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Operating Systems Linux

The 'Linux Inside' Stigma 366

Posted by Soulskill
from the someday-they'll-even-come-up-with-a-linux-phone dept.
New submitter dtschmitz highlights the success of the Google Chromebook to underscore what, in his view, is a serious Linux brand image problem. "It's remarkable how Google doesn't mention the word Linux anywhere in their marketing of the Google Chromebook. I mean, it's running the Linux Kernel, so shouldn't it be Google Linux instead of ChromeOS? Why did Google carefully avoid references to Linux? It's all a very carefully crafted, well executed plan of elegant branding and image making. ... The profile of this user is that of someone who really doesn't care anything about the technical underpinnings of a device. They are not sophisticated technophiles by any means. They have a set number of things which they wish to do--recreational surfing, banking, email, an occasional letter, not complicated. ... Google didn't mention Linux because they know it will scare buyers away. That's unfortunate, but true. And we need to come to terms with that fact and work towards improving the 'Linux Inside' brand image.
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The 'Linux Inside' Stigma

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  • Easy to answer. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @03:11PM (#43371439)

    Because "linux" is toxic to 90% of the population out there.

    "Windows" is the status quo, "mac" is sexy, and "linux" is that ugly fat guy in IT who smells bad and makes you change your passwords every other day.

    Google is right to avoid "linux" like the plague.

  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @03:19PM (#43371551)

    And we need to come to terms with that fact and work towards improving the 'Linux Inside' brand image.

    Why? Linux has been cruising along for a long time getting better and better, running in more and more places, first conquering servers, enveloping embedded devices, devouring the mobile phone market place, spreading into tablets, etc. It's at the core of VMware, Android, ChromeOS, and devices both on earth and in space.

    So, again, why? So teenagers will use it? Choosy Moms will choose it over Jiff?

    The brand image of Linux right now is: get shit done. well. Oh, and also do whatever you want with it.

    What people like OP need to come to terms with is the fact that Linux is successful in spite of marketing.

  • by SIGBUS (8236) on Friday April 05, 2013 @03:26PM (#43371647) Homepage

    That's at least part of the story. Note how the rare attempts at selling prebuilt Linux PCs, such as the early netbooks, have tended to have oddball custom Linux distros (Linpus? WTF?) instead of, let's say, Debian, Ubuntu, or even a RHEL clone. My cynical side says that this was done on purpose as a way of discrediting Linux in the eyes of the general population.

    A more recent thing that doesn't help matters is the new X11 vs. Wayland vs. Mir kerfluffle. Considering how often I use X11 forwarding over SSH, I'm not looking forward to Wayland or Mir.

    Both good and bad: the multitude of desktop environments. As unhappy as I am with GNOME 3 and Unity, at least there are others I can fall back on. Still, I think that Ubuntu's default of sending local search results to Amazon by default is toxic.

  • Re:Easy to answer. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by synapse7 (1075571) on Friday April 05, 2013 @03:42PM (#43371811)
    I bet 98% of the population doesn't know what linux is. How would google even market that?
  • Re:Easy to answer. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Friday April 05, 2013 @03:43PM (#43371833)
    Not to mention the phrase "Linux Inside" is linguistic shit. Certain sounds work together and sound harmonious, and others don't. "Intel Inside" is alliterative and rolls off the tongue. Same with "ChromeOS".

    I'll probably get downmodded into oblivion for saying that people in marketing are something other than soulless demons, but names that sound pleasing really do sell better. And Linux is not one of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:12PM (#43372201)

    I don't necessarily agree. Examples of marketing terms used to promote computers/smartphones that I'm sure 98% of consumers have no idea what they are:
    Intel Core i7
    WiFi b/g/n
    5MHz spectrum

    Linux does have a branding problem and it does need something on top of it to make it a true consumer product (I don't think anyone can argue anything else non-dogmatic standpoint) . I would not be surprised if Ubuntu start shying away from the Linux brand as well in order to increase public awareness.

  • Re:Easy to answer. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oGMo (379) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:40PM (#43372515)

    Exactly why this is another troll piece. There is no evidence of "stigma" ... Linux has never had stigma attached, except maybe in the minds of Microsoft management. When has "Linux" and been "a mark or token of infamy, disgrace, or reproach"?

    As a counterexample, Steam just got released for Linux and they had a big fanfare and sale. Where's the stigma?

    There is no grand conspiracy to hide the fact it's Linux; Linux is already everywhere and it doesn't need marketing. It's cool that way.

  • by greenfruitsalad (2008354) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:55PM (#43372749)

    unfortunately, i have to agree here for 2 simple reasons:

    1. thanks to half-baked crap like Linpus Linux that was only put on Acer REVOs so that people can install their own pirated version of Windows afterwards, I personally know at least 3 people who got burned by it and would never even consider buying anything with Tux on it. (The version that was on Acer Aspire One netbook was kind of all-rightish though.)

    2. thanks to Acer and Asus (and later also Dell/Lenovo), only the shittiest of shitty hardware was ever sold with GNU/Linux on it and that is how people remember GNU/Linux computers. The squeaky plasticky computers that lasted 42.5 minutes on a single charge, had unresponsive touchpad the size of a coin and took 50 seconds to open a Word document.

    Thank you Acer/Asus. If you two were people, I'd run you over with a car.

  • by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [egdesuorbenet]> on Friday April 05, 2013 @06:04PM (#43373501)

    It's not because we want it to be difficult. It's that we want it to be useful. If you keep on bumping up your feature count, you will eventually get to a point where what you have done is create a bad programming language (all programming languages are bad programming languages, but it goes double for GUI-based ones).

    Programming is more or less the ultimate tool for telling a computer what to do. It is also more or less directly opposed to simplicity. Linux is optimized for utility. You can use it to create a simple interface to the computer, at which point we generally stop calling it Linux [], but you cannot simultaneously optimize in two opposite directions. You cannot build a computer appliance using the tools contained within that appliance.

    Designing interfaces is all about managing complexity. Most linux distributions opt for more complexity/utility rather than less. There is some complexity for complexity's sake, and some complexity for historical reasons, but utility is the driving force. And Linux users will get very upset at anything that detracts from that utility, as seen in (among other flamewars) the Wayland vs X11 debates.

  • by cptdondo (59460) on Friday April 05, 2013 @06:20PM (#43373649) Journal

    Well, I can only go by my family. We use computers, mostly for email and web browsing. My kids use googledocs in school. When their desktop died, I got a cheap laptop with Windows 8 for them. After a couple of weeks, I see my daughter using my wife's computer. So I asked "Why?" Turns out she can't use windows 8, hates the interface, and wants something that works.

    One Xubuntu CD later, she has a working laptop that now gets used all the time, and it "just works".

    Most people *don't care* what's inside. They just want it to be a part of the background so they can browse, do their stuff, and surf the web.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.