Day 9 – 10 Days of Ubuntu 10.10 Feature Requests

Today is day 9 of my “10 Days of Ubuntu 10.10 Feature Requests” series.  See the series introduction here.

Day 9 – Renewed Focus on Marketing

Many people have thrown out opinions as to why Linux companies don’t market directly to the masses, and the opinions usually settle on a handful of ideas – Linux is already free, so marketing is irrelevant.  There’s no money to be made with the Linux desktop, so Linux companies should focus on servers and services instead.  Hardware support still isn’t where it needs to be, so marketing is premature.

I find all of these excuses irrelevant.  Given the time, money, and energy Canonical has invested into the desktop version of Ubuntu, the company clearly stands to benefit from a profitable desktop Linux distro.  Whether that money comes from direct sales, support plans, or added services is irrelevant from a marketing standpoint, because every one of those mechanism’s profits is directly proportional to the number of people using Ubuntu.

So today’s feature request is simple: between now and Ubuntu 10.10, I’d like to see Canonical invest some resources in true-to-life marketing.  This could take any number of forms, and not necessarily “conventional” ones (tv, radio, google ads, etc).  If anything, I’d love to see an entirely viral marketing campaign, or at least some resources invested in a community-based effort.

Apparently marketing efforts have been discussed in the past, because Ubuntu does have a Marketing Team.  However, according to that page their next meeting is on July 5th…2008.

Clearly the Marketing Team could use a little help.

Interestingly, there is also a DIY Marketing page.  This page contains links to posters, icons, CD sleeves, and more… but the bulk of the links are for v7.04 and earlier.

So what can be done?  For starters, why not hold a contest and allow community members to submit their best marketing ideas?  Select a few winners, then encourage people to use the winning marketing messages in any art form they can concoct.  Encourage fans to stick posters up at their local university computer lab.  Give out a prize to the creator of the best Ubuntu-related YouTube video.  Amass hundreds of cool images that can be used on websites, t-shirts, hats, gear, or anything else people can dream up.

As an example, here are three .pngs I whipped out in a matter of minutes:

i_ubuntu
Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) refers to this as "verbing"
ubuntu_love
Based on a true story
ubuntu_programs
Makes a nice impression, doesn't it?

If I – an amateur – can put those together in a matter of minutes, imagine what the many talented artists and designers of the Ubuntu community could do.

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Day 10 – Paper Cuts, Paper Cuts, Paper Cuts >>

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7 thoughts on “Day 9 – 10 Days of Ubuntu 10.10 Feature Requests”

  1. Windows 7 comes out next month. Where are the radio and press ads, saying “Congratulations Microsoft, for finally offering some of the features we’ve had for years”?

    When IBM entered the personal computer market, Apple ran a similar sort of ad because Apple had already been in the personal computer market for years, and IBM had once derided personal computers as being insignificant.

    It’s a sadly wasted opportunity, assuming that something like this is not already in the works.

    1. Windows 7 is so full of things wrong with it that its nasty. Surely its being pushed like stomped on crack, and its not the worst Windows OS I’ve ever seen (remember Me? or Vista?) I’m still using XP Pro and quite a few of us are. If windows 7 isn’t an advertisement for buying a Mac I don’t know what it. I’m a stone Ubuntu maniac, but in some ways its got a little to do to meet the cleanliness and completeness of an Apple computer. Perhaps Ubuntu 10.04 will go a long way towards that goal. And, for goodness sake, who says you have to put our a new version every 6 mos?

  2. See the brainstorm I posted last year and you realise just how far Canonical needs to come to market Ubuntu effectively.

    Basically there is no corporate culture at Canonical to market their products with any sense of professionalism, hence the blury photography mentioned in the brainstorm.

    It takes years to change a corporate culture so it will be a while yet before they come across as professional as Windows or Apple.

    http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/10980/

  3. I think the best example of FOSS marketing is Firefox. They have professional marketing team and also community project like SpreadFirefox.

  4. O Boy. I heard that one before. It came from IBM and its why they refused to release a desktop. Similarly, when desktops did come out, they would not budge from their clunky “mainframe on a desktop” AT (5150). And everyone seemed to have the IBM mentality until Compaq and Radio Shack Shack walked in the door. Shuttlesworth is full blown from the brow of the gods, but I happen to remember some mighty smart guys from the 1960s and ’70s and they were wrong. So wrong their companies folded like crushed oragami art. Linux does not have to build a desktop. It can work with another company to build that kludge according to spec and I bet it will work better than all the rest. HP, Dell, Hitachi, Apple and Sun won’t be around forever in their present forms. This world used to be full of the type of visionaries that would let folks tell them they could not do something. Today, unfortunately, we have a world society that waits for someone else to do it, or complains that someone has not or cannot. That’s why I’m looking at a little red laptop with a Linux keyboard that will be running Ubuntu 25 (with continual fix and update on an hourly basis). Price?
    What’s in yer pocket, Laddie?

  5. Lol, third pic: “Hundreds of games”
    Does it matter if all of them suck? xD
    Would be better with: “Basic Windows Compability”
    Although, that relies on the official Wine integration you were writing about…

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