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Net Radio Exec Says "Don't Mention Linux" 442

Posted by kdawson
from the choosing-words-carefully dept.
Barence writes "It might be reliable enough to power their device, but it seems some companies are still a bit reluctant to use the 'L word' when talking about their products. Speaking at the launch of the touchscreen Pure Sensia digital radio, director of marketing Colin Crawford was pressed for specifics of the new device's software. But after his CEO reminded him that the new radio was based on a Linux OS, Crawford remarked: 'I don't like the using the word "Linux" on a radio.'" Of course the presence of (possibly embedded) Linux may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma?
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Net Radio Exec Says "Don't Mention Linux"

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  • by harmonise (1484057) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:51PM (#29499277)

    Linux may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma

    Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the Linux community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

    • Linux may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma

      Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the Linux community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

      Maybe they have to pay Linus if they use the L word.

      • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:22PM (#29499511) Journal
        "Linux" a trademark of Linus Torvaldes and that's it. As long as you don't use it as a trademark of *your* product it will be fine.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by noundi (1044080)

          "Linux" a trademark of Linus Torvaldes and that's it. As long as you don't use it as a trademark of *your* product it will be fine.

          Unless your product is a Linux dist. Initially he had no interest in trademarking it but because William R. Della Croce, Jr. (AKA whore face) tried to steal it, thus forcing him to play along the flawed American market rules. You can find the brand Linux printed anywhere, and Linus hasn't bothered to do anything about it (he doesn't want to). I'd bet that he wouldn't even care if someone made a Linux sex toy. He has a sense of humor that way.

    • by gbarules2999 (1440265) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:24PM (#29499521)

      You-know-who may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma

      Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the you-know-who community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

      We do not speak his name! He-who-must-not-be-named!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:27PM (#29499945)
        Let's see. Xenu is an important figure to Scientologists, but they don't like mentioning his name.

        Linux is an important OS to some companies, but they don't like mentioning its name.

        Therefore, Linux blew up their volcano.

        Simple, really.

        • by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @08:47AM (#29502569)

          Let's see. Xenu is an important figure to Scientologists, but they don't like mentioning his name.

          Linux is an important OS to some companies, but they don't like mentioning its name.

          Therefore, Linux blew up their volcano.

          Well, Linux beings are just a bunch of daemons bound together, after all.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:35PM (#29499617)

      Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the Linux community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

      Because using linux as an embedded OS was such a keenly revolutionary idea that no one else in the marketplace would ever consider the possibility on their own.
      Right.

      Maybe there is a plausible explanation, but that sure ain't it.

      • by tsa (15680) on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:18PM (#29499903) Homepage

        There is. Most people in the real world don't even know what an operating system is, and that your average appliance uses software to do the things it's supposed to do. Bothering them with that only confuses them.

      • by stephanruby (542433) on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:31PM (#29499975)

        Because using linux as an embedded OS was such a keenly revolutionary idea that no one else in the marketplace would ever consider the possibility on their own.

        The VCs, the shareholders, and/or the media may not know. Most companies want to appear unique (even if they're not). So they'd prefer to generate an air of mystique around their software (than to admit, that the only thing they had to do was customize, or tweak some existing piece of well-known software).

        This doesn't just happen to Linux. For instance, some companies may be reluctant to say they're using Visual Basic for Applications for instance. So they'll package their app in a binary, remove the splash screen, and do all sorts of things to hide the true origin of their app. Diebold was one such example, but there are many more others... Even Microsoft does that. Hell, even some open source projects do it to other open source projects. As long as the license allows it, and without necessarily explicitly saying it (but may be at least implying it), most companies/people will try to get the credit for other people's work, and try to appear as if they had some specialized knowledge/software that few other people have.

    • by nxtw (866177)

      Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors.

      In any case, if they include GPL software (Linux), they will likely be including a copy of the license with the device.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Or maybe advertising your use of Linux moves you from being a mere annoyance to a mortal enemy of the Redmond cabal.

    • LINUX INSIDE! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Morgaine (4316) on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:43PM (#29500039)

      You have to remember how product marketting works in companies. It's not a rational process, but involves someone tabling an idea that catches the imagination of a bunch of droids who quite literally know almost nothing and aren't capable of producing anything themselves --- that's why they're in Marketting after all.

