As the year progresses I will be leveraging my contacts and resources to get computers donated to the school and have an UbuntuCE loaded pc installed here and there and everywhere. For that atmosphere it comes with many tools pre installed that will be useful for them.
I did something similar to this for a Montessori not too long ago and used Edubuntu. For my clients, I am more a traditional RHEL, FileEngine, CentOS person. I try to be as distro agnostic and service provider agnostic as possible. It is about the right solution for the right client. Hence the wonder of FOSS. Jack’s Tire Shop has different needs than Big Life Insurance Company. Both of them like to call me so I have to be ready to switch hats a lot.]]>
I meant that it is “Your Turn”. You know, tennis, handball, the ball is in your court, and it’s Your Serve..]]>
When I shoot from the hip the barbs slip out on occasion. I was really just trying to quickly use a clever way to incorporate your fire-pit lead-line into my response (a come back), while making it known that I was aware that you feature Ubuntu and Ubuntu CE fairly prominently at your place of business.
It never entered my mind that you might be mindlessly soldiering for Mark Shutleworth (drinking his Kool-Aid as it were). If that is how you perceived it, then again, I most humbly and contritely apologize…]]>
Microsoft sells “Windows XP.” Microsoft sells “Vista.” Why? ..in part because it helps put earlier Windows flavors out of business. Microsoft wants to end of life XP.. so it sells Vista. [Microsoft used XP to end 98 (Me was DOA) and 2000, etc.] Microsoft can do this, even if Vista is bad, if all we hear is “Vista.” “Clearly” Vista is not XP. The focus is on the differences, on the “new and improved” reasons to get the new product to buy buy buy some more. On the other hand, “Windows” is “Windows” (the focus here would be on how Vista is *not* much different than XP).
So this is all fine and dandy for Microsoft and their stockholders. The problem comes in when the competition refuses to die. What if someone out here keeps selling generic Windows or XP specifically.. or heaven forbid Linux? The consumer you mentioned doesn’t hear Tortilla Chips but does know about Doritos; otherwise, that consumer would know. Many consumers do know, btw, which is why many generics industries are very large.
I understand your frustration. I do think you should try and sell a specific brand that meets your objectives, but FLOSS allows a lot of brands to exist without any dying off. The key for this to work [I'm sure MS is or will be working on poisoning distros in this and many other ways] is that the competitors remain fairly interchangeable (compatible). In that case many brands can co-exist. Absent good patterns, the consumer/human will have trouble pin-pointing what Linux is. This makes it difficult to market Linux in isolation. However, when we do have enough data to discern patterns, we do. Linux gains recognizability if there are many successful sub brands. Then it becomes more clear what Linux is. Linux is not Windows, for one. Without many sub brands that are each relatively successful and recognizable, “Linux” is too abstract to sell. The Tux 500 project already had access to http://distrowatch.com/ among other resources. Linux can be sold, just like milk can be sold. The difference is that Linux minority flavors can’t be put out to pasture so easily if at all.
Most people that care about Linux and want it to succeed have no problems allowing all brands to co-exist, meaning that quality becomes that much more of an important factor. Also, Linux appeals to more people than PCLinuxOX because Linux includes more options, some of which appeal to some more than PCLOS does. Linux is thus a stronger brand as it is representative of the Linux that you use, which presumably is among the ones you prefer.
Linux is bad to any distributor wanting to monopolize, but I think Linux provides a better deal for the end user (and for all the minority players). Of course, in the short-term, all Linux businesses should remember that Linux helps sell their flavor when it cuts sales from the main competitor which today is MS WinXXX.]]>
Linux was not being sold as much a brandless product as you seem to suggest. The Tux mascot and Linux are in contrast to *NIX or simply FLOSS in general which is a large part of what is actually being sold.
Also, the two approaches are complementary, and I do think a general approach helps grow the market out. Think of it as when people argue that proprietary is better or more secure. Do you not think they would be effective if their competitors simply shut up and (incorrectly) conceded that point? I think there are many other cases where the qualities of a group of products is sold, directly benefitting everyone.
I won’t argue that branding doesn’t work or doesn’t really help sell that *particular* brand. The fact is that large companies can and do buy out small companies. [Many business] people like to eliminate competition. People like to eliminate sales going to the competitors, including when there are many of them. People also don’t appreciate the fact that soda is very cheap to produce (I imagine) compared to milk. Better to buy out the low margin product and not “oversell” it, in order to allow the higher margin soda division to excel. The suggestion I’m making is that the Got Milk campaign was actually too effective for the comfort levels of some people in various positions.
At the end of the day though, you have to combine this effect with a tangible solution to answer the question on the mind of the consumer of “so what do I buy?”
Basically, I appreciate/agree with many of your views, but I don’t necessarily think the general (limited) branding is bad/ineffective for the little guy or for the little distro maker or for Linux in general or for the end consumer. Linux didn’t get this far because it was doing evrything wrong and amateurish or because it was making a ton of key people very rich. Also, this market is different from the milk market. Milk is milk. Linux is something very different. You don’t need large capital investments and all the flavors are helped by the gains in any one of the individual members.
I think what you are saying is that branding gives that brand an advantage over the brandless [I think this is one reason why Tux 500 *specifically* decided not to pick a distro to promote]. In many markets this leads to the others losing market share to the point of going out of business, but [I'll repeat] Linux is not milk and didn’t get here because someone was making a terrific profit. The small distros don’t go out of business usually but do live to see another day and make another challenge at the top. A different set of rules is at play here. Sell Debian if you want to grow Debian to fight of some of the more specific commercial brands. I am not against that. I think all distros that want to sell themselves should; however, Linux can still be sold as a preferable brand over Windows. I do think the Tux 500 project and others served/serve a useful purpose that helped/helps the entire community all at once.
Conclusion: you can’t buy out Linux milk to allow the Windows BadSoda division to make their money. Think of it as the milk farmers not going bankrupt because costs were basically zero. Think of the milk farmers selling their business and then starting up another right away which surpasses the originial in a short time [like when salespeople that are liked leave a company and take their clients with them]. Marketing Linux helps Linux for everyone. I think it really does. I think Tux 500 will continue to grow and help Linux (as long as there are car racing/etc fans out there willing to chip in — I think Torcs is going to get skins and what not to help out Tux 500.. if anyone wants to make the contributions). Neither big business nor the government can shut it off by withholding fundings. Losing funding is does not apply. The “one true brand” today doesn’t set the pace for the next 10 years. Not with Linux. In fact, it is very possible that another FLOSS *NIX clone take over Linux popularity (but it will need to be compatible I think). Different game; different rules.]]>
You say you assembled a nice fire pit in preparation of our further discussion of GNU/Linux direction and marketing. Well, I must say that after a cursory check of your website I suspect that you were also planning to roast your marshmallows, if not in fact me, later on the sharpened end of the Ubuntu pennant that you got at their last pep-rally.
oneone67 at netzero.net]]>
Not seeing a method for me to contact you here. Please feel free to email me at patgreen at silverstrandsolutions dot com at your leisure.