Ask them to open Word X app. then I open OO. We llookk at the various features each one has and how oo can produce anything Word can.open save and close do this a few times with different apps.
Be careful about that "produce anything" part. I don't use Word and I have a great dislike of OOo and use it only when I have no other choice, and my uses are not very demanding. However, judging by what I've heard from others who are heavy users of Word and have also worked with OOo, there *are* some things Word can do that OOo can't. Also, OOo users report that OOo doesn't open *every* Word doc accurately, so it's best not to be too emphatic about the equivalence of Word and OOo. Better to say "most" rather than "all."
Then send them an email it with an oo attachment the attachment probably won't open with XP in any format other than Word format. Then they send the same email but with the .doc in OO format and it opens with OO running Linux. From there they have participated and visually experienced something odd.
Here you've lost me. If you send an OOo attachment in OOo's format, Word won't open it. But so what? How many OOo attachments is the average office user likely to get? What they get are DOC attachments, which is why OOo and any other MS Office alternative has to be able to open DOC documents.
The elephant in the room, which you've completely ignored, is that OpenOffice is available for WINDOWS as well as Linux, and I dare say there are probably many more Windows users of OOo than Linux users. So what you're demonstrating is the usefulness of OOo regardless of platform. You're not making a case for Linux by this OOo demonstration. Someone who has OOo installed in Windows can do the same thing.
In fact, as I was thinking about the programs I use most often in Linux, I noticed that most of them are also available for Windows: Opera, Firefox, SeaMonkey, OOo, SoftMaker Office (TextMaker and PlanMaker), Scribus, Gimp, Inkscape, Picasa, RealPlayer, Adobe Reader. If I were not a Linux user and didn't know much about Linux, you wouldn't convince me to take a look at Linux by demonstrating the advantages of applications I can use in Windows if I want to. And unless the Linux application did things my Windows application couldn't, I wouldn't see any reason for changing because I wouldn't want to go through a new learning curve.
The real value of a demo such as you describe is that it shows that Linux is not an alien world, that the user can work pretty much the same way he or she does in Windows, that the screen looks familiar and is attractive, that documents produced in Linux can be easily shared with Windows users and vice versa.
All this on a processor that is half the speed of their own, talk about costs, talk a lot about that ,talk about how they may very well be running Linux based software on their servers, Apache.
Apache isn't really "Linux based software." It's *open source* software, which is not the same thing. There are free downloads of Apache for Unix and for Win32.
It would be dishonest to mislead folks by implying that "open source" means "Linux." Showing that open-source software can do the things they do every day, do it well, and do it in a familiar, non-geeky way is the first step. The next step is explaining why Linux has advantages that make a move from Windows worthwhile.