      As a result, technical issues don't matter, but identifiable feature points and catchy slogans do. Factual details of Linux are totally off the agenda, while "Linux Inside" might work, and a cute penguin on the box might too. In contrast, actually talking about Linux or open source is as horrifying as talking about the voltage levels on a USB connector -- it becomes "technical" rather than just a feature point or icon on a box. It's not their world.

      Give the marketeers something that matches their M.O.. A few slogans would be a good start.

      • Re:LINUX INSIDE! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:14AM (#29500273) Journal

        I am a programmer not a marketer, but your attitude towards marketing is something I hear all the time in technical departments. It creates an unhealthy us vs. them dynamic in companies that hurts communication. Communication between techies and marketing people is hard enough already.

        Marketing people are not idiots because they cant program a computer. The really good ones are experts at manipulating peoples emotions and desires in subtle ways. Since people's emotions are not rational things, the work of marketing people does not follow rational rules either. This makes their work seem "dumb" to obsessively rational people like us programmers.

        Why do you think upper management seems to always "fall for" the "idiotic" ideas of marketing and not listen to the "rational" arguments of developers? It's partially because marketing people are experts at making compelling arguments. While we are really good at making logical arguments that are factually accurate yet convince no one but other logical people.

        The other reason is because marketing may not be as "smart" as development, but they get a fundamental truth that seems to evade many programmers. It's more important (to the company) to SELL your product than to make it good. Look at all the half-asses crap around you to see how true that is.

        So.... I forgot my point, but you get my point.

        • by the_womble (580291) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @02:41AM (#29501049) Homepage Journal

          Marketing people are not idiots because they cant program a computer.

          True, that is not why they are idiots.

        • Re:LINUX INSIDE! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lesrahpem (687242) <iadnah@uplinklou ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @03:44AM (#29501285) Homepage
          So, what you're basically saying is marketers are usurpers and users, right? How do we deal with those again? Apparently that's THE RIGHT WAY TO BE in today's world. Too bad you're whole fucking world is built on the shoulders of giants. Why is that a problem you ask? Well, let me see here. You know nothing of the knowledge, science, and technology which are the pillars of your bright new world. They were built by people whose minds are so arcane and alien to you that you will never be able to comprehend exactly how much you rely on the hobbies of dead legends. The problem? We've come back to reclaim our throne.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lemming Mark (849014)

          You speak a lot of truth. An "us vs them" dynamic is a horrible thing to have within a company as it creates an unhappy atmosphere and potentially reduces communication further, impairing effectiveness of the company as a whole. In defense of the (seemingly eternal) engineering vs marketing squabble I'd note that there seem to be a fair number of companies where marketing is the tail, wagging the dog. In an aggressive company that's trying to win lots of contracts, marketing has a motivation to sell impo

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:36AM (#29500437) Journal

      It's probably more like they do not want their perfectly fine and functional product damaged by the MS FUD and campaigns by others to profit from MS products.

      It doesn't take long to realize all the negative publicity out there published with the intent of pushing MS over linux or Mac. The average consumer, if they become aware of it, will not know the context of the statements and could shy away from their product because MS releases another study about windows being cheaper, more stable or Linux not working right, has a bunch of headaches or something.

      This idiots who would buy their product would likely see Linux on the side of the box and walk away because of something like that. OF course, most enthusiast or knowledgeable people would likely gravitate towards it, but they are far and few in between.

  • re: Stigma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:51PM (#29499281)
    Depends. Did they make and then fail to release any changes to the source?
    • It has not been released yet, until it is we can't be sure. Perhaos it was their plan but surly it cant be anymore!

    • The license says that they are required to release the code, even if they do not modify it, or to indicate where the code can be obtained...
  • by chill (34294) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:53PM (#29499295) Journal

    I reminds me of an episode of Northern Exposure. Maurice had a fit when Chris, the DJ, told the story of the city's founding by a pair of Lesbians.

    • by Looce (1062620) *

      That would be a reason to be embarrassed, yes. Perhaps that's the L word that Colin Crawford was reluctant to say. I would be embarrassed too if I had to tell people that my radio was powered by lesbians.

      • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:01PM (#29499363) Homepage Journal

        Great, now I'm wondering which way you but the batteries in.

        • by Looce (1062620) * on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:05PM (#29499387) Journal

          That's easy. You take the first battery and put the positive terminal up, then you take the second battery and put the positive terminal down. If you do it right, the two positive pins will be on opposite sides. ... Which is how lesbians do it too. That's a neat trick to remember where the heads -- er, I mean positive terminals -- go.

          • That's easy. You take the first battery and put the positive terminal up, then you take the second battery and put the positive terminal down. If you do it right, the two positive pins will be on opposite sides. ... Which is how lesbians do it too. That's a neat trick to remember where the heads -- er, I mean positive terminals -- go.

            I have a bicycle tail light which takes four batteries in the configuration:

            + +
            B B
            | |
            B B
            - -

            ie its series parallel. It a bit melted from the time I put my NiCDs in as if it was four in series. The only vibrator I own takes just one battery. Its low on power but easy to load in the dark (and in a hurry).

  • Linux. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by db32 (862117) on Monday September 21, 2009 @09:59PM (#29499345) Journal
    It means "unknown" and "strange" to anyone who hasn't heard of it or isn't very computer savvy. It means "complex" and "difficult" to anyone who has heard of it that is moderately computer savvy. It means "shut the hell up and stop asking me stupid f'ing Linux questions every time I sit down at my desk!" to those of us who have used it and work with any one in the previous two categories. Seriously...I started using a Mac so I could get my nice unixy and open source goodness without having to play 20 questions every time I booted my damned laptop. Now they just look and say "oh, its a Mac, those are expensive" and walk away.
    • Re:Linux. (Score:5, Funny)

      by l3ert (231568) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:24PM (#29499523)
      You are saying that because your are bitter that your previous plan of them going "Ooh what is that?... OMG a penguin how cute! Wanna go out?" failed. And now your new plan for "Ooh a Mac, how hip! Wanna go out?" isn't giving any results either but it was too expensive for you to admit failure yet. All along the solution was so simple: "no one has ever not been laid because they run Windows!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It means "unknown" and "strange" to anyone who hasn't heard of it or isn't very computer savvy.

      Exactly as "unknown" and "strange" as any other technical spec, or any other marketing slogan. It's not as though TiVo is any less unknown or strange.

      It means "complex" and "difficult" to anyone who has heard of it that is moderately computer savvy.

      You'd have to be just the right combination of "moderately computer savvy" to not also understand that Linux powers Google, TiVos, and many HDTVs. Embedded Linux is not now difficult, nor has it ever been.

      It means "shut the hell up and stop asking me stupid f'ing Linux questions every time I sit down at my desk!" to those of us who have used it and work with any one in the previous two categories.

      Erm... I can't ever remember being constantly interrupted with Linux questions. I did get occasional stupid questions, but users tended to either be mostly s

  • if it's built on open source software, chances are someone will force them to reveal their source code.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If, and only if, they made any changes to the GPLed code. And, even then, only the bits integrated into the GPLed code.

      There are almost certainly outfits for which that is a serious issue; but I'd be shocked if these guys are one of them. Their device is almost certainly a more-or-less stock ARM board, with a Linux BSP already provided by whoever they bought it from, along with a few not-very-exotic peripherals, also likely off the shelf. On top of that will be their closed blob of a program, which is wh
      • Yes but how do we *know*. Guess we'll need to have look now, won't we?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MichaelSmith (789609)

        If, and only if, they made any changes to the GPLed code. And, even then, only the bits integrated into the GPLed code.

        If you distribute any GPL code, such as the Linux kernel or the GNU userland, you have to offer the sources to the recipient.

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          If I mail you a Red Hat CD do I have to provide the source? Or can I just point you to redhat.com? It's just an OS. It might even be a stock distro.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      if it's built on open source software, chances are someone will force them to reveal their source code.

      Force? There's no force involved[*]. They knew that if they made any changes to the software, they were going to release the source from the moment they decided to distribute a device with Linux on it. Assuming they have customised the code, the decision to release the source was entirely theirs. And it was made when they chose to use Linux in the first place.

      [*] Well, except for RMS' ninjas, but we don't talk about them....

      • Oh SURE they knew they would eventually release the source. And SURE they would willingly adhere to the license terms. And people don't cheat on their spouses. And nobody cheats on their taxes. And no one ever gets sued over this kind of thing. And I'm dating Megan Fox.

  • On the other hand... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:07PM (#29499401) Homepage

    Squeezebox Touch is Linux-based, and imminently hackable. Although not emphasized as a consumer selling point, it is certainly no secret and there is a very active developer community around the products.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:15PM (#29499447) Homepage

    That includes [especially] me. We already have our own perceptions of Linux and what it means. We, at times desperately, want others to see Linux the way we do. But they don't.

