h1

Rebranding? Not for me.

August 6, 2007

Just my response to recent post on the Ubuntu Planet:

At Tristan’s post about unifying the Ubuntu name, I would have to disagree. First, rebranding a release feels a lot like reinventing the wheel. I have seen phone companies and banks merge and spend a lot of time and resources saying “A is now the new B” or something foolish. There seems to be much more use for our time. Second, I don’t think of Ubuntu and the Desktop Environment of anything like that. Ubuntu to me is the Ubuntu project, it includes the art, the community, the teams, the packages etc. To a lesser extent it includes the DE. When I first started with Ubuntu, I hated the look and feel of it (before I found the KDE packages :) ) and wanted to switch to something different but I got some great help online and people helped me through my problems. That to me is what Ubuntu is all about, not the naming. Third, the idea of Ubuntu with KDE or Ubuntu with Xfce doesn’t make sense to me; after all there is no Ubuntu GNOME (one could make the argument that since its the default there is no need to specify.) Fourthly, Kubuntu has a meaning, just like Ubuntu. Kubuntu means “toward humanity” if I recall correctly, which I think a lot of people like in the same way we talk about “I am who I am because of who we all are.” Lastly, I think there is enough work to do when advocating Ubuntu to someone. People ask what is Linux, what KDE, what is Ubuntu, why is this better, and having Ubuntu with Xfce seems to be counter productive (and longwinded) when we could just say Xubuntu.

Now back to work. Lunch break is over and one of the guys who works in the next room reads the Planet so I can’t be slacking. :)

About these ads

17 comments

  1. While I agree with your first point, re-branding is time consuming, I have to disagree with the rest of your arguments.

    While you may not think of the Ubuntu project and the Desktop Environment as inseparably linked, I’m sure it would be harder to convince those that are new Linux. The concept of the window manager being separate from the Operating System as a whole is fairly unique to Linux. Or at least very different from Windows, from where most converts come.

    Though Kubuntu does indeed mean “towards humanity” it is not exactly the point. That meaning is terribly obscure (I had never heard of it in my 8 months using and being involved with Ubuntu). The point of calling it “Ubuntu with KDE” is to emphasize, mainly to those that are new to the Ubuntu project, that it is in fact part of the same project, just with a different look.

    In regards to your final point, saying that it makes things wordier, what happens when you tell someone about Xubuntu for the first time?

    Person A: “well, you know Ubuntu? Well this is Xubuntu, you should give it a try!”
    Person B: “What’s Xubuntu?”
    Person A: “Well, its Ubuntu with Xfce.”

    Wouldn’t it it just be easier to start with, “This is Ubuntu with Xfce”?

    I understand the reluctance to make change, its been working this long, so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The problem is that there has to be a first time for everything. If as a community we are serious about making Linux easy for your average computer user to get a handle on, we’re going to have to use plain English where plain English will do!


  2. > If as a community we are serious about making Linux easy for
    > your average computer user to get a handle on, we’re going to
    > have to use plain English where plain English will do!

    You bring up a good point: how can you translate Ubuntu School Edition or something like that? In Spanish, it would be something like La edicion de Ubuntu para esculas. edubuntu works just as well.


  3. It’s silly to generalise a re-branding effort as a waste of time. After all, no one would argue that branding and good media skills can be incredibly important for a project’s success.

    If you’re arguing “Ubuntu’s brand ain’t broken, why fix it?” then please provide us with some details to back this. Do you feel like the various Ubuntu flavors receive a lot or enough publicity based on their branding? If not, at least provide an alternative.


  4. I also wish people wouldn’t submit articles to Planet in their lunch break. There’s really not that much energy put into this and it shows.


  5. When I said “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” I was referring to the mentality within many projects, whether they be open source or not. Such projects get into a groupthink mentality that leads them to conclude that the way things currently are is the best they will ever be.

    My argument was that having very specific names for the different official Ubuntu distros (Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu) only hurts those projects public image. If they were more strongly associated with the Ubuntu image, I feel they would receive more attention. This is because you hear of Ubuntu’s deal with Dell, not Kubuntu’s. If you were to call Kubuntu, Ubuntu with KDE (or something similar), it would be much clearer to new comers.

    At Freddy (that is the right terminology right? I don’t mean to be rude), while I appreciate that Ubuntu Education Edition isn’t quite as short in Spanish, or I’m sure in many languages, it doesn’t detract from the argument that the meaning is clearer. This is just my personal feeling, but I’d rather take the time to type in a few extra words and more precisely convey my meaning.


  6. ^^^ Sorry for the harshness, I just had a knee-jurk reaction to the lack of constructive criticism you gave Tristan, who obviously put a lot of thought into his post.

    Ironically, I should have waited a bit to put more thought into my own reply as well.


  7. Unfortunately, *buntu dilutes the Ubuntu Brand. Proof of this can be found on Digg and other sites where there are articles about Kubuntu where the information has nothing to do with KDE or Kubuntu’s specific package selection.

    Additionally, the whole *buntu issue is easy for YOU to understand because you’ve already done the mental leg work. To someone who hasn’t (think Windows user who expects things to be easy) it is confusing.

