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What Linux Really Needs:
March 3, 2002 11:00 PM   Subscribe

What Linux Really Needs: Non profit, public service announcements by a foundation formed expressly for that purpose. Whether you keep up with the OS fray or not, what a neat idea really. Trolls: Slashdot is burning! You're needed over there.
posted by crasspastor (8 comments total)

 
The last big Linux ad I remember is IBM's 3 symbol ads all over NYC, where they graffitied the sidewalks. And that probably didn't help the cause.
posted by riffola at 11:41 PM on March 3, 2002


an indy announcement group is indeed a good idea, but there isn't much point marketing linux to the home user until its ready for them...

sure the installers, guis and productivity software are all 'getting there', but the ability to plug and play with off the shelf peripherals and common hardware upgrades is a tough hurdle to climb (esp where vendor support is required - drivers etc)

however i would love to see some more propaganda (along the lines of apple's myths campaign) promoting the lower cost and greater reliablity of linux as a server and hosting platform, since there isn't too much ammunition (at least, not written in marketing language) for folks like myself to fire at suits in the battle against iis/asp/.NET

as the rhetoric goes, linux is kicking much butt as a server platform right now, but i think that might also be the most realistic avenue into the desktop world as well, by infiltrating/penetrating the corporates from the backend first (sorry :P) rather than trying to compete directly with xp&office on the desktop
posted by sawks at 12:04 AM on March 4, 2002


Here I thought, more GUI based tools to attract Windows users. I guess propaganda, err marketing cuts it when you can't carry the desktop. The apple ad works because most users can move over and still get their quicktime/office/IE fix, easy gui, applications, and support.

An honest linux ad would focus on what IBM pretty much says already: stability, scalability, low cost, etc. An ad promising to replace your desktop Wintel or Apple is only going to cause more problems for the linux community when users realize that if they want to anything productive with their PC they better know a bunch of unix commands and how to administrate a server/multi-user machine properly and that a lot of their apps simply don't exist for the platform. Or at least have their techy friend set everything up so they can KDE point and click away.

The company is called Red Hat Linux. When he says that, I start talking enthusiastically about the OS - but I don't get far before my friend's face goes blank, and I realize he doesn't even know what Linux is. He just owns some Red Hat stock.

Nice story, all the traders I know don't know what they're doing either.
posted by skallas at 12:05 AM on March 4, 2002


Who said Linux isn't doing as well as it possibly can?

It's a fallacy to believe that evangelization alone will carry the day. Linux has to be up to the challenges. For my money, what I've seen in the corporate environment, it has made great inroads in certain very specific server roles. It has not become the corporate or home desktop system of choice, and it likely will not.

This article says "How will managers learn about Linux from a 30-second commercial?" -- but they don't. They subscribe to all the trade and business magazines and Linux has a certain presence there. They have friends, and believe it or not, managers actually occasionally discuss technology. The Linux hype peaked last year but is far greater than it ever was before 2000. People do know about it, but they have very real concerns about maintainability and communication/compatability issues. Linux won't have the same set of off-the-shelf solutions, and that means more hand-holding and more custom tweaking and that gets managers all nervous.

Incidentally, when I pulled up this article saying "Linux has no advertising", there were IBM's spacesuit guys, who have actually said the word Linux on network TV. Several times.
posted by dhartung at 1:11 AM on March 4, 2002


It's a fallacy to believe that evangelization alone will carry the day.

Alright I read this one :)

But that's the whole point of the article I thought. Linux simply doesn't have any pillar of advocacy. The zealots are a willy nilly group. A committee to oversee the dispensing of what the philosophy of Linux is would be most welcome. Like all things public, it needs to begin building its prestige.
posted by crasspastor at 1:43 AM on March 4, 2002


. . .Its prestige as a public cause.
posted by crasspastor at 1:48 AM on March 4, 2002


GNU/Linux/BSD is in for the long haul fight. The tools to make a superior product are there and free for the taking. It is reasonable to think that this codebase will eventually win -- a superior product that is free is a tough think to beat in the long run. It is also reasonable to think that $billions in marketing can hold off something seemingly inevitable for a long, long time.

As a public cause, open source, so loved for it's "free as in beer" dynamic will soon be much more important because of it's real philosophy, "free as in SPEECH." If the GLP's legal position can be defended, is the logical antigen to the MCAA/RIAA/Intel/IBM/Microsoft/Sony "Protect Intellectual Property with Big, Big Guns and Laws" cabal. Which, IMHO, is going to be the defining aspect of computing platform choice 5 years from now.
posted by n9 at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2002


Is it naive of me to think that everything outlined in this article can be answered with the phrase: AOL/Time Warner ?

Whatever happened to AOL/TW buying Red Hat? Personally, seeing such a giant entity take over Red Hat makes me quite hopeful... not for Linux taking over the desktop OS market... just hope for more serious competition for MS.
posted by canoeguide at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2002


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