[Linux-aus] Marketing Linux

Jon 'maddog' Hall maddog at li.org
Tue Apr 24 02:31:52 UTC 2007

On Tue, 2007-04-24 at 08:04 +1000, linuxaus.1.tracyanne at spamgourmet.com
> > o I agree with others on this list who have stated that guerrilla (e.g.
> > "word of mouth", "viral") marketing is the way to go.
> Word of mouth is a dismal failure. Desktop Linux is still a marginalised OS 
> and will continue to be, so long as word of mouth is the means of marketing 
> Linux, at very best, in my most optomistic assesment of he numbe of Desktop 
> Linux users, Desktop Linux has 5% of the market (this assesment is based on 
> the number of people I personally have moved to Desktop Linux, in the last 
> 5 years, multiplied by the Industry assesment of 1% and assuming the a large 
> proprtion of Linux users have a similar pool of hidden desktop Linux users.

And Apple, with 30 years in the market and huge amounts of paid
advertising, is still only 10% of the desktop market.  So your point?

Here is my point:

I just got back tonight from talking to a head honcho of an extremely
large Linux distribution who said that his company was seeing an upswing
of Linux on the desktop, with proposals (and installations) of 5,000 and
more at a time.  This will inspire various hardware manufacturers to
make Linux available pre-installed, which will increase its visibility
to the customer.

I have brought out six hardware/operating system combinations in my
life, and they all follow the same patterns, which Linux has been
following for the past thirteen years (since V1.0 of the kernel).

I think that Linux has been really successful on the desktop, given that
for most people it was only reasonably acceptable with the advent of
Open Office V2.0 and some other desktop tools.  And with few (some would
say "no") desktop vendors pre-installing it on their systems.  And that
the two main video card manufacturers (ATI and Nvidea) still do not have
FOSS drivers, which creates a pain for the average notebook user.  And
the fact that most salespeople like selling hardware that has lots of
high-margin software on top of it, not that "FOSS" stuff that generates
little or no additional (commissioned) sales.

Note that none of the mentioned problems will be solved by "Tux500".

So the fact that Linux is 5% of the desktop market is truly inspiring,
and I think it has to do with the undying efforts of people like the
ones in Linux Australia and their "word of mouth" campaigns.


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