Blog Post

RE: Heal thy self

This post is in reply to the Novell, Heal Thy Self post on Lobby4Linux.com.

First off I would like to say that the note he made to openSUSE is very well respected and I stand behind that same thought. Adversity has made them stronger and for that I am proud to be in the same Linux community!

However, where I have to disagree now is with the comments to Novell concerning them having a hurt bottom line by the Linux community due to the ever-so-famous Novell/Microsoft deal. Lobby4Linux provides an the following answer to “You want to fix that quickly?

Stop acting like a second string player and be the starter we all know you are. Get some media exposure. I don’t mean another server ad in the Wall Street Journal. I mean television and radio ads. I mean talk to America…not Geek America, the Real America. The ones that watch commercials between Extreme Home Makeover and Desperate Housewives. Do you have a clue how many people Don’t Have A Clue? I mean as to having a choice in how they operate a computer.

Novell and openSUSE are two different entities with two different goals. Novell provides the curb appeal to the the Enterprise while openSUSE provides solutions for the desktop. He states that Novell should talk to “America”, not the “Geek America”, but the “Real America”. Novell doesn’t target real America, and the people whom you claim are watching the commercials between Extreme Home Makeover and Desperate Housewives have a name that Hillary Clinton dubbed in the 90’s, Soccer Moms. Why would Novell send a commercial to Soccer Moms, or rather “Real America” when its main goals are to push the Enterprise Desktop and the Enterprise Server. Can you tell me where that fits in with the average household?

Look, I now work in a hyper-busy tech support business. 70 percent of the calls about computer malfunction are due to spyware and virus antispyware issues. Are you hearing this? They are complaining that the software they bought in order for the software they’ve already purchased isn’t working or is fouling up thier computers.
what kind of crap is that? They are purchasing software so that the software they’ve already bought will work. You have the answer to that problem right in the palm of your hand. Why haven’t you mortgaged the farm to advertise the obvious answer to their problem.

Once again, I don’t think this should target Novell, but more along the lines of the Linux community. We all know that to the average desktop user that spyware and viruses are a big problem. But Novell putting out commercials to “Real America” isn’t going to fix this. The products that Novell creates is not for “Real America” it is for “Enterprise America.” Enterprise America already knows what is available and don’t need the commercials to push it during primetime anymore. That is why you don’t see the IBM and Linux commercials anymore, who was watching them was “Real America” and “Real America” did a huge “WTF?”

It would be great to see more publicity for Linux as a solid desktop replacement, but what Novell is doing with their money is spending it on development purposes in order to create a better product. Red Hat is/has been doing the same, as well as IBM. What Linux needs is some solid grassroots loving, and if you are in the right area, guerrilla marketing stands a chance. Maybe it is time we quit thinking that money should be used for putting Linux on TV, and start thinking about how we can raise money to support those projects in which are pushing for freedom and to make a better product. Oh, and lets not forget the TiVo market which has been gaining popularity, a good percentage of “Real America” can now fast forward through the commercials.

Edit 1: Oh, and let’s not forget that there is a whole other world out there besides America.
Edit 2: Please refer to this Novell Financial chart from Yahoo. Please notice the spike and the increase since November of 2006, the time frame of the Novell/Microsoft deal. The writer at lobby4linux says that this deal hurt their bottom line, yet Novell’s profits and increased margins prove otherwise. Seems like a very uneducated or not well-thought-out post now.

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  • Asker

    Well said! Just because you have a goal (in this case to get linux to the masses) doesn’t mean that an organization like Novel shares those goals, and even if they do, they may have their own way of getting from A to B.

