[ubuntu-uk] What's in a name?

:techitone: techitone at gmail.com
Sat Jun 11 20:06:09 UTC 2011


I've been using Ubuntu on and off for a couple of years now and have learned
a lot from reading the UK Ubuntu Talk emails. I've install Xubuntu many
times on older (+5 to -10 years) laptops and I've given these laptops to
people to borrow for community projects that I'm working on.

It takes them a little while to get out of their Windows or Mac OS way of
working but the people that borrow them are eventually impressed by how easy
and reliable they are to use.

These people are 'Joe Public', they have no tech skills and have no desire
to have any tech skills. All they want/need to do is email, use Facebook,
surf the Net, write something to print out, maybe watch a DVD and play

Everyone knows what Windows is because they, their friends, family,
neighbours, work colleagues etc use it. Windows is everywhere in Joe
Public's world.

Some of them use Mac's, sometimes for the same reasons as above for Windows
but in my experience it's because it's what they used during further and
higher education, ie for creating video's using Final Cut Pro, publishing
using In Design etc. They then go into the industry and use FCP etc on Mac's
in the workplace. The iPod, iPhone and iPad have also converted many users
to the Mac.

In my experience when I speak with people about trying, or even switching
to, Ubuntu there is always a stumbling block with the name 'Ubuntu' and the
names of all the releases, Dapper Drake, Hardy Heron, Karmic Koala, Lucid
Lynx, Maverick Meerkat, Natty Narwhal. They just seem to 'switch off' to the
whole idea of it.

Windows is a familiar word. It's releases have progressive names, Windows
XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. They sound cool.

Mac OS X 'sounds' cool. Its big cat release names sound powerful. Lion is
soon to be released and is very cheap. This is cool.

If it doesn't sound cool it isn't gonna sell, even if it's free! Any
advertising freelancer will tell you this.

What's Ubuntu? What's an Ubuntu? The UK market have no concept/comprehension
of this word. They have no common frame of reference.

They want to know what the word Ubuntu is. I tell them it's a philosophy and
that it means,

"I am what I am because of who we all are." (From a translation offered by
Liberian peace activist Leymah

and that it's an operating system that they can freely install on their PC.
I can even give them the wiki definition,


And by the time I mentioned the names of the releases they have just glazed
over. Apart from when I say 'Maverick Meerkat' which is 'cool' because of
the TV ads featuring a Meerkat that says, "Simples".

If Ubuntu is not a cool word = Ubuntu is not cool :(

Most of the people that borrow the laptops end up installing a copy of
Ubuntu on their home Windows PC so they can dual boot into either, just in
case!' They feel much 'safer' using Ubuntu after using it on a free machine
for a while, with everything installed for them and working.

Only one person I've 'spoken' to about Ubuntu has installed it on there own
desktop as their only OS. They came to my house to install it becuase they
we're worried something would go wrong. This person really enjoy's using
Ubuntu. They took a copy of it to Uni on a bootable flash drive and
impressed fellow students and their lecturers when they were able to boot a
copy of Ubuntu from a 'pen drive' on a networked Uni PC, and were amazed
when they could gain access to files they shouldn't have been able to! This
made what Ubuntu could do cool for these people, the name though was not

The Ubuntu OS *is* really cool, but *we* know this. The word Ubuntu is cool
in our world but from my experience it's not cool in the world of Joe

I would really like to find a way to enthuse people about Ubuntu but I don't
know how the get past it's name turning them off the idea.

Any suggestions, please?

Cheers, Tony :)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-uk/attachments/20110611/cc11e20b/attachment.html>

More information about the ubuntu-uk mailing list