[Linux-aus] linux-aus Digest, Vol 1, Issue 1500 lists.linux.org.au)
paul at justinandpaul.com
Sun Apr 22 23:59:53 UTC 2007
40 million Linux users simply cannot/will not fund advertising
penetration that *might* dent that of Microsoft, which last I knew had a
$US40B war-chest... in truth we can't even come close, not just in $$s
but in the collateral and momentum that Microsoft already has.
Instead we need to use what is now known as "guerilla marketing" which
seeks an outcome via unconventional means. (More on that below.)
Jeff Waugh wrote:
> Why do you see the existence of advertising as a benchmark for
> success? There are *some* markets for which advertising *some*
> Linux related products or services makes sense right now; but
> certainly not the general market, for Linux as an idea. In the
> case of this Indy 500 madness, you'd be promoting to a very
> particular market in a very general way. That is NOT USEFUL.
> Even though it doesn't tickle your "mass market" buttons, we
> achieve vastly more, *every year*, with linux.conf.au. Not to
> mention all the actual work being done on our software...
I agree wholeheartedly with Jeff. As a senior exec in the IT world for
many years I can tell you that advertising and PR require *many*
repeated touches to work - more than a year of continuous effort to
build momentum before you see significant results.
In this regard I have to say that Linux Australia has been doing a great
job with a result (article, editorial, etc.) every month or so. Not bad
for a part-time after hours "hobby" (i.e., not a Real Job(tm) :-P)
And to be fair, advertising and PR for Linux is quite pervasive... it
just doesn't necessarily specifically target the desktop or appear on TV
during Home and Away. Linux on servers is doing very well as I recall.
I also agree with many writers that the Indy 500 campaign has very
limited appeal - it doesn't reach much of the 6 billion people on the
planet. As a certified generationally-enhanced genetically-predisposed
Petrol Head(tm) I can tell you I do *NOT* watch the Indy :-) Formula 1,
WRC, etc. etc... but not Indy.
I also think we can promote a more positive, global and community
improving image for Linux.
So what could we do instead with $US350,000??
We could *pay* contractors to help a large number of charities,
not-for-profits and schools all over the world switch over to Linux on
We could *donate* that much equipment with Linux pre-loaded by
volunteers to schools, charities, not-for-profits AND probably have it
generously discounted/donated to by HP, IBM or Dell WITH the
concommittant "good corporate citizen" *global* advertising and PR clout
of the donor!
And so on...in short I can think of many ways to spend that much money
that would also count as *good works* focussed on improving the human
condition instead of burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible to go
around in circles :-) Those good works would surely generate much PR
globally with minimal effort as everyone likes a feel-good story.
In this I was inspired by two friends who over a weekend some years ago
took two old 386's and turned them into Linux email servers. They
optimised an email link so that a major charity (name escapes me now)
was able to run email via satellite phone from Dili in East Timor to
Darwin. The result? Every charity and NGO in Dili at that time would
ask to send email from their system because it was the most reliable way
to communicate - even the United Nations folks!
That charity was subsequently convinced to make Open Source a policy for
all internal IT use AND the focus of all IT-related activities in
disadvantaged countries. The rationale for this was that Linux can make
old computers usable and frees funds so that:
* the charity has more funds available for their projects, which
further supports their primary goal of making sure a greater
percentage of donations to their charity reach recipients
* developing nations are freed from the burden of paying for
proprietary software thus enabling them to put the money
towards more useful projects.
All jokes aside, I truly feel that we can let the Americans pay for the
Indy deal if they wish. In Australia I'd like to see how much we could
raise additional funds for Linux Australia's grants scheme and a PR
campaign to encourage applicants for same to do good works in their
To me this is the true nature of open source - a privileged community
helping disadvantaged communities all over the world.
Warmest regards to all,
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