    Ultimately, when distributing on DVD becomes the norm , I don’t believe this will be such an issue because all versions would/should be selectable at install-time. Until then it remains confusing for newcomers and a turn-off for would-be switchers.


  8. [...] also agree with what Freddy says in his blog post as [...]


  9. >> It’s silly to generalise a re-branding effort as a waste of >> time.
    When we barely have enough people to put out the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter and translate it every week, yes it is a big waste. Why split the effort to market?

    >> If you’re arguing “Ubuntu’s brand ain’t broken, why fix
    >> it?” then please provide us with some details to back this.

    I have yet to see any proof that the branding is broken other than hypothetical situations about possible combinations.

    >> Do you feel like the various Ubuntu flavors receive a lot >> or enough publicity based on their branding?

    I do feel like they get enough time. I have been to a few conferences and everywhere I turned it was Xubuntu on people’s laptops. Most of the people in our LoCo use Kubuntu. I’ve had people flat out tell me Xubuntu was the best because of Xfce or that Feisty sucked because of the version of a package. I feel like I’ve heard just about everything *buntu-related but I’ve never heard a complaint about branding.

    >> At Freddy (that is the right terminology right? I don’t
    >> mean to be rude), while I appreciate that Ubuntu Education
    >> Edition isn’t quite as short in Spanish, or I’m sure in
    >> many languages, it doesn’t detract from the argument that
    >> the meaning is clearer.

    If clarity is the problem, then why use the term Ubuntu at all? (This is a border-line slippery slope argument I know.) Part of the reason Edubuntu works is that there is some mystery behind it still. What we have to realize is that the average person doesn’t know what Ubuntu is, or KDE, or an operating system (I’ve heard it called a processor on the train before). We can say Ubuntu with KDE but does that really make things clear to the average person?

    >> Proof of this can be found on Digg and other sites where
    >> there are articles about Kubuntu where the information has >> nothing to do with KDE or Kubuntu’s specific package
    >> selection.

    Somehow I doubt Digg is the end all be all on all technology related articles. The last time I was on Digg half the stories where links to pages about Anna Nichole Smith so I’ve learned to distrust it completely.

    >> Until then it remains confusing for newcomers and a
    >> turn-off for would-be switchers.

    I doubt it. If anything, its a turn on! People love choice.


  10. Why do so many people think naming and branding aren’t important enough to spend time on? Aside from the technology, branding is the SINGLE most important issue facing Linux and Ubuntu. Yes, it’s worth the time, and no, it isn’t too confusing and it isn’t foolish. Stop thinking like a geek and start thinking like a businessman (or businesswoman).


  11. Freddy I agree with you in the importance of the “community” but…

    Take a moment to think about this:

    We want to get rid the bug #1. We need to market the Ubuntu like a whole. The novice user don´t know why are differents distributions. The user don’t care about tecnical diferecies or why they should use one or another.

    You did a good point: is not a Ubuntu Gnome because the new user doesn’t care about gnome or kubuntu or xfce or any other option. They want to try Linux not Linux/GNU because they don`t know anything about. They want to use Ubuntu because is the distribution more used.

    If we market Ubuntu like one branch with a variety the option you can be sure we are to get more users in other flavour of gnome in a short time because they are going to use the best option.

    I have read diferents names but the names arent to importants because the important is the mesage and the options.

    PD: About the traslation remember that the names are not translates if fact Ubuntu is not a english word. or if you need a sample in spanish no one said Ventanas just use Windows


  12. [...] input regarding my last post about unifying the Ubuntu brand. You can also read more opinions on Freddy’s and Og’s [...]


  13. Hi.
    Good design, who make it?


  14. @ naisioxerloro

    The design of my blog? I’m not sure which design you are asking about.


  15. I’m a relatively new convert as a full-time Linux user, though I’ve been very interested in it for a long time. I even went out and bought a specific laptop that I tested beforehand to make sure it would be compatible with Linux. My previous one, with the dreaded broadcom wireless card, would never work wirelessly, in spite of trying every online tutorial and instruction I could find.

    Anyway, I’m with those who think the “Kubuntu, Edubuntu” names are quite silly and frankly confusing to the great majority of people. Instead of building a strong brand people are left wondering what exactly all those other boontoos are out there. Even though I know what they are, I still feel irritated seeing those strange names.

    I know of no other product anywhere in the world, anywhere on the market which takes this approach, and most likely for good reason.

    Would you buy a Trukford or a Carford? (Ford truck or car). Would you buy Lempledge (Lemon Pledge)? What about Orcrush? (Orange Crush)? How about Entervista (Vista Enterprise)?

    In fact anybody know the best place to let people at Canonical know how we feel about this?


  16. Loving the article and the design, you definitely have an intellectual flow and it’s what I need in a writer for my site download flash games, it’s going to be a winner for sure. Send an email if you’re down.


  17. Lindows brand was the ultimate kitten brand!

    Just goes to show you reinvent the wheel and you’ll get run over by a even bigger wheel.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: