Free Software Evangelism, revisited

Shane M. Coughlan shane at
Mon May 29 23:17:06 UTC 2006

Hash: SHA256

Steven wrote:
> You can measure the amounts of products you sell, but to my knowledge,
> you can't 'scientifically' measure the amount of believe or sympathy one
> has (or gained during your speech) for Free Software. Your assumption
> says believe in Free Software is *always* less useful than buying the
> products simply because believe is not quantifiable as the amount of
> products. I don't agree with this.
> For instance you give a speech and sell no products at all. But a group
> of people decide after hearing you talk to do some research and decide
> to start their own Free Software project. You can't measure it so it is
> not or less useful than selling a single or more products ?

But we can measure this.  There will be an increase in Free Software
projects.  There will also be a corresponding increase in support for
Free Software projects in that locality.  Therefore your speech is
successful at promoting Free Software as a concept and unsuccessful at
obtaining a sale.

If there is a mission to establish new projects we could examine the

If X gives a speech in Berlin and Berlin subsequently has an increase in
Free Software projects we can assume that X is likely to have a part in
that.  If Y gives a speech in Berlin and there is no measurable increase
in Free Software projects we can assume that Y did not effectively
encourage people to set up projects.

According to this X is more effective at establishing support for new
projects than Y.  X would therefore be more useful to deploy into
environments where new Free Software projects need to be encouraged.

Whether or not money is involved is not important.  The key thing is to
have defined targets that are measurable.  This allows results to be
understood and methodology to be refined.

Something like belief or sympathy is difficult to measure.  However,
results can be measured through other things: people signing up to
organisations like the FSFE and contributing ideas is one example.


- --
Shane Martin Coughlan
e: shane at
m: +447773180107
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