Share your personal experiences (good and bad) with Linux. Everyone knows that software has bugs and limitations and if we only have glowing comments about Linux, we aren't being honest. I love to tell people about having to reboot four times (three scheduled) in three years.
If someone has a problem that Linux may be able to solve, offer to provide pointers to appropriate information (Web pages, magazine articles, books, consultants, ...). If you haven't actually used the proposed solution, say so.
Offer to help someone start using Linux. Follow up to make sure that they are able to use their system effectively.
Some people still believe that Linux and similar systems operate only in text-mode. Make sure that they are aware of the availability of graphical applications, such as the Gimp.
Try to respond to one ``newbie'' posting each week. Seek out the tough questions, you may be the only one to respond and you may learn something in the process. However, if you aren't confident that you can respond with the correct answer, find someone that can.
Seek out small software development firms and offer to make a presentation about Linux.
If the opportunity arises, make a presentation to your employer's Information Technology group.
Participate in community events such as NetDay. While your first priority must be to contribute to the success of the event, use the opportunity to let others know what Linux can do for them.
Always consider the viewpoints of the person to whom you are ``selling'' Linux. Support, reliability, interoperability and cost are all factors that a decision-maker must consider. Of the above, cost is often the least important portion of the equation.
Availability of support is often mentioned as a concern when considering the adoption of Linux. Companies such as Caldera, Cygnus Solutions, Red Hat, and S.u.S.E. offer support for some or all components of a typical Linux distribution. In addition, the Linux Consultants HOWTO provides a listing of companies providing commercial Linux related support. Of course, some of the best support is found in the comp.os.linux and linux newsgroup hierarchies.
Point out that the production of open-source software takes place in an environment of open collaboration between system architects, programmers, writers, alpha/beta testers and end users which often results in well documented, robust products such as Apache, GNU Emacs, Perl and the Linux kernel.
Find a new home for Linux CD-ROMs and books that you no longer need. Give them to someone interested in Linux, a public library or a school computer club. A book and its CD-ROM would be most appropriate for a library. However, please be sure that making the CD-ROM publicly available does not violate a licensing agreement or copyright. Also, inform the library staff that the material on the CD-ROM is freely distributable. Follow up to make sure it is available on the shelves.
When purchasing books about software distributed with Linux, give preference to books written by the author of the software. The royalties that authors receive from book sales may be the only monetary compensation received for their efforts. <-- Need to fix or change the Powered by Linux text -->
Encourage Linux-based sites to submit their entry for the Powered by Linux page and suggest that banners promoting Linux, Apache, GNU, Perl ... be displayed on their site.
Participate! If you have benefited from open-source software, please consider assisting the free software community by: