Best approaches to attract new users - how to engage your auntie around Debian and Free Software

Speaker: Igor Garcia


Track: Introduction to Free Software & Debian

Type: Short talk (20 minutes)

Room: Lumbardhi

Time: Jul 17 (Sun): 17:30

Duration: 0:20

This talk is aimed at current Debian users who want to help friends and family members who could benefit from migrating to Debian and Free Software.

Attracting new users to Free Software and to Debian has been an interesting challenge for years. Multiple approaches have been used and some were proven to be better than others.

I want to discuss some strategies that can be used to help people understand and embrace the change towards a world with more freedom and privacy, using the example of the “cursoGNU” group in Brazil, led by Paulo “Kretcheu” ( which started off as a support group for a free GNU/Linux Debian-based video course and became a 1,000+ individuals strong community.

Some strategies I want to bring up:

  • How to make sure the person understands what is happening on this move. Going beyond the idea of just replacing the operating system or software suite.

  • Common barriers for new starters and how to overcome them. E.g. fear of the shell, language and regional aspects, dealing with trolls, need for geography and language focused initiatives

  • “Adopting” a new user: helping them get started and holding their hand through their journey.