    Frankly, I don't really know or understand how others see Linux. I could venture to guess though... Linux is weird. Linux is not normal. Linux is what "different" people use.

    I know that people put a lot of associative value in identity. People want to think of themselves and everything they identify themselves with as good and normal and hopefully even cool. Linux is only cool to a limited number of people... to everyone else, Linux is an associative reflection of all the weirdos who use Linux. Most of use are geeks and not socially ordinary. What does that say about how others might see Linux?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      ... Linux is weird. Linux is not normal. Linux is what "different" people use.

      I resemble that remark!!

    • by maharb (1534501) on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:14PM (#29499877)

      This is truth. You have portions of the population who are interested and then those who aren't. I don't think people hate it, but they rightfully know that is not for them, and that is true for a desktop environment. The problem is most people don't understand what embedded means and so mentioning linux can scare people out of even looking at the product because they think it must just be something they are incapable of operating. I am willing to bet most westerners have interacted with a linux machine at some point in their life, most without knowing it. Embedded linux is everywhere but no one needs or wants to know it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erroneus (253617)

        That actually calls to mind another reason why it may be uncomfortable to mention the "L" word in public. Linux has been introduced on the desktop many times by many people in different ways. All people knew was that they couldn't run the programs their friends were running, see the same web pages that their friends see (in the same way) and that there are no programs they can buy from the store that will work with it off the shelf. To them, "it doesn't work right."

        Many people have tried to switch to App

  • Stigma to Linux (Score:4, Informative)

    by TUOggy (1253848) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:16PM (#29499453)
    I think there is some stigma to the word Linux. When I am recommending "Linux" to people, they explain to me that they have heard that it is very difficult to use and would rather just continue to use Windows, and I have to go through the "No it's not hard to use, it's just not Windows" spiel. When I recommend Ubuntu for their desktop, they basically tell me (1)if they have heard of it, that they hear it's easy to use (2)if they haven't heard of it, "will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will and if they switch then they generally like it better.

    overall, I think that people still relate Linux to "Command Line" and "Nerdy basement hacker geeks who are fat and have too much facial hair"

    People are really surprised when I show them my netbook running Ubuntu and all they have to do is click the firefox icon on the dock. They are always shocked when I explain that it's based on Linux.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      >>>"will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will

      I get annoyed when Linux users tell untruths simply to "sell" their product. Reminds me of certain Software vendors I've encountered at work with their "magic demos" which seem to do "everything", but the real product doesn't do half of what they demoed. Here's a few things Ubuntu Linux won't do:

      - Connect to my ISP (the software connects and then crashes before I type my password)
      - Run my ISP's web accelerator software (simply do

      • P.S.

        Remember you said "it will do everything that Windows will". Everything means everything with virtually no exceptions.

        • Remember you said "it will do everything that Windows will". Everything means everything with virtually no exceptions.

          But windows out of the box does very little. Whats it got? Notepad and a web browser. Ubuntu comes with openoffice.

          I had something similar to that screen resolution issue on windows 95 or 98. The owner had set the desktop font to the biggest possible size. We ended up reinstalling the OS.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            You forgot WMP and Media Center, which are kind of a big deal for people who use their computer for entertainment. Also, OEMs can install flash (even the Dell specific Ubuntu builds to this), so that is a big chunk of internet entertainment browsing as well.
            So, basically, an out of the box experience for Windows allows leisure activities. Can the same be said of Ubuntu? I count this as a tie. Windows can do basic entertainment out of the box. Linux can do productivity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mdda (462765)

        Maybe you tried this before you installed Windows out of frustration, but did you know that you can (most often than not) move a window around by holding down Alt while clicking & dragging? [ I've also been frustrated by screen-size dialogues not ensuring they fit on the current screen... ]

      • by Shikaku (1129753)

        Try doing all those things on a Mac. You get a similar experience I bet. It's called software incompatibility. There has to be an explanation that using foreign software from other OSes are unsupported and can not work or will take a lot of work to work.

        Yes it's a computer but that doesn't mean it can run Windows software.

        Try putting Toyota engine in a Ford car, chances are it won't work. Same reasons, not compatible.

        Someone needs to explain this to people installing and buying computers with Linux.

