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

john beddard john at kernelnetworks.com
Sat Jun 11 20:42:35 UTC 2011

These are valuable lessons that we need to take on board Tony. 

However we are dealing across an international community, where Ubuntu
can have different meanings. Not forgetting that Microsoft Windows has
very negative image across the world. To the point that most users had
to begin using it, because they had no other choice. 

My first response would to make the name more accessible by the
marketing people : U2 Ubuntu. However, probably better, would be the use
of graphic characters, something the open-source community  has been
exceptional at doing. So for example a Natty Narwhale character for the
current 11.04 release. Making each major release more memorable.
Alternatively, whilst Ubuntu's logo is strong, this characterisation
could be done for the school's and young adult market in general.


On Sat, 2011-06-11 at 21:06 +0100, (:techitone:) wrote:
> Hi,
> 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 music.
> 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 Gbowee.)
> and that it's an operating system that they can freely install on
> their PC. I can even give them the wiki definition,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_%28philosophy%29
> 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 popular.
> 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 Public.
> 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 :)
> -- 
> --
> (:techitone:)
> --

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