It's all very well to invite newbies to come to your Linux group, but you're not going to get really new people that way. Coming to a meeting or an Installfest is a commitment that demands strong, specific curiosity at the very least. Chances are, if someone knows enough about Linux to know that they want to know Linux, they're going to learn it, helpful usergroup or not. That's especially true now that the entry barrier is so low with super-easy distributions like Ubuntu. But what about those who don't know what they're missing?
That's why some of us from Dayton Linux User Group are considering renting a booth at the Montgomery County Fair. We can set up several computers and let people touch, try, and see just how easy it is - people who had never even heard of Linux or open-source, people who had no idea there was a choice, who thought that Microsoft was just how computers run. Step right up, folks. Surf a webpage, write a document, edit a spreadsheet. It's real, and it doesn't bite.
"Do you know that Tux loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your computer?"
(WOW, if only I had cartooning talent, I would make THE BEST mockup of a lowbrow evangelical tract there has ever been.)
(Wait a minute. Since when did that require cartooning talent?)
(Incidentally, I really am a hardcore Christian. Seriously. Maybe that's why this sort of thing appeals to me so much. "Freely you have received, freely give"; Jesus wrote the GPL!)
The only thing that may stop us is the booth fee: $270. It's reasonable, all things considered, but it's still a sizable hat to pass around for a small group.
Anyway, whether we get this together in time for the fair or not, I'd love to get other ideas for where to take a show like this. The fair is perfect because it has a whole lot of people milling around looking for something interesting. Where else?