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He's a Mac, He's a PC, But We're Linux! 508

Posted by timothy
from the those-other-people-are-blenders dept.
davidmwilliams writes "Earlier this year the Linux Foundation launched a competition for budding writers, film makers and just general Linux enthusiasts to make their own grassroots advertisement to compete with Apple's highly-successful 'I'm a Mac' series of adverts. The winner has now been announced."
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He's a Mac, He's a PC, But We're Linux!

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  • Wow (Score:2, Funny)

    Nothing quite as exciting as a spoof like two years after the original ads started and about a year after they stopped being cool.

    I heard Weird Al was coming up with a parody of the Bee Gees next week...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)

      Heh... typical of Linux though. Copying Mac or Windows, but years later, and not quite as good.

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by pseudonomous (1389971) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:27AM (#27571123)

        Like the rude AC, I re-iterate more politely:

        The winning ad doesn't copy either the Apple or Microsoft campaign styles. It's actually pretty good, except for the fact that it doesn't at all make clear WHAT linux is, but it might make some people interested enough to google it.

      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Svippy (876087) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:29AM (#27571151) Homepage

        Yeah, just like workspaces, man, totally rip off of Mac OS X's Spaces feature, and Windows' not yet existing equivalent!

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

          by Korin43 (881732) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:06PM (#27571819) Homepage
          Yeah and that time Linux totally ripped off Vista's 'Aero' effects..
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Deagol (323173) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:12PM (#27571941) Homepage

        And yet... Linux and the thousands of other open source projects that make a usable desktop remain Free, while the others do not.

        Even if I concede that open source clones of proprietary software are often inferior (which is certainly not a given), I'm ok with that given the benefits. If you *need* pivot tables in Excel or the bazillion features in Photoshop, then spend the money for your single license, possbily DRM'ed, binary-only product that can only be installed and run on a single OS a single hardware platform. More power to you! Isn't choice wonderful?

        I, along with many others, choose cost-free software that affords us the freedom to copy it indefinitely, install it on whatever OS/hardware we have, and tweak and fiddle with it without fear of DMCA violations or SPA audits.

        Your snide "not quite as good" remark totally ignores the benefits beyond technical features.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sbeckstead (555647)
          Ok, but I'm not a driveling whiny developer enthusiast that needs to have the bazillion levels of freedom that you need to hack the bejeezus out of your computer. I'm a burger flipper, a tire guy, a mechanic, a professional, or a housewife and I just want the stuff to work. I don't want to have to make a stupid decision about which distribution I should download and I don't want to have to answer nine billion technical questions just to get it installed. Something I have never gotten from Linux. I want
          • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

            by cptnapalm (120276) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:14PM (#27574091)

            "I just want the stuff to work"

            If all this stuff "just works" then why do I so regularly get requested by the "just works" customers to make something work that they can't get to work on their "just works" system?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by SBFCOblivion (1041418)

            I'm a burger flipper, a tire guy, a mechanic, a professional, or a housewife and I just want the stuff to work.

            Please, seek help [nih.gov].

          • No help (Score:4, Interesting)

            by kcdoodle (754976) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:33PM (#27574419)
            Have you ever tried to call Microsoft or Apple with a question?

            Were they able to help you? Or was it easier to post your question to google and find someone else who had the same problem and found a fix?

            I have been a Mac, a Microsoft AND and OS2. NEVER has customer service EVER helped with my problems. I guess easy problems that are easily solved are all the help lines are capable of. If it is an easy problem, heck, I have an Internet connection, I know how to type, and I know how to read.
          • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

            by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @05:04PM (#27577161) Journal

            Ok, but I'm not a driveling whiny developer enthusiast that needs to have the bazillion levels of freedom that you need to hack the bejeezus out of your computer. I'm a burger flipper, a tire guy, a mechanic, a professional, or a housewife and I just want the stuff to work.

            In that case, the bazillion programs available for Windows shouldn't matter -- only the few you need to work. Additionally, the lack of a need for antivirus, and the ease of keeping your system up-to-date and secure, should appeal to you.

