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FLOSS Business Curriculum | Blog

How to advocate FLOSS
  • To governments
  • To businesses
  • To academic institutions
  • To your organisation
  • etc.
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FLOSS advocacy may be done from the ethical standpoint of free software or the pragmatic standpoint of open source software. In practice, both perspectives may be presented with the emphasis determined according to audience. For example, the ethical perspective should appeal to NGOs, governments and educational institutions, while the pragmatic perspective of open source will appeal to businesses.

General Principles

Stephen R. Covey
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
  • Know what you are talking about
    • Present a clear rationale supported by facts
  • Understand the context
  • Approach the right people (e.g. within an organisation or institution)
    • Top-down
    • Bottom-up
    • Both
  • Approach them in the right way
    • Some are looking for pragmatic solutions and approaches
    • Others may be more interested in transparency and ethics ...
    • Be respectful
  • Tailor the pitch for the specific audience
  • Talk about benefits rather than floss features
  • Tell stories - what FLOSS means in practical terms for people - (life-changing) opportunities
    • examples of what people have been able to do by exercising their freedom to learn, contribute, participate, share, ...
  • Present demos.

Levels of Advocacy

  • bottom-up
    • demonstrate the benefits
  • top-down
    • educate and grow leadership
  • as an outsider
    • be provocative
    • alternative views


  • Find prominent examples, analyse their motivations, showcase success stories describing the challenges they faced and how they overcame obstacles. What were the success factors?


  • Live distros.
  • Virtualisation to demo multiple distros on one session - demonstrating choice and features.
  • If using a projector during the demo, test it with your system in advance.


  • Organisational culture
  • Change management
  • MySQL and Oracle
  • Some critics say that a low percentage of libre software projects are successful. But how do they measure success? In many cases a project is successful if the software was useful for a time, to at least a few people, and that the participants learned something which was carried forward in their future work. Becoming a monopoly (for example) is not an indicator of "success".


Eventually these could be split onto separate pages.

Public Sector

Private Sector

Civil Society



  • ...