Blog Post

Ubuntu'nification

I didn’t want to partake really in this discussion that has been going on, because I remember it occurring a couple of times in the past couple of years with no end result.

My stance, I don’t think it is necessary to unify the names under the Ubuntu Desktop. It seems a large motive that I have seen so far is to answer the question of “What is Kubuntu?” or “What is Xubuntu?”. The examples I have been seeing are similar to this:

User 1:What is Kubuntu?
User 2:It is Ubuntu with KDE.

or if you are me:
ME:Kubuntu is a Linux distribution that utilizes the K Desktop Environment and has a strong base on the number one distribution Ubuntu, of which is created from the greatest Linux distribution ever. Then I go on to explain KDE a little bit.

Now, lets go ahead and unify the name as the Ubuntu Desktop with KDE.

User 1:What is Ubuntu with KDE?
or
User 1:What is Ubuntu and what is KDE?

whoa whoa! We are still getting a question (or questions) that has to be answered the same.

Now, get rid of the questions in whole. Today people use this wonderful tool called the Internet and tend to research before the buy. In our world, they research before they download and install. I don’t know about the rest of the world honestly, but what I do know is marketing in the United States. And the people living here can pretty much all agree that branding is what drives our market. Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Microsoft, IBM, Ford, Motorola and the list goes one. All names everyone pretty much in the world are familiar with. Now imagine Coca Cola unifying their product line as just Coca Cola. No more A&W Root Beer, now you have Coca Cola with Root Beer flavoring. Kind of ridiculous in a way. Now for all of you Jaguar fans, what if Ford decides they want to rename them to the Ford Jaguar X whatever. People who are die-hard Jaguar fans for one aren’t going to go for it. But then again that brings in the old Chevy is better than Ford and so on.

So even if we unify the name, the questions that were asked in the examples, are still going to be asked. By unifying the names as the Ubuntu Desktop with (insert DE here), you are one assuming that the Ubuntu brand is known by everyone, which unfortunately at this time, it isn’t. Even if you start out by saying “Try Ubuntu with Xfce” now you of being be posed with 2 questions, instead of just 1. Now the multi-CD release that would be needed to carry out what openSUSE and Fedora does isn’t all that logical either, seeing that the Ubuntu project is currently comprised of 4 different projects. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu, all which have somewhat created their own branding in the past couple of years. Asking the smaller projects to unify is almost like stripping them of what they have created in a way. So because of this I understand Freddy’s stance in a way. Og and Tristan also have powerful stances for the unification as well.

We have Live CDs for a reason, and that is so users can get a taste of what each distribution has to offer. With all of the reviews out there about the good and bad of each distribution, and assuming that new users do their homework and study each before installing, there really shouldn’t be that “What is Ubuntu?” or “What is KDE?”. Are these questions asked first of all? I have only been asked one time. That was the first Ubuntu Chicago meeting. We gathered out front of Buffalo Wild Wings for a group photo and asked someone on the street to take the picture. Afterwords we offered the guy who took our picture an Ubuntu CD. And the first words out of his mouth weren’t “What is Ubuntu?” but rather “Cool! I will listen to this on the way home!” HEHE, I still get a chuckle out of it, but after explaining it wasn’t a music CD, he then asked what it was. So far, from all of the LoCo team news I have read and even the Canonical and Ubuntu news, all of it seems to be Linux and Free Software related. I haven’t seen news of a Canonical booth at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) or even an Ubuntu LoCo team booth at such an event. It would be this type of event, that reaches a far larger crowd at this time than any Linux or Free Software even attracts, in which you might be posed with those questions in the first place.

Wow, I have rambled on a bit and I apologize. Feel free to argue these in the comments on this blog. Who knows, you might just get me to change. But at this time I would have to say no to such a proposal, but I am staying open to the option in the future. Thanks!

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  • Freddy Martinez

    Brilliant argument about the LiveCD. I completely forgot that people look before they leap.

  • troll

    The idea of a preview is great. It doesn’t have to be a complete and functional desktop, just a fast tour of the best/worst selling points. And you CAN fit the actual installation packages for them all on the same disc if you want. There’s a lot of unnecessary crud in the default set, the installation size is humongous.

    Or… You can get rid of the XFCE/KDE altogether, it’s not like if they would be real desktop environments anyways. They are just leaching the real Ubuntu and scum 2nd class citizens. That would solve the confusion problem fairly well.

  • Ahh ya, coming from a man who posted using Windows. Thank god you gave the warning with your name.

  • troll

    To be able to solve certain real-life problems I have to run certain software that does run only on Windows and does not have open source alternatives. I do not like this Windows XP, but it gets the things done. What is your excuse? ๐Ÿ˜€

  • voislav

    I don’t see the problem with hte naming scheme Canonical uses. Their primary focus (sadly) is on Gnome and therefore Ubuntu, while Kubuntu and Xubuntu stemed from a community effort rather than from Canonical. Both started off as independent from Ubuntu and were made official only later as they gained popularity.

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