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Is Linux Publicity Targeting the Right Market? - page 2

The "Average" User Wants a Machine

  • August 23, 2010
  • By Emery Fletcher

Here's another way to look at the marketing of Linux. For years people used to compare computer systems to cars: Apple was a sleek, spectacular sports car, fast and beautiful and hideously expensive; Windows was a family minivan (sometimes a bus), ungainly but practical and less costly; and Linux was a truck, not quite so comfortable to drive but capable of carrying anything, running endlessly, and doing it all for free. The truck analogy holds, in a way, for marketing: someone who is looking for a truck is a lot more likely to ask about what it's made of than someone who just wants to get the kids to school.

And the point of all this? I really think that the way Linux has been marketed up to this point ��� or not marketed at all, as some would say ��� has been overwhelmingly successful. There is no IT professional who is not aware of Linux; there is no geek, no nerd, no Apple fanboi or Windows stalwart who is not aware of the existence and general character of Linux; and there is no one who has the slightest interest in how a computer works, however little he or she dares to explore it in practice, who has not at least heard of Linux.

Linux, remember, is a kernel, not an operating system; distros are operating systems, not computers; the greater public can't use the kernel without the distro or the distro without the computer. If Linux is to fulfill the optimistic prophesy of Linux World Domination that Eric S. Raymond offered in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, it will do it anonymously, as the unsung, unnoticed driving force behind an army of popular, efficient, inexpensive consumer devices. And right now, it looks like they're on the way.

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