[ubuntu-uk] Capitalising on XP's demise

Josh Blacker jkblacker at gmail.com
Tue Mar 25 20:37:42 GMT 2008

A lot to reply to - will do my best! I'm glad this has sparked interest
and debate. Hopefully my inline replies will make sense...

On Tue, 2008-03-25 at 16:17 +0000, andy wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Lucy wrote:
> > On 25/03/2008, Paul Mellors <paul at paulmellors.net> wrote:
> >> This type of stuff really gets on my tits, no offence Josh :)  But stop
> >>  fricking MS bashing, if you don't want to use MS products don't, but
> >>  there are people out there that do so let em.....
> > 
> > You make a good point in that we should be careful not to insult MS
> > and their products when promoting Ubuntu, but Josh didn't actually
> > insult them and I don't think that was the aim of his post. Most
> > people don't know they have an option other than Windows and IME have
> > been very happy to discover an alternative.

Yes - although there is a danger of MS-bashing, I think it should be
avoided as far as possible (obviously flaws need to be pointed out, or
what's the point?). I don't know how many of you have seen Apple's
anti-Vista web ads (I've only seen them via YouTube, thanks to AdBlock),
but I think they do the job pretty well. Of course, they can't just be
copied with Ubuntu in place of Leopard. 

We can't avoid pointing out the flaws, and being at least vaguely
anti-Microsoft. At the moment there is a lack of awareness about Ubuntu
and GNU/Linux in general, and we should be pushing the choice aspect.
"If you're fed up with Windows/scared of Vista/too cheap for a Mac, try
Ubuntu" doesn't strike me as a particularly damaging statement to make.
The end of XP just seems a good place to raise this issue.

> > 
> > Josh: I think it's a great idea, if targeted at the right people in
> > the right way. I'm not sure how much influence my MP has, but it would
> > be great if I could get him to try Ubuntu! I don't know who else it
> > would be worth trying to target though? I don't really know of any
> > local organisations in my area.

Again, it's a case of raising awareness. Ubuntu is cheaper *and* better,
should be the message. (Cheaper over free, because it doesn't sound
tacky, and also factors in potential support costs from Canonical etc
should it be needed).

> > 
> > It would be great if we could tie this into the Hardy release, as
> > that's very close to the June deadline.

Yes, especially as it's an LTS.
> > 
> Targeting MS directly will only serve to create counter-FUD - and MS has
> a more powerful marketing machine that ubuntu. ($$$)

Agreed - anything we can do, they can do better - but they can't change
the facts. More secure? Yes. Needs new hardware? No.

> I think the focus should be on 'PC' and laptop instead.  The most
> important thing is to get a big marketing drive on - that also needs to
> be unilateral.  Coverage of non-geeky projects like the "Ingots" will
> give ubuntu karma in the business and professional world.

Yes, agreed - my initial idea wasn't to target MS but to pose an
alternative *to* MS, in the wake of XP ending and the Vista debacle. An
alternative use for your old hardware, an alternative to shelling out.
MS is the main competitor rather than Apple, IMO.

> Ubuntu needs to be made easy for people to try out.  We've not got the
> marketing $$$ that so many companies rely on to push their software.
> Our product placement in 'first life' is poor.  If I were to go into a
> PC World, the chances of me coming out with ubuntu are nil.  I don't
> know how many people buy their PCs from there, but it's a household brand.

True again - if only Canonical could work to getting a supplier (e.g.
Dell) into PC World and the like, it would be easier. I suppose we need
to `create' demand.

> There are many good people already advocating
> the use of ubuntu.  However, as Alan Pope said on the ubuntu uk podcast
> (S01E02), we're all geeks here.  If you're on a mailing list, or on IRC,
> you're a geek.
> We need to break out and get non-geeks involved in spreading the message
> of ubuntu UK - without them necessarily being aware of an ubuntu UK
> group at all.  We're all converting our friends and family (and some of
> us converting strangers) - but we need friends to be converting friends,
> and strangers to be converting strangers.

Thankfully, Ubuntu isn't the geekiest of distros, and <flamebait>
looking more and more ready for the mainstream with every release
</flamebait>. Converting people isn't easy, in my short experience, but
I think it would probably be easier if awareness were raised - so you
don't have to spend the first hour explaining all about Ubuntu.

My apologies for possibly not being as clear in my original post as I
should have been; the focus should, I think, be on marketing an
alternative (as many have agreed). It's probably just my own shrewd
cynicism (tying it into the end of XP) that's caused the confusion, but
I just noticed a handy opening for us (Ubuntu) to get some more of the

The next step, of course, is to think of ways to raise that awareness.

All the best,

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