Monday, November 30, 2009

Taking the Ubuntu gospel to the Anime nation


by David M Williams
Sunday, 29 November 2009

People all over the world use computers for many different reasons. Yet, often Linux evangelists focus on those who already have a technical bent through initiatives such as software freedom day. The Ubuntu community in Massachusetts decided its time to reach out to a new crowd.
Ubuntu is possibly the most accessible and popular Linux distribution available today. With the release of Karmic Koala – version 9.10 – just weeks ago it is also presently enjoying a status as the most current operating system on the planet, even moreso than Windows 7.

Anime, on the other hand, is the term ascribed to animation, be it hand-drawn or computer-generated, which originates in Japan. Popular Anime franchises include well-known and successful cartoons such as Astro Boy and Pokemon.

The Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community (or “LoCo”) has put careful thought into how they could prosetlyse the unreached. It occurred to them that a reasonable proportion of Linux geeks are also Anime geeks.

Consequently, the LoCo is now working to establish a Linux advocacy stand at the coming Anime Boston 2010 convention. The convention expects some 16,000 visitors which thus offers the potential for both Ubuntu and the principles of open source software to be espoused to a great many people who might otherwise not hear of them.

The LoCo is aiming to design Anime-themed flyers and materials explaining how free software can be used to create artworks, to watch DVDs and other media, and ultimately support the computing needs of the Anime-loving crowd.

In addition, English translations of the unique Ubunchu Manga will be handed out. Manga is the term ascribed to Japanese comics and thus has a close relationship with Anime. Ubunchu is a comic about Ubuntu Linux, and quite likely the world’s first Manga – or comic of any form – used to evangelise an operating system.

Ubunchu tells the story of high school teens who argue over which operating system is the greatest. Their view of Linux is steeped in visions of arcane command-line instructions and hours of inscrutable tweaking but this is blown away when they boot Ubuntu Linux and have it up-and-running with nary a few clicks of the mouse.

It’s likely the Massachusetts crowd are onto a clever thing; certainly, both Linux and Anime are out of the mainstream and even share cult status in some circles.

Unfortunately, at this stage nothing is certain with the LoCo still needing resources before they can fully commit to the booth. If you’re an Anime-loving Ubuntu-using geek in Boston, give them a call.

Perhaps Linux user groups around the world might like to similarly consider community events that they could find common ground with.

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