Ben Horst continues to hit the virtual bricks and get coverage of his effort to make sure everyone knows about OpenOffice.org. Every time I look around, someone's asking me "did you know about this?" Including people not in the OpenOffice world.
Here's the gist.
A group of grassroots activists in the OpenOffice.org community have just announced they are going to undertake a similar media campaign to Spread Firefox, starting with a free (as in beer) New York City daily newspaper called "The Metro," published by Metro International. Most penguinistas know what a huge success the grassroots Spread Firefox ad campaign was. Through ads in the New York Times and the Frankfurt General Newspaper, and the hilarious Firefox videos on the FunnyFox website (video link here), Firefox has probably gained greater popular name brand recognition in the general public than any other free open source software (FOSS) project.
It's not just sending out emails to everyone he knows, though--other efforts have failed. As the Factory City blog notes, "It’s interesting to see this effort emerge organically — especially after the initial thrust to create a SpreadOpenOffice project fashioned after Spread Firefox died on the vine owing to internal struggles over branding control. A similar project SpreadKDE made it out of the gate, but it’s unclear whether it ever took off."
Ben's currently about 75% of the way to his goal.
I'm amazed at how well Ben's spreading the news. We met at Comdex 2003 and I was impressed then with his technical knowledge, his ability to learn the Las Vegas bus system. I was impressed at how such a clean-cut, nice guy could look so scary in an Army Surplus outfit, which was extremely effective in keeping people from bugging us on our way through some of the more alarming Las Vegas neighborhoods. ;> But I didn't know he could get people's attention like this.
Ben, I'm tellin' ya, when you get done with this ad, do the same thing in Chicago. That's all it'll take to get Oprah to do that show I'm always fantasizing about where she gives away a free Linux laptop to everyone in the audience.