Nathan Willis gave away 8 sets of Ubuntu Hoary CDs and now tries to track down the recipients 2 months later to see if they actually tried to use the CD's.
Watch the results here.
Of course, history does not end at the two-month mark. Sixty days from now, all or none of these people could be using Linux full-time. But by following up on them now, I have come away with some new insights about Linux and its perception among lay people.
For one, support is everything. Although I offered my help to everyone who took a CD set, everyone who wanted one also wanted to know who to call if “something went wrong” — even the people who never bothered to try out the live CDs.
Second, don't underestimate people's willingness to try and learn new things. Mind you, I'm not saying that the “what would Grandma do” logic that is so prevalent in user interface discussions is misplaced — just don't go into the conversation assuming that Grandma is senile. You may drive her away by keeping the Linux world shadowy and impenetrable.
So my record, as it stands today, is two out of five, with a couple of maybes. What about the rest of you? Have you followed up on the Linux CDs that you give away? What's happened? Post your experiences below.