            In fact, even a package manager and a distribution should benefit you, in the long run. Choosing software supported by the distro means it'll be maintained, likely forever and for free. Using a distro like Debian or Ubuntu, which has separate stable and unstable versions, means that as long as you're on the stable version, all of that software is known to work together -- no "dll hell", no other strange cases of one piece of software causing another to not work.

            I don't want to have to make a stupid decision about which distribution I should download

            That's why we say "Ubuntu" and move on.

            and I don't want to have to answer nine billion technical questions just to get it installed.

            I'm sure someone can verify it, but I don't think Ubuntu asks more questions than XP. If you're a professional, you solve this problem by getting it preinstalled [dell.com].

            I want to have that feeling that there is a company that I can blame,

            That would be Dell, who is providing you service, if you followed the above option.

            I need to have the feeling that there is a group of people that may benefit from my purchase,

            That, I really don't get. Since it can be free, why would you need that? If you get it as a product, with someone to blame (the Dell option), then Dell and Canonical both benefit, and some portion of your money goes directly to improving Ubuntu.

            Ubuntu is coming the closest to being a product and it's goals are commendable but it is not a mainstream desktop PRODUCT and never will be.

            Why not? Putting PRODUCT in all caps (and bold) doesn't make it a valid point. Your actual points here, I think I've refuted.

            Just because it's free doesn't mean it is going to be good and just because it costs a lot of money doesn't mean that it's evil.

            This is true. However, the fact that it is free, in a truly level market economy, would mean that anything that costs money would have to come with a lot of added value.

            As it is, the closest competitor, in the sense of something for which most software is compatible, might be Solaris (and other commercial Unices), but Solaris was recently open sourced -- Linux dominates that market. OS X might count, except their GUI is so proprietary that a truly native OS X app can't be much more easily ported to Linux than a Windows app can.

            I'l probably get modded a 0 flame bait for this

            I really hope mods stop falling for this tactic.

            Hey, mods, I'm about to say something that people might not want to hear! Some people might mod me down for it! You'd better mod me up to compensate!

            I'd have modded you overrated, but I actually have something to say.

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cream wobbly (1102689) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:53PM (#27572599)

          ...while your kind of "freedom to tweak" response completely ignores the usability problems that Linux suffers.

          Why am I being offered Gnome and KDE? What's the difference? Why can I not play DVDs? Okay, got that solved via a quick trip to the command line. What's the app called for playing MP3s and ripping CDs? Alright everyone, which one of the dozen is going to work best? Why does XBMC crash every time I try to play a DVD? Why doesn't Songbird play movies like the application it's trying to copy? Okay, I'll use VLC for movies. Where did VLC's fullscreen UI disappear off to? Why did I get a text-only "login:" prompt after booting? Okay, reinstall. Why did I not make notes?

          Contrast with Windows: Where are my drivers? Okay, installed. Why is it running so slow? Why does it take 15 minutes to shutdown?

          Contrast with Mac OS X: Where are my games?

          And on "enterprise" distros, where versions are locked for years while patches are backported, you suffer dependency hell, which forces you to run older versions of software until you can make the business case to upgrade the OS and all the commercial apps. This is particularly bad on workstations like RHEL4.

          The problem is least noticeable with servers, because the software stays pretty stable with relatively old requirements. But that's not what we're talking about now, is it?

          • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Dragonslicer (991472) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @02:27PM (#27574313)

            Contrast with Windows: Where are my drivers? Okay, installed.

            I think you left out a few steps, like "What's the manufacturer's web site? Okay, where is their downloads page? Okay, what's the exact model number? Okay, what version of Windows am I using?"

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by Repossessed (1117929) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:43AM (#27571419)

      You should probably actually watch the video, once it stops being slashdotted. Or go to Youtube. [youtube.com]

      The winner isn't anything that would be recognized as a I'm a Mac/I'm a PC commercial rip off, or anything like what Microsoft made either. I'm not sure why this is styled an "I'm Linux" contest in the first place, almost none of the videos had anything to do with that (The only one that was even close and worth mentioning was the "I'm Not Linux" video series).

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Repossessed (1117929) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:48AM (#27571495)

      Linux did its spoof [youtube.com] years ago.