      • Re:Stigma to Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:04AM (#29500195) Homepage

        > - Run my ISP's web accelerator software (simply doesn't run)

        What is this? Some guy with a cross-temporal terminal? Why would anyone
        be interested in running that sort of thing in this day and age. You
        might as well whine about there being no version of Compuserve for Linux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        - Connect to my ISP (the software connects and then crashes before I type my password)
        - Run my ISP's web accelerator software (simply doesn't run)
        - Run Internet Exploder (starts-up then crashes five minutes later)
        - Allow me to select 1000 songs, right-click on "open", and play those songs sequentially in VLC Player. Instead the stupid OS tries to open all 1000 songs at the same time. I had to yank the power cord to regain control. I haven't seen that level of poor design since AmigaOS 1.2 (1987).

        Cannot repr

      • by turing_m (1030530)

        If you don't like Ubuntu, it's not the end of the world. There is certainly a price that must be paid in order to get up to speed running it, compared to something you are more familiar with. (At least, if you are going to maintain it yourself.)

        And unless you personally gave money to Ubuntu, you are not a customer. They do not owe you anything.

        I think I've been using Ubuntu for 2 years now, or so. I'll be honest. Sometimes things break or don't work well. e.g.
        -Tremulous hangs on my machine more than I'd lik

      • Re:Stigma to Linux (Score:5, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @01:32AM (#29500743) Homepage

        Points 1, 2, 3 and 5 are all about wine. Your ISP software is probably trying to change some windows network/dialup settings that don't exist in Linux, use the native broadband configuration. Your "web accelerator" is probably a http proxy setting so again it's trying to modify things that don't exist, use the native proxy configuration. Wine is a system to run Windows applications under Linux. If you think you can do Linux system administration and change system settings through wine, then that is your problem. It's certainly not been my problem with any ISP since 2000, though I've only used it on the desktop for 1-2 years.

        There are much better native browsers and as far as I can tell also native Amiga emulators, though I don't know the quality of them. So you come from Windows and expect Linux to run all your windows applications. Not unusual, but not really helpful either because then the only Linux project you're interested in is wine. Software not designed for Linux or cross-platform would normally not run at all, sometimes I wish newbies were forbidden from using wine until they've at least tried to use a Linux application. Yes, I know there's some irreplaceable windows software, but still.

        Now the two things that are problems with Linux software: About the files, yeah that is stupid. I discovered the same using ark, if you try to unzip ten archives it'll start ten processes at the same time and go crazy trashing the disk instead of queuing them up. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Don't know why it's this way. To be fair the music players typically have a normal add to playlist dialog, but from a file browser the behavior is terrible.

        As for 640x480, I don't know when I was last in that mode, I'd call it an obscure problem getting stuck in it, but you can get out of it holding down the ALT button though I admit that's not obvious for someone coming from Windows. I'm guessing StellaX switched resolution to 640x480, then it crashed and left you in a 640x480 desktop? I know the problem from other games, it's again that wine isn't working like a native application so the original resolution won't be restored in case of the application crashing and taking wine with it. So really this problem also traces back to wine.

        Sure, it's not perfect. But you're constantly finding fault running Windows applications under Linux, not Linux applications under Linux. Personally I've found that the answer is more Linux, but I guess you never reached that tipping point. Windows applications are the square peg with Linux being a round hole, and wine is the hammer. Sometimes it works but it never fits well. It's a learning curve but except gaming I've found that there's usually an equivalent Linux application that's good enough for my purposes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rennt (582550)

        - Connect to my ISP (the software connects and then crashes before I type my password)
        - Run my ISP's web accelerator software (simply doesn't run)

        Oh my! 1998 called, they want their AOL CD's back.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:17PM (#29499457) Homepage

    Slashdotters like to jump at it and go "cool, does that mean I can hack on it like my toaster?". They in marketing probably have absolutely no interest in that, they want to sell an appliance. Whether it's running Linux or BSD or WinCE or whatever else embedded OS, that's not what they want to talk about. That's not what they want the marketing message to be. They don't want people thinking of it as a computer in drag because computers are complex and their device is easy and user friendly. Funny how a marketing director might want to focus on features and not the internals of the OS running the thing. So it runs Linux, great. Could we get back to telling you why this is a product people will want?

