linux can't find them for themselves.

  • Is this a lie? just kidding ;-) Jan 10, 2012 at 12:23
  • a lie is a lie only for those people who knows the true else-way the lie is the true.
    – cnd
    Jan 10, 2012 at 12:27
  • 1
    even the cake...
    – cnd
    Jan 10, 2012 at 12:27
  • well said @nCdy :-) Jan 10, 2012 at 12:35
  • fascinating! I didn't think of that. However, I feel like I have an ethical obligation to not do that.
    – Dennis
    Jan 14, 2012 at 9:05

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