  • I watched a few of these videos and I'm going to admit that it's very tough to push an operating system in less than a minute. So that leaves you in the very department you don't want to be in--marketing.

    I will congratulate Linux and the winning contestant on achieving what Apple did and Microsoft tried to. And that is simplify Linux down to an idea easy to grasp with no actual numbers or ideas surrounding it. Like the Mac ads, it's just "cool" to be a Mac. I like that they imply that to be Linux is to enjoy freedom but it's no more convincing to me than the Mac ads. I'm a Linux fanatic but I'm realistic.

    I don't think Linux needs this kind of advertising. I would prefer the software to speak for itself--warts and all. I hope all the participants had fun and I also hope that this doesn't make an easy target for anti-Linux folks. The winning ad sidesteps some of Linux's difficult aspects (usability, third party support, etc.) and promotes its trump card. Linux is freedom.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Linux is freedom.

      GNU/Linux is Stallman's idea of freedom.

    • by danaris (525051) <danarisNO@SPAMmac.com> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:52AM (#27570577) Homepage

      I will congratulate Linux and the winning contestant on achieving what Apple did and Microsoft tried to. And that is simplify Linux down to an idea easy to grasp with no actual numbers or ideas surrounding it. Like the Mac ads, it's just "cool" to be a Mac. I like that they imply that to be Linux is to enjoy freedom but it's no more convincing to me than the Mac ads. I'm a Linux fanatic but I'm realistic.

      But, see, there's a big, big problem with the winning ad.

      Unless you already know what Linux is, which many, many people do not, it is utterly meaningless.

      I know it has become popular to make ads that don't really explain what they're for in recent times, but that only works if the brand they're advertising is already recognizable, at least among their target demographic. But The Great Unwashed Masses don't even know what Linux is yet. Knowing that "it's freedom" tells them nothing, and the cute little animated graphics don't give any indication that it's even something to do with a computer—yeah, the graphics themselves are sometimes clearly computer-related, but these days, what isn't?

      When Linux is already as recognizable a name as Mac, iPod, Coke, or Nike, and everyone knows that "it's just another alternative to Mac or Windows," then we can make ads like this to push the "freedom" aspect of it.

      But until then, this ad doesn't tell a non-geek anything...except that Linux is pretentious.

      Dan Aris

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        But until then, this ad doesn't tell a non-geek anything...except that Linux is pretentious.

        Sounds like a solid start to me. What more do they need to know? Does the ad feature nerds? Then they'll go find a pretentious nerd who will tell them more than they ever wanted to hear about Linux. Perfect.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lwriemen (763666)

        But The Great Unwashed Masses don't even know what Linux is yet.

        The great unwashed masses don't conceptualize the idea of an operating system. This one of the reasons that Microsoft, with it's anti-competitive licensing, was able to gain a monopoly, because they controlled the pre-loads. Even when there was competition, consumers thought in terms of the total product rather than the composition of parts. You bought a Commodore {model name} PC, an Atari {model name} PC, an Apple {model name} PC, etc.

        Of course this is perpetuated by the use of the term, "PC", to be synony

      • by raddan (519638) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:43PM (#27572459)
        I'm not crazy about the ad, either, but to play devil's advocate, this ad [youtube.com] didn't exactly tell you what it was advertising either. On many levels, that ad should have been a flop (no information about the product, decidedly intellectual metaphor, etc) But you left the ad knowing that you wanted to know more. I think that's the approach the Linux folks are trying here.

        In my opinion, that approach is fine, but this ad doesn't really make me want to find out more. Maybe they need to hire Ridley Scott.
  • They should get... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:10AM (#27569969) Homepage Journal
    ...the geeks from Big Bang Theory to start ads for Linux.

    I've been kinda surprised that with all the tech and science they throw around on that show, that they don't ever mention Linux.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Swizec (978239)
      That's because linux is a product. Want Hollywood to mention your product? Pay!

      This is why Penny said two weeks ago "Diet Oke" instead of "Diet Coke", Coca Cola didn't pay for product placement.
    • Summer Glau would be better. Market to geeks who like Firefly and the geeks who like her in the Terminator TV show.