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      After listening to the features, I would then ask, "Does it run Ogg Vorbis (or favorite other feature)? No? It has Linux, so some genius hacker can create a plugin that will run it? Yes, cool, I'm there." Another question I have: "Does it have WiFi and I would be able to listen to whatever Internet radio station I want from Yahoo's Launch to Shoutcast to Pandora, etc?"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crazybilly (947714)
        I'd ask the same questions. But in my day job in marketing, I know the OP is right--the marketing guy is trying to keep the conversation focused on the message for the AVERAGE consumer, not the nonaverage consumers like you and me. He's trying to communicate the product's core benefits to the customer, not features or specs, or what you're asking for: fringe benefits that may or may not be...er...beneficial.

        His job is to brand this thing as a lets-you-do-cool-stuff-and-makes-you-feel-good box or whatever,

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbcad7 (771464)
      Actually in this case, we are talking about a device that has a touch screen UI and connects to the internet for internet raido.. it's not exactly the toaster scenario. I think it's a relevant question to ask and poorly handled by the marketing director. In marketing any device that has some technology behind it, you have choices.. You can supply specs when asked, or treat everyone like morons and say "it's magic".. to downplay a technology used in your device when asked, doesn't come across as confident in
  • by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:21PM (#29499499) Journal

    But he's right. Linux is really nerdy from a marketing perspective. It comes off sounding inaccessible and just... well... the bad type of geeky.

    The problem is that it's generally connected to Linux users.

  • Stigma (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:22PM (#29499513) Homepage Journal
    "Free" have a commercial stigma, specially if you put all meanings in that word.
    • by Ynot_82 (1023749)

      "Free" may do,
      but "open source" seems (in my (limited) experience, anyway) to have the opposite effect.
      People using the phrase to describe positive changes in systems well outside of the computing field.

      Open source government
      Open source business procedures
      Open source voting
      Etc.
      Etc.

      I've seen the phrase used to describe anything that's purposefully transparent in it's operation.
      Transparent for the reassurance of a fair procedure, with no hidden motive or agenda
      Transparent for the purposes of encouraging const

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:25PM (#29499531)

    no no... dont mention the war!!!!!!

    --john cleese

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by grcumb (781340)

      no no... dont mention the war!!!!!!

      --john cleese

      What, you mean this war [linux-watch.com]?

      (Sorry, couldn't resist, and yes, it's perfectly SFW)

  • To most consumers and end users linux is at worst something they have no clue about other than hearing that "hackers" use it, and at best is something they were goaded into trying once but at the moment a problem occurred they found they had no help and had to either ditch the computer for a new one (you wouldn't believe how many customers I get insisting their computers are irreparably broken when its simply a boot problem) or pay what they feel are excessive amounts to get some tech to reinstall windows o

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      Car analogy time:

      "My car won't turn/stay on, it's broken."

      Mechanic: "Well the battery wire came loose." (or something simple like that.)

      Do you expect all consumers to know computers as well as we do? Because if I was as good with cars as I am with computers I'd save a load on car repairs.

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:47PM (#29499707)

    Advertising "it's got Linux" is as stupid as those bank ads I kept seeing a couple years ago boasting that their new website was using Java on the backend or something. As an end-user consumer, I don't fucking care. Does your product work reliably? Does it provide me with some service I need? Is it easy to use? That's what I care about, not some mostly irrelevant technical detail of its implementation.

  • Fighting "The Man" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daveofnf (766994)

    If you are a normal consumer and you see a penguin on a product, you probably won't know what it's all about. The same person will almost certainly know the Windows logo. That's enough to make people gravitate towards what they know. People are afraid of the unknown.

    Linux has hundreds of flavors (or spins or whatever) and no body advertising how great it is. So the popularity of Linux and related devices will be up to large marketing departments (mostly in Redmond). As much as I hate to say it, Linux doesn'

  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:58PM (#29499793)
    See this. [pollycoke.net] Enough said.
  • GNU/Linux (Score:3, Informative)

    by syousef (465911) on Monday September 21, 2009 @10:59PM (#29499797) Journal

    That's okay. Stallman says it's GNU/Linux, but I'm sure he'd be happy if you dropped the Linux part ;-) So just tell people you're building a GNU radio. Brand GNU.

  • If it ran Windows do you think he would be showing off about that? Most people don't care what OS products like this use. The company probably wants to differentiate their product from a computer.

