I have been thinking about this lately, and it keeps coming back to me every time I visit our wiki page, or do some work surrounding the LoCo.
As I have said before, the Local Community Team is the most powerful weapon in the Ubuntu arsenal. The possibilities are endless with what can be accomplished, while spreading a system to thousands in our state. For a system that has gained an estimated 10 million users in 3 1/2 years (which, unscientifically speaking, is over 1% of the worldwide computer market) is incredible, and we have the chance to even speed up that adoption rate. We have an uphill battle to fight, as we go against common thinking of paying $150 or more for an operating system, which usually comes preinstalled on computer systems.
We have help though, with programs such as OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Firefox, both with an estimated 100 million users each. Both applications come preinstalled on Ubuntu. Dell has also started selling Linux desktops and laptops, and even more recently expanded their offerings. Not to mention, they have announced that they will start selling the same computers in Europe.
Media and availability is key. Making sure that Ubuntu is well publicized will let people know that Ubuntu is a viable alternative to both Windows and Mac, and even more importantly know that it is free – free as in cost, that is. The free as in liberty part would come later, because it would be something alien to most people coming from proprietary systems; it took me a few weeks to figure the benefits and meaning myself.
Availability is another key part to adoption. Knowing that you can get free CDs, pass them on, and make your own is certainly a great incentive to use Ubuntu. When people realize how much more advanced Ubuntu is than they may have expected, we could only expect for the viral effect of open source software to come into play.
As we watch Ubuntu and free software grow, it is a reminder that anything is possible when we put our minds to it; and thanks in part to the LoCo, this adoption can be almost guaranteed, we just need to accept the challenge and go for it.