[ubuntu-marketing] some ideas for strategy about how to solve bug #1

Otto Kekäläinen ottolist at kekalainen.net
Wed Nov 30 19:35:14 GMT 2005


I've been advocating Open Source and Linux since the year 2000. I've helped 
individuals and organizations with Microsoft->Linux migration, held 
Linux-courses, written many Linux guides / web sites and a about one week my 
company launched a Finland-wide Linux support service 

Based on my experience, here are my ideas on how to break Microsoft's evil 
monopoly and I hope you could comment on them.

First of all, why do organizations/people choose Linux:
+ it's secure (no virus)
+ technically advanced, has some good applications and features
+ it's low-cost to get
+ it's easy to modify
+ it's free as in free speech

And why some do NOT choose Linux:
- it causes cognitive stress: forces people to learn new and abandon old
- hard to find Linux-trained administrators and support services
- sometimes high cost to run if you need to customize it a lot
- searching for and choosing a suitable Linux-counterpart of the 
Windows-programs in use is difficult, and some Windows-applications are even 
impossible to replace
- migrating files, documents and information into Linux and its applications 
require a lot of work and is error prone
- about 80% of general population haven't even heard of Linux yet
- it's difficult to know how well some specific hardware is supported

We should of course keep doing the things why people choose Linux, but the 
obstacles could be tackled like this:

==> spread Firefox and OpenOffice.org
Switching from IE to Firefox is a small and painless task, and thus imposes 
very little stress on the user. Switching from MS-Office to OpenOffice.org 
requires more work in converting documents, but still the cognitive stress 
level stays low because the option of switching back to MS-Office temporary 
is available. Finally, for a user that already knows Firefox and 
OpenOffice.org going into Linux will be much less painful, since the user is 
no longer required to learn everything new at once.

In fact our beloved dictator for life ;) is sponsoring TheOpenCD-project and 
Google is paying webmasters to promote Firefox 
(http://www.explorerdestroyer.com/) but the key productivity tool 
OpenOffice.org hasn't got enough visibility. 

Does anybody want to set up a www.switch2openoffice.org -web site? Of course, 
it should say somewhere "If you liked this, you'll love Ubuntu" :)

==> still 80% haven't heard of Linux, even less of Ubuntu
We need more attractive marketing material, especially with contents that 
non-technical people will understand. We should also write some articles 
about Ubuntu and try to offer them to printed magazines. In my experience, 
magazines and newspapers accept and publish material that is well written and 
in a such format that makes it easy for the journalist to shorten so that it 
fits between the advertisements.

I've done a site in Finnish (http://ubuntu.sange.fi/) and if somebody wants to 
help me we could make a similar version in English.

==> hardware certification for the Linux-kernel
All hardware manufacturers should clearly state in their marketing material if 
a driver for Linux is available, and since what kernel version. They don't 
need to certify for a whole distribution or LSB. Somehow we should get the 
manufacturers to understand that having a penguin on their product is going 
to attract all the Linux-using customers who otherwise worry about finding 
supported hardware.

I guess that at some point when a critical mass is reached, hardware 
manufacturers will start competing on who sells the most Linux-friendly 
systems and eventually who sells the best pre-installed Linux systems :)
..and thus Microsoft's OEM tax will be abolished.

Sorry for a long message and thanks if you read it!

| Otto Kekäläinen
| Sange Coop
| Helsinki, Finland 
| http://www.sange.fi/

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