  • No nock to Linux since I think it's a great OS, but I get the impression that this maketing exec thinks it has a 'home built' sort of stigma attached to it. It's actually a primary Linux strength, but I have to wonder if this guy is getting marketing feedback that Linux has a bad rep with common consumers or if it's just based on his personal opinion (informed or not).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by snaz555 (903274)

      No nock to Linux since I think it's a great OS, but I get the impression that this maketing exec thinks it has a 'home built' sort of stigma attached to it.

      No, he doesn't want to mention it because it detracts from his message. The fact that it runs Linux is irrelevant; that's not a selling point but merely an implementation detail. I work with embedded Linux devices - TVs and Blu-Ray players currently - and the fact that they run Linux is about as relevant as who made the chips or which factory assembled the boards. The people who buy these devices care about what they do, not how they do it; discussing the how part is totally irrelevant. If you try to s

  • I know this won't be popular at /., but I think most people around here would take a phone that "worked" but used non-Linux (OS/2, MVS or VMS). I can't imagine too many slashdotters that would say, "This phone reboots twice a day and the battery life stinks, but it runs linux so they can pry it outta my cold dead hands.

    Yeesh, I just want a phone that has good battery life, 3G, call clarity etc etc. I don't care what OS it runs. Hell, if they said it ran Banana-OS, as long as it worked, who cares. It's a

  • Many commercially successful products use Linux. Tivo anyone? Why wouldn't anyone want to identify themselves with Linux, unless there's a commercial tie-in with a competitor (Apple or Microsoft)?

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Monday September 21, 2009 @11:38PM (#29500013)

    Okay, I know it doesn't really mean the device is hard to use, but there is certainly that perception for a consumer. The last embedded commercial product I worked on was Linux based (on a little ARM system) and it was just great. But we didn't tell people it was Linux unless they specifically asked or bothered to dig through the manual.

    'It runs Linux' means:

        - Apple people sneer, but they'd buy an iPod anyhow so it's not a huge loss.
        - My dad sees 'Linux' and thinks 'Oh my god, Linux was so confusing I guess I'll just get an iPod instead'.
        - Normal people see 'Linux' and think they'll need to crack the password in 72-bit font like mad haxxors every time they want to use it.
        - Nerds go 'ooooooooh.' This is the one group for which it is a good thing. But also a small group.
        - GNU people think 'Why doesn't this just boot into root shell? Corporate evil!' Seriously, we had one guy who pestered tech support for months claiming GPL meant we had to tell him the root password. Why did we stop giving everyone root? Because they screw it up and RMA the thing.

    And honestly I have bad UI associations with Linux too, the same way I do with Windows CE. Just the thought of my MP3 player booting into Gnome or something like Gimp is enough to give me the hives, even though rationally I know an embedded device is more likely to be running something like PegUI or Qt Embedded. Or even totally custom, but that usually also means bad, because people who build their own UIs from scratch almost never have any idea what they're doing.

    The bottom line is that even though I love embedded Linux I just don't see that there's a commercial advantage (and there is plenty of disadvantage) to letting people know it runs Linux unless being a cheap open device is one of your primary selling points. If they did their job right you will never know what OS the thing is running. The nerds will find out anyhow (see the Kindle). Only the crusaders crave the validation.

  • do it and you get visited by the MS MiB and so do your customers.

    LoB
  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @12:14AM (#29500275) Homepage
    I've worked for years for a wide variety of companies who, quite often, are Linux on the backend and Windows on the desktops. True to form Developers, Sales Personnel and C level exec's see Linux as a plus, but the Marketing types don't. So often do I see this that I use it to actually tell if a persons role in a company is Marketing. I'm not using this as an anti-marketing post either. It's just what I see. Linux isn't a marketable term for them. Nor is Windows. It seems that unless the OS is the draw on the product (as in "Now with Windows 7" or "The latest Android based SmartPhone") no one is willing to mention the OS as a marketing point. Fact, yes, marketing point no. In all due honesty it seems that outside of a narrow band of consumer products (laptops/desktops or Android Phones) the underlying OS has little or no value in the marketing of a product. You don't buy an iPhone because it runs OSX you buy it because "There's an app for that". Honestly. How many of you know what OS your phone/TV/DVR etc run unless it's a DVR you built or an Android phone most wouldn't. Features sell, OS's rarely do. Heck even Jobs was loath to admit that OSX was a Unix for a long time, even so, people expect the OSX environment, but they buy MAC for a lot of reasons, little having to do with the OS itself.

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.

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