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Net Radio Exec Says "Don't Mention Linux"

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the choosing-words-carefully dept.

Linux Business 442

Barence writes "It might be reliable enough to power their device, but it seems some companies are still a bit reluctant to use the 'L word' when talking about their products. Speaking at the launch of the touchscreen Pure Sensia digital radio, director of marketing Colin Crawford was pressed for specifics of the new device's software. But after his CEO reminded him that the new radio was based on a Linux OS, Crawford remarked: 'I don't like the using the word "Linux" on a radio.'" Of course the presence of (possibly embedded) Linux may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma?

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"Don't Mention ESR" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499259)

cord in my arse
I carry demons
mein scary rod
racism yonder
RMS or cyanide
rods in my care
secondary rim
seminary cord

Re:"Don't Mention ESR" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499727)

What are anagrams alex?

Re:"Don't Mention ESR" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29500041)

more like anal-grams, if the rumors I heard at Linux-Con 2003 were even remotely accurate.

Don't let those annoying facts get in the way (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499265)

Sure. To a consumer, Linux = hacker security risk. Because it's true.

Re:Don't let those annoying facts get in the way (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499289)

Sure. To a consumer, Linux = hacker security risk. Because it's true.

Au contraire, my friend. Linux = hacker / security tool. It all depends on how well you play your cards.

Re:Don't let those annoying facts get in the way (4, Insightful)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499403)

Depends on who "you" are, and its not so much playing the cards. The system admin is likely to be your weak link in a security situation, so it is up to the qualifications of your admin more than anything else. Granted, you'll probably find more people who are pro server admins on other systems more than linux just because linux is still only gaining running ground. If you hire a system admin, however, they should know the OS at hand or they SHOULD NOT BE HIRED. Period.

A shitty Linux admin is just as bad as a shitty Windows admin.

Re:Don't let those annoying facts get in the way (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499807)

Linux = security risk only if you use Windows and you piss a Linux user off.

To a Linux user who pisses a Windows user off, well, let's just say this particular relationship isn't reciprocating.

Re:Don't let those annoying facts get in the way (0, Flamebait)

geekprime (969454) | more than 5 years ago | (#29500055)

Linux = security risk only if you are an idiot and override the installation defaults. However, Everyone KNOWS that EVERY microsoft product is a security risk, no matter HOW you install it. So much so that there is an ENTIRE INDUSTRY of software products that have grown up around protecting microsoft products. So, nice ashman you have there MS fanboi, care to erect another strawman for me to burn down?

Competitive advantage (5, Insightful)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499277)

Linux may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma

Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the Linux community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

Re:Competitive advantage (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499449)

Linux may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma

Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the Linux community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

Maybe they have to pay Linus if they use the L word.

Re:Competitive advantage (4, Informative)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499511)

"Linux" a trademark of Linus Torvaldes and that's it. As long as you don't use it as a trademark of *your* product it will be fine.

The L-word (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499485)

You can only say it if you're a nigger.

Re:The L-word (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499817)

But I thought Linus was Caucasian? Jeez, you learn something new every day.

Re:The L-word (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499917)

But I thought Linus was Caucasian? Jeez, you learn something new every day.

Swedish speaking people are the blacks of Finland.

Re:Competitive advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499505)

I think kdawson likes to post inflammatory articles.

Re:Competitive advantage (5, Funny)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499521)

You-know-who may not have any relevance to consumers in some products; but does the word itself carry a commercial stigma

Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the you-know-who community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

We do not speak his name! He-who-must-not-be-named!

Re:Competitive advantage (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499945)

Let's see. Xenu is an important figure to Scientologists, but they don't like mentioning his name.

Linux is an important OS to some companies, but they don't like mentioning its name.

Therefore, Linux blew up their volcano.

Simple, really.

It is prophesied! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499989)

Xenu will by destroyed by Xorg. (Of course, you need to get some fifth level modelines first.)

Re:Competitive advantage (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499617)

Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors. Really, the Linux community needs to stop seeing adversaries around every corner.

Because using linux as an embedded OS was such a keenly revolutionary idea that no one else in the marketplace would ever consider the possibility on their own.
Right.

Maybe there is a plausible explanation, but that sure ain't it.

Re:Competitive advantage (5, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499903)

There is. Most people in the real world don't even know what an operating system is, and that your average appliance uses software to do the things it's supposed to do. Bothering them with that only confuses them.

Re:Competitive advantage (3, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499975)

Because using linux as an embedded OS was such a keenly revolutionary idea that no one else in the marketplace would ever consider the possibility on their own.

The VCs, the shareholders, and/or the media may not know. Most companies want to appear unique (even if they're not). So they'd prefer to generate an air of mystique around their software (than to admit, that the only thing they had to do was customize, or tweak some existing piece of well-known software).

This doesn't just happen to Linux. For instance, some companies may be reluctant to say they're using Visual Basic for Applications for instance. So they'll package their app in a binary, remove the splash screen, and do all sorts of things to hide the true origin of their app. Diebold was one such example, but there are many more others... Even Microsoft does that. Hell, even some open source projects do it to other open source projects. As long as the license allows it, and without necessarily explicitly saying it (but may be at least implying it), most companies/people will try to get the credit for other people's work, and try to appear as if they had some specialized knowledge/software that few other people have.

Re:Competitive advantage (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499623)

Maybe it's a competitive advantage and they don't want to advertise all the details of what lets them produce a device cheaper and faster than their competitors.

In any case, if they include GPL software (Linux), they will likely be including a copy of the license with the device.

Re:Competitive advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499959)

Me thinks that is a bit naive ^^

Re:Competitive advantage (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#29500025)

Or maybe advertising your use of Linux moves you from being a mere annoyance to a mortal enemy of the Redmond cabal.