      • by Dripdry (1062282)
        Does anybody else think her name sounds like it should be on a beer bottle?
        "Try Bell's new Summerglau!"
  • Marketing fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DinDaddy (1168147) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:16AM (#27570057)

    While that is a nicely produced ad, if its purpose is to promote linux use to the general public, it completely fails.

    Nothing about it will grab their attention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930)
      Perhaps the video producers should watch "Idiocracy" and then have another go at it. I still think that movie's a damn documentary.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:17AM (#27570073)

    I especially love that you need flash to watch it off of youtube.

  • by Chysn (898420) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:20AM (#27570111)

    Okay, nobody get mad at me, I run my hosting business on CentOS and all my computers dual boot to Ubuntu. My six-year old son likes Ubuntu so much that he writes his name in that roundy Ubuntu lettering.

    But when I mentally set the stage for this commercial, I imagine a little dwarf coming out and saying, "I'm Linux, do you guys know how to get my wireless card working? I'm having trouble printing. Why can't I play this damn DVD?"

    Man, I hope I've got some karma to spare...

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      I imagine a little dwarf coming out and saying, "I'm Linux, do you guys know how to get my wireless card working? I'm having trouble printing. Why can't I play this damn DVD?"

      And then a tall handsome elf solves all his problems, right?

      Mr Jackson? Is that you?

    • by Creepy (93888)

      hmm - well that may be better than me - whenever I see "We're Linux" I think "of Borg - you will be assimilated."

      I know that it is Microsoft of Borg, but I can't get that out of my head...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

      My six-year old son likes Ubuntu so much that he writes his name in that roundy Ubuntu lettering.

      If you haven't installed it already, ttf-ubuntu-title allows you to use that font

    • Re:I'm Linux... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:24AM (#27571071)

      It's amazing that before you can offer real, valid criticisms of Linx, you need to qualify it with "but I really love it!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GodWasAnAlien (206300)

      It is worth noting that each item relates to interfaces to proprietary hardware and/or proprietary media.

      This is the weak point of open source for obvious reasons.

      If standards and specifications are open, then an implementation can be implemented with N man hours of work.
      However if reverse engineering is required, then N*10 - N*100 man hours is required, depending on how much effort was put into obscuring the hardware/software interface.

      This is basically a struggle between Computer Science, where we build f

  • i for one (Score:4, Funny)

    by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:20AM (#27570121) Homepage
    am glad it wasnt the "i, you, we are linux" ad... that one had me terrified that linux would inevitably pick up a phased plasma rifle in the 50 watt range and...well....try and find Sarah Connor.
  • by daid303 (843777) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:21AM (#27570149)
    It looks more like those microsoft ads, where they show white drawings on top of real life video.
  • by Captain Spam (66120) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:26AM (#27570201) Homepage

    He's a Mac, He's a PC, [and] We're Linux!

    Can three operating systems from three different cultures get along in the same wacky network? Tune in this fall to NBC for _Broken Pipes_, the hilarious new sitcom from those nutty writers behind BSD and VMS!

  • I took a gander at all the finalists of this contest and I felt like I could point out some problems with most of them. "Origin" had exceptional visuals but the voiceover suffered from poor pacing, another had a good script but Film School-esque visuals. I had a real soft spot for the French entry in a faux operating room - I watched it without subtitles, and I don't understand French. The image of a nurse-chasing Tux speaking an incomprehensible language had me cracking up, but I think it may have been too

  • by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@@@hoe...hn> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:28AM (#27570235) Homepage

    They must be hosting this on a [Insert Your Least Favorite Underpowered Device Here].

    Seems to be on the Youtubes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWEIQIv8zvY&feature=player_embedded [youtube.com]

    I donno, not a horrible video, but I have trouble seeing how that's going to convince anyone to switch to the Linuxes. I think it's a bit to idealogical and lacking in the pragmatic. It could use some, "the advantages of Linux over PC's or Mac's are thus:"

    • by Svartalf (2997) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:47AM (#27570521) Homepage

      The problem is that it's hard to pin down the advantages in a manner that people will "get it".

