Ubuntu vs Kubuntu

Peter Whittaker pwwnow at gmail.com
Sun Jan 21 15:23:44 UTC 2007

On Sat, 2007-01-20 at 21:05 -0700, Corey Burger wrote:
> On 1/19/07, Peter Whittaker <pwwnow at gmail.com> wrote:
> > My understanding is that Shuttleworth based Ubuntu on Gnome because of
> > his perception of Gnome's commitment to usability
> The primary reason for GNOME over KDE was its steady release cycle.

I'd forgotten that (Doh! Pretty darn important, and pretty silly of me,
considering of how often I check the release schedules).

Thanks for correcting that misunderstanding.

> > Since the sabdfl use Kubuntu, I expect there will be long-term support.
> > Refer also to http://www.kubuntu.org/announcements/kde-commitment.php
> This is a grave misconception. Yes, Mark uses Kubuntu on his desktop.
> However, his primary work machine is his laptop, which still runs
> Ubuntu.

Speaking of misunderstandings, you're right, this is grave. To me,
what's grave is how Canonical - as the owner of the ubuntu, kubuntu,
edubuntu, and xubuntu trademarks - is perpetuating these misconceptions,
or at least doing little to counter them, in its own - and presumably,
canonical - web pages.

For example, visit http://www.ubuntu.com , http://www.edubuntu.org , and
to a lesser extent http://www.xubuntu.org : There is a commonality, a
consistent look and feel to these sites.

For better or for worse, this can be - and probably is - interpreted by
the broader community as indicating equality between these distros.
IMHO, of course, but I suspect that I'm pretty close to the mark (no pun

Then visit http://www.kubuntu.org

The page, the front door, the first message may appeal to the KDE
convert, but does nothing - again, IMHO - to suggest that same
commonality, that distro equality (other than the trademarks fine

In other words, nothing to ease the mind of the new-to-Ubuntu or
new-to-Linux user that Kubuntu has long-term legs.

What's the benefit of being a sabdfl if one cannot use one's dictatorial
power to correct this sort of thing?

Until people have done in-depth research and gotten comfortable with how
these communities work (and they work extremely well), presentation and
first impressions will be and are more important than content.

Many of us on this list will decry that statement, but it is how we
(human beings) work: We need the rational and the visceral in equal
measures to convince us of the truth, especially of something remote,
possibly arcane, somewhat intangible, and unfamiliar.

This changes as our familiarity increases, as the distant community
begins to feel close-at-hand (as on this list), and as the arcana slowly
becomes the mundane.

But that's all later. First impressions count. Canonical and the kubuntu
community are doing themselves a disservice by the lack of a simple,
solid message:

	Ubuntu - Kubuntu - Edubuntu - Xubuntu

	Linux for Human Beings.
	Four equal distros to meet your needs.
	Full backing.
	Full stop.

(I'm not a PR guy, my marketing knowledge is more on the BD, product
management, market segmentation, and strategy side, so that wording
likely could stand improvement. Let's hand that over to PR and get them
to get it right.)

Please don't shoot the messenger (or, in this case, the critic). This is
a grave problem, you are quite right. Mixed messages, poor marketing,
and the recurring question:

	How seriously does Canonical take Kubuntu?*

Which is how we got here in the first place.


*	FWIW, pretty seriously IMHO**. As Corey points out,
	Canonical has a full-time KDE person. And as my own 
	Launchpad experience shows me, the devs are working
	very hard to ensure that Ubuntu and Kubuntu are
	capability-equal - witness the work done to fix
	partitioning problems on the installers, e.g.

**	You just can't tell from looking at the front door.

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