[Linux-aus] Should we change? Yes. To change is to grow.

Paul Gear paul at libertysys.com.au
Tue May 1 08:39:16 EST 2012

On 30/04/12 14:19, Stewart Smith wrote:
> ...
> While we all now have friends and family that recognise "free
> software" as a thing, how much does the rest of the world? Is
> sacrificing the word Linux in the organisation name going to sacrifice
> the (possibly) little recognition we have from the broader community? 

Thanks for bringing this up, Stewart.

This is the point that has been bothering me through this discussion:
are we doing this for the benefit of ourselves feeling comfortable about
the name, or are we doing it for the benefit of outsiders?  If the
latter, are we doing it for the benefit of /knowledgeable/ outsiders, or
/ignorant/ outsiders?

It seems to me that discussion on the drawbacks of the current name has
focused on /knowledgeable/ outsiders, but the primary purpose of a name
change should be improving the perception to /ignorant/ outsiders. (I'm
using ignorant here in the strict sense of the word - no pejorative
connotation intended.)  That is, the average person in the street who
uses his or her iPhone and thinks it's cool, and spares no thought for
the comprehensive digital surveillance that owning such a device
enables, nor for the developer lock-in it requires.

To such a person, the terms "F(L)OSS", "Free Software", "Software
Libre", "Open Source", and their derivatives are so vague as to be
meaningless, despite the fact that they're well-defined jargon to us. 
For such people, Linux is "that other OS which geeks use", and when they
hear about it they tend to associate it with people who are generally
more technically knowledgeable than the average person.  (IMO, this is
generally a positive association, as long as we are perceived as
well-mannered and humble geeks.)

If we're to win mindshare for technology freedom in the broader
community, i think Linux is actually the best naming platform on which
to stand, because Linux is a known brand and as it gains exposure, the
culture that gave birth to it and the licenses under which its
components are released gain mindshare.

Of course, all this could be done with an overall governing body of a
different name and a brand name of Linux Australia (that's something
i'll leave to those more qualified), but if we sacrifice it as our
/primary/ brand, we'll be cutting off our nose to spite our face.


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/attachments/20120501/4e5ec374/attachment.htm 
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: paul.vcf
Type: text/x-vcard
Size: 203 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/attachments/20120501/4e5ec374/attachment.vcf 

More information about the linux-aus mailing list