      I don't know how many times I've shown (honestly so and in a way the people were just gobsmacked...) those advantages- and people will still use XP or Vista, because they "like" it, never mind that they're always bitching about all the problems they actually HAVE with the stuff and never once twig onto the fact that it really doesn't have to be that way and you don't have the crap going on in the large on Linux. And this doesn't even get into the people with the mindset that something as good as what Linux has become could ever be "free" or that handing copies out to people could be anything but illegal.

      Spelling out "advantages" isn't going to get you there right at the moment.

    • I'm glad they went with an ad that didn't scream "Me too!" Out of necessity, Linux already copies Microsoft which copied Macintosh which copied Xerox in terms of GUIness and perhaps other programs. But it didn't need to do the same with commercials: copying Microsoft copying Apple.

      The only thing bad is that unless you already know what linux is, the commercial doesn't exactly inform you, even visually, albeit a single cartoonishly animated mouse cursor. It might leave common people scratching their heads

    • by MK_CSGuy (953563)

      They sure aren't treating their servers properly [dilbert.com].

    • They must be hosting this on a [Insert Your Least Favorite Underpowered Device Here].

      This makes me wonder: what is the largest site /. has ever trampled?

  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:30AM (#27570253)
    At least they didn't mention anything about a 'Whispering Eye' and start giggling... I guess that's a positive.
  • IBM Linux ad (Score:5, Informative)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @10:36AM (#27570333)

    Here's the old Linux ad by IBM. It's pretty cool:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwL0G9wK8j4

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Yetihehe (971185)
      This one done by RedHat is better IMHO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_VFKqw1q2Q [youtube.com]
      • by cblack (4342)

        The Red Hat ad is over 3 minutes long! Not a very effective ad, maybe a good intro for a presentation or something tho.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Archon-X (264195)

      Not surprising that a budget can produce results.

      I'm not sure where to start on the 'winning advertisement'.

      For a start: the quality of presentation and graphics is poor.
      The medium is visual, but the visuals serve no purpose: we'd know just as much (or just as little, as the case may be) with audio only.
      The copy is generica: we're talking about freedom and liberty. Is it an airline? Is it a panty liner?

      The voice for the audio is a poor choice. It's not the accent that's the problem, it's just not an engagin

    • This ad has John Wooden in it. It is awesome.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Someone said that this was marketing fail and I completely agree. To some random consumer who has never heard of Linux, this commercial wouldn't give them ANY idea as to what it actually is or why they would need it.

    It looks more like a commercial for a mouse pointer. _NOTHING_ in the commercial indicates that Linux is an operating system.

    • by Yetihehe (971185)
      Some random guy who has never heard of linux probably also doesn't know what's this operating thingy.
    • by businessnerd (1009815) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:00PM (#27571717)

      A lot of people have been posting this. The ad doesn't tell you what Linux actually is, just that it's gives you freedom. But that's OK. That's actually what makes it a good ad. It focuses on a single concept. The problem is not the ad itself, it's those that are focusing on a single ad and not thinking about a wider marketing campaign. Unless the product is very self explanatory, you don't introduce something new with a single ad, you serve up multiple ads, possibly with an overall theme, each one highlighting something different about the product. To be simple, look at Apple's ads. Note that I use the plural form of ad. Each one talks about one thing. "Ease of use" is one ad. "No viruses" is another ad. "Interoperabilty" is another. They don't do this all in one ad, its impossible. Some of the entries tried to do this and it failed miserably. You only have thirty seconds to get your point across. Say too much and no one will get it.

      So this is only the beginning of a campaign. It's the initial buzz creator. It gets people asking the questiong "what is this linux thing?". Some will go look it up, but they don't have to, because your next ads are coming out that go deeper. They use the same overall style, but instead of talking about freedom, they talk about security, or reliability, or open standards, or whatever. There's a lot of reasons Linux is great, but you have to pick only one reason per ad.