  • Ya, there is no doubt that the person who wrote this for lobby4linux was on the right track, but maybe a little confused or misinformed. I know the marketing plan and agenda behind Novell a little bit as I had the chance to study it and dig in to what they would give me for a class project for my business studies. Don’t get me wrong, Novell does care, but just not the way we care. Novell knows where the money lies and that is within their product and support. The product is tailored to the Enterprise as well as the support. So having a Linux commercial for “Real America” doesn’t do anything for Novell. Plus you have to realize that Novell’s bottom line is also pumped full of Microsoft. It seems people tend to forget that Novell makes a majority of its money on the Netware product which runs on Windows. They could sit there and tell the world “Linux this and Linux that” but they have to mean it, and Novell doesn’t. That is Novell as a corporation and not Novell as the Linux Developers.

    I will agree that people do need to be made aware of their choices and that Linux is a viable choice, however we (community contributors from which Linux is built from) shouldn’t point fingers at a company who a) has money and b) has a Linux product. You are definitely correct with the different route between point A and point B, and the consumer market is nowhere in between, thankfully or unfortunately, i will leave that to the experts.

  • Oh, plus I would love to see where this deal with Microsoft and the shunning by the Linux community hurt their bottom line. If you look at http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=NOVL&t=6m you will see their networth on a steady rise. So I believe the writer wasn’t only misinformed, but created FUD or falsities in order to make him/her self sound good. I don’t like that style of writing, and I don’t think it is fair to the community to read this. I hate the fact now that lxer.com even published it.

  • Weeber

    Even if who wrote this on lobby4linux was misinformed he is right on his points.
    “The ones that watch commercials between Extreme Home Makeover and Desperate Housewives. Do you have a clue how many people Don’t Have A Clue? *I mean as to having a choice in how they operate a computer.*”

    I bet that of 20 people that try linux one stays (at least) the problem is to reach those 20 people, with ads and marketing that task will be easier. If you don’t understand the power of a good marketing campaign or of ads itself then you don’t understand how Google became so powerful in this years, and neither understand the TV or Radio ecosystem, they’re means for the marketing and they work (if you know how to use it).

    The iPod is a great product, but it wouldn’t be what it is today without that aggressive marketing campaign that Apple can afford and that applies to ubuntu too. Without ‘word of mouth’ Ubuntu wouldn’t be at the position that it is today, and that friend of mine is marketing. Just think how big ubuntu would be if Canonical could afford the marketing campaign that Apple does?

    If the people know you the market take you seriously.

  • What is wrong with suggesting Novel use their money / Linux savvy to inform soccer moms ? What is wrong in suggesting they occasionally or frequently derive from the business plan, marketing plan, target audience and other corporate goals ?

    I think Novel should do just that, talk to the Real America. Why ? Because they can!

  • Nothing is wrong with Novell doing that, but that isn’t in Novell’s best interest either. Now when it comes to deriving from a business plan, marketing planet, or financial plan, you have to be careful, once again always looking out for your best interest.

    If you can provide a better answer than “because they can” to why Novell should “talk to real America” then I am all ears. Real America is unfortunately not in Novell’s best interest. Novell doesn’t make money from selling one desktop operating system, instead they make their money with their site license/support deals.

  • Zexy

    Lobby4Linux…these are the same group that basically tried a very flawed assault on many forums/boards trying to get Linux users to cough up $$$ for the Tux500 project. I call it “flawed” because they went around to various forums/boards and more or less demeaned and verbally assaulted people who didn’t agree with thier poor marketing attempt. Many people told them it wasn’t the right venue for Linux advertising, that there we re many other more worthwhile ways to go about it…and that they would probably cost less money than the Tux500 event.

    I can’t respect any organization who uses heavy-handed tactics to try and persuade you to thier way of thinking. That’s just plain bad advertising and it usually has little to no chance of success. They are no better than Microsoft and how many of us really enjoy M$’ assualt on free/opensource software. I would venture to guess no many of us.

  • Ha, good points all. Novell, Microsoft, and others all have their own agenda. That’s to be assumed and it’s not a bad thing. It’s just life. Just like street-level efforts like OpenSuSE and Fedora have their own agendas.

    Let’s see how the Microsoft deals play out..


    Dustin Puryear
    Author, Best Practices for Managing Linux and UNIX Servers
    http://www.puryear-it.com

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