[ubuntu-uk] What's In A Name?

Nigel Verity nigelverity at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 12 22:15:57 UTC 2011

Hi Guys

It's been very interesting to read all the different takes on the Ubuntu name. Whatever the wisdom of its original selection, everyone's familiar with it, and to change now would probably be a retrograde step. However, the individual release names must seem a bit odd to non-Linux users. What's wrong with, for example, just calling the versions Ubuntu 11, Ubuntu 12, etc? That would describe the sequence, which is all that really matters. Whether the version is released in April or October shouldn't impact on the numbering convention.

Anything that helps to give Ubuntu the image of being "mainstream" can only be of help. Quirky release names suggest that Ubuntu is perhaps intended only for people "in the know".

Other recent threads have pointed out that the vast majority of Windows and Mac users have never installed an operating system and would be extremely reluctant ever to do so. Until Ubuntu, or any other Linux distro for that matter, is widely available pre-installed on new hardware in high street shops, we're never going to make that all important big step. As things stand at the moment, if MS ever release a really flawed version of Windows or suffer a huge security embarrassment, it will be Mac OS that people turn to as the alternative, not Linux.

The diversity of distros which is such a strength of Linux is also a major barrier to its mass-market adoption. Consider the position of, say, PC World. If they took a policy decision to offer Linux pre-installed, how would they decide which distro to use, when there are so many and the relative merits of each change from month to month. At least with Windows you get the same very narrow version options wherever you buy your computer.

Don't get me wrong, I want Linux to go mainstream. It is better than Windows in practically every respect but, for all that, we appear to be unable to literally give it away as far as general desktop users are concerned. This indicates the strength of the MS marketing machine as much as anything. Since we can't hope to match that in financial terms we have to take every opportunity to broaden the appeal of Ubuntu. Ditching daft release names could be one step in the right direction.



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