  • Trying to push your operating system by running a website that can actually host the videos? I dunno, that might tell me that you have your act together better than some kids pushing back at "tha Man", man. Second story on this topic (that I have seen), second time I can't get to the videos. Or are they running IIS?
  • I went down to microcenter in cambridge, ma, a half mile from mit and harvard. they don't even stock linux computers.
    I do my taxes on the computer (so even if they make linux tax software, i have to import, or run wine) my kids use windows for gaming (so i have to know something about it to help them).....
    I actually installed ubuntu under wubi on my last laptop: it worked fine: so what
    why should i switch if there is ZERO incentive for me to use linux - i get absolutely nothing from linux that i don't get fr

    • by daeley (126313) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:16AM (#27570961) Homepage

      why should i switch if there is ZERO incentive for me to use linux [...]

      the thought of giving more money to redmond makes me want to puke

      Well, it sounds like you have greater than zero incentive to me. Perhaps there are other reasons you will discover.

    • by starfishsystems (834319) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:39AM (#27571339) Homepage
      It's okay if you're happy enough where you are. It sounds like you're used to a certain level of pain. Everyone's experience is unique.

      For me, the math happens to run the other way. Here at work I'm forced to use Windows. I've been doing systems work for more than thirty years now, but fortunately it's almost never involved Microsoft products. The kinds of work I do have been in areas where Microsoft doesn't go, so it hasn't even been an option. When I switch to Windows it's endless irritation. Slow performance most of all, but everything, just everything is a little bit below par. My Linux systems are running on older hardware, never a problem, and easily eight or ten times more responsive.

      So stay with Windows if you think it's faster and does what you need. After all, it's a free choice. Nobody is forcing you.
  • ...or did anyone else think "we are Linux, resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" the moment they saw the headline?

  • by Dripdry (1062282) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:15AM (#27570947) Journal
    The ad brings up the idea that Linux is about freedom. Does Linux follow through on that promise?

    I started using Ubuntu in December (hand in my geek card, I know). I tried once before with Mandrake about 5 years ago and it was too much work (honestly) for a hobby OS.

    How free are people under Linux? I understand that it's about freedom of information, but when I think about the other possibilities that I might want to have in terms of User Interface manipulation (like the ad seems to suggest) I begin to wonder. Is there an easy (non-code, maybe even scripting) way to change the look of the UI? Is the UI as easy, fun, and colorful as the ad seems to suggest? These may seem like dumb questions to some, but if Linux wants market share they need to build a brand and follow through on that brand promise.

    About freedom and intuition in applications: When trying to play a DVD on my girlfriend's brand new Ubuntu build it was necessary to download 3 different media applications (settled on VLC, but even that had a fatal bug sometimes) and sift for a while through google just to install the correct libs. I understand that the DVD format isn't free, but getting everything to work correctly was a bit of a chore. THAT is not freedom. THAT is frustration to a new user. If I hadn't been there I know she would have ditched the OS and gone back to Windows. She even picked up an "Ubuntu for Dummies" book (which did not fully describe getting a DVD to play) so she's by no means lazy about learning Linux.
    She doesn't use the computer for too much but shouldn't the bare basics work immediately?

    "Basics" are different for everyone (Aha! Another chance to have Linux be about freedom!) so shouldn't there be an option to walk people through what tasks they might use the computer for, then show them to the new user and make it enjoyably interactive to CHOOSE those programs, with an option somewhere to try out and learn other programs?

    It's about freedom AND communicating that freedom effectively, and I feel the Linux community would benefit greatly from taking the time to concentrate on that aspect. If Linux (whatever flavor) is really about freedom, then that gift of freedom from developers comes with responsibility. That is a responsibility to coherently express how and what the OS can do.

    If there really are a lot of people taking Linux notebooks/netbooks/desktops back, don't you think they at least *tried* tinkering with the OS? To me that says that the initial impression Linux gives may not be a helpful one.

    If Linux is trying to get new users, shouldn't the focus be on effectively presenting the OS to new users?

    In short, the ad seems cool, but Linux should get that ad out there and they should find a way to follow through on what effectively seems to be Linux's biggest shortcoming.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OolimPhon (1120895)

      I understand that the DVD format isn't free, but getting everything to work correctly was a bit of a chore. THAT is not freedom. THAT is frustration to a new user.

      That's nothing to do with linux, in a technical sense. That's an artifically-imposed legal restriction caused by entertainment monopolies who have no idea how to use technology. Don't like it? Write your congresscritter.

    • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @01:30PM (#27573261) Homepage

      When trying to play a DVD on my girlfriend's brand new Ubuntu build it was necessary to download 3 different media applications (settled on VLC, but even that had a fatal bug sometimes) and sift for a while through google just to install the correct libs.

      Or, you could have done it the Windows way: buy proprietary DVD-playing software, install that, done.

      http://shop.canonical.com/ [canonical.com]

      Click on "Software" and there it is: PowerDVD.

      She doesn't use the computer for too much but shouldn't the bare basics work immediately?

      I don't think Windows XP comes with a DVD player pre-installed by default. If you buy a new Compaq or Dell or something it probably does have a DVD player, but nobody seems to be selling Ubuntu pre-installed with PowerDVD. Yet.

      If Linux is trying to get new users, shouldn't the focus be on effectively presenting the OS to new users?

      Who do you mean by "Linux" here? The Ubuntu guys are doing one thing, the Fedora guys are doing something else, etc.

      But here's what a new Ubuntu user should be reading:

      http://www.ubuntuguide.org/ [ubuntuguide.org]

      I found Ubuntu Guide through Google. There are resources out there.

      Yes, the world of Linux, even Ubuntu Linux, is not yet a shiny gleaming perfect place. But I know several people who are far less geeky than me, and they are perfectly happy using Ubuntu. The best thing is for a geek to set everything up, and then the user can just use the system.

      I always tell people: "There will be problems. There are always problems. But, with Linux, they are different problems than you get in Windows... and I like Linux's problems better. The problems in Windows tend to be things like 'My machine has spyware now and it stopped working!' The problems in Linux tend to be 'I don't know how to get it to do what I want', but once you solve the Linux problems they tend to stay solved."

      That's not a tidy message you could have Jerry Seinfeld deliver in a few seconds; I guess that's why I'm not in marketing.

      steveha

  • Aren't Linux machines technically PCs?

  • by not already in use (972294) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:27AM (#27571127)
    The problem with marketing Linux, or at least *Linux* people marketing Linux, is that they seem to think that your typical layperson will place value in the same things that a technical Linux user does.

    What we have here is an overly-vague advert that places emphasis on it being "free and open" and "choices." A typical end-user does not care about these things. They want a complete, integrated product that works. Free and open means little if nothing to these people.

    Where people advocating the wider adoption of Linux truly fail is in realizing what people want, and instead trying to tell them what they want and what they should place value in. What makes Linux so great for some people is what makes it less adoptable for most. The real question is, does your desire for wider Linux adoption trump your desire for an loosely coupled OS with little integration and many choices?
  • The site video.linuxfoundation.org is dead as a dodo, presumably from Slashdotting. Anyone know of a Youtube (or whatever) mirror?

  • by jweller (926629) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:40AM (#27571367)

    So wait, we are fighting to give the Iraqis Linux. Have we decided on a distro yet?

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:44AM (#27571427) Journal

    Trying to respond to the Mac vs. PC ads is playing right into Apple's ad agency's hands. All doing that does is remind people of their ad. And if you do it badly (like MS did... of course I didn't RTFA so I haven't seen the Linux entrant) it makes you look really bad in comparison. Find another angle.

  • Direct to youtube (Score:4, Informative)

    by prograde (1425683) on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @11:50AM (#27571531)

    Since the Linux Foundation's site is getting hammered, here are links direct to youtube. I hope that I got the correct vids...feel free to correct me.

    First place: What does it mean to be free [youtube.com]
    Second: The Origin [youtube.com]
    Third: Linux Pub [youtube.com]
    Other two finalists: The Future is Open [youtube.com]
    Challenges at the Office [youtube.com]

  • by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgw.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 14, 2009 @12:25PM (#27572139) Journal

    Am I really the only person who's noticed that Microsoft completely failed to understand what the Apple ads were presenting? Apple had two actors who were *actually portraying* the computer/operating systems in question. All of Microsoft's ads seem to think that "I'm a PC" is just shorthand for "I'm a Windows (l)user."

    Or is it the general public that's too stupid to understand the difference, and Microsoft is making hay off of that?

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