LINUX INSIDE! (3, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 5 years ago | (#29500039)

You have to remember how product marketting works in companies. It's not a rational process, but involves someone tabling an idea that catches the imagination of a bunch of droids who quite literally know almost nothing and aren't capable of producing anything themselves --- that's why they're in Marketting after all.

As a result, technical issues don't matter, but identifiable feature points and catchy slogans do. Factual details of Linux are totally off the agenda, while "Linux Inside" might work, and a cute penguin on the box might too. In contrast, actually talking about Linux or open source is as horrifying as talking about the voltage levels on a USB connector -- it becomes "technical" rather than just a feature point or icon on a box. It's not their world.

Give the marketeers something that matches their M.O.. A few slogans would be a good start.

re: Stigma (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499281)

Depends. Did they make and then fail to release any changes to the source?

Re: Stigma (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499317)

It has not been released yet, until it is we can't be sure. Perhaos it was their plan but surly it cant be anymore!

Re: Stigma (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499737)

The license says that they are required to release the code, even if they do not modify it, or to indicate where the code can be obtained...

That sounds familiar... (2, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499295)

I reminds me of an episode of Northern Exposure. Maurice had a fit when Chris, the DJ, told the story of the city's founding by a pair of Lesbians.

Re:That sounds familiar... (1)

Looce (1062620) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499343)

That would be a reason to be embarrassed, yes. Perhaps that's the L word that Colin Crawford was reluctant to say. I would be embarrassed too if I had to tell people that my radio was powered by lesbians.

Re:That sounds familiar... (3, Funny)

Nethead (1563) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499363)

Great, now I'm wondering which way you but the batteries in.

Re:That sounds familiar... (3, Funny)

Looce (1062620) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499387)

That's easy. You take the first battery and put the positive terminal up, then you take the second battery and put the positive terminal down. If you do it right, the two positive pins will be on opposite sides. ... Which is how lesbians do it too. That's a neat trick to remember where the heads -- er, I mean positive terminals -- go.

Re:That sounds familiar... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499503)

That's easy. You take the first battery and put the positive terminal up, then you take the second battery and put the positive terminal down. If you do it right, the two positive pins will be on opposite sides. ... Which is how lesbians do it too. That's a neat trick to remember where the heads -- er, I mean positive terminals -- go.

I have a bicycle tail light which takes four batteries in the configuration:

+ +
B B
| |
B B
- -

ie its series parallel. It a bit melted from the time I put my NiCDs in as if it was four in series. The only vibrator I own takes just one battery. Its low on power but easy to load in the dark (and in a hurry).

Linux. (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499345)

It means "unknown" and "strange" to anyone who hasn't heard of it or isn't very computer savvy. It means "complex" and "difficult" to anyone who has heard of it that is moderately computer savvy. It means "shut the hell up and stop asking me stupid f'ing Linux questions every time I sit down at my desk!" to those of us who have used it and work with any one in the previous two categories. Seriously...I started using a Mac so I could get my nice unixy and open source goodness without having to play 20 questions every time I booted my damned laptop. Now they just look and say "oh, its a Mac, those are expensive" and walk away.

Re:Linux. (5, Funny)

l3ert (231568) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499523)

You are saying that because your are bitter that your previous plan of them going "Ooh what is that?... OMG a penguin how cute! Wanna go out?" failed. And now your new plan for "Ooh a Mac, how hip! Wanna go out?" isn't giving any results either but it was too expensive for you to admit failure yet. All along the solution was so simple: "no one has ever not been laid because they run Windows!"

Re:Linux. (4, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499703)

You've forgotten a major angle on this: "Ooh a Mac, you must have money! Wanna go out?"

Re:Linux. (2, Informative)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499725)

The trick is to run Linux on a Mac.

Re:Linux. (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499843)

Ooh, kinky! Wanna go out?

Re:Linux. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499579)

Look at me! I'm so cool, I run Linux. I have a Mac now though cause it's the same as Linux but cooler. Not.

Re:Linux. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499763)

I would fall under the last category you mentioned and I can understand your general frustration. Which is why I'm working to organize a LUG at my technical school. This might not be the most viable option, if you don't have the time, but I'm hoping that I can get a variety of members who have different levels of knowledge. This way, those who know more, can help the less knowledgeable learn, while also gaining some better understanding on their own. Plus, if the people bombarding you with questions are Google-savvy, you can instruct them on the ways of using forums and how-tos to answer most questions. If people start complaining about having to read, tell them to stick with Windows.

gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499365)

if it's built on open source software, chances are someone will force them to reveal their source code.

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499435)

If, and only if, they made any changes to the GPLed code. And, even then, only the bits integrated into the GPLed code.

There are almost certainly outfits for which that is a serious issue; but I'd be shocked if these guys are one of them. Their device is almost certainly a more-or-less stock ARM board, with a Linux BSP already provided by whoever they bought it from, along with a few not-very-exotic peripherals, also likely off the shelf. On top of that will be their closed blob of a program, which is where all their special sauce is. The program running on top is completely unaffected by the license of the OS, and is almost certainly where the only remotely distinguishing work was done.

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499463)

Yes but how do we *know*. Guess we'll need to have look now, won't we?

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (1, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499567)

If, and only if, they made any changes to the GPLed code. And, even then, only the bits integrated into the GPLed code.

If you distribute any GPL code, such as the Linux kernel or the GNU userland, you have to offer the sources to the recipient.

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 5 years ago | (#29500027)

If I mail you a Red Hat CD do I have to provide the source? Or can I just point you to redhat.com? It's just an OS. It might even be a stock distro.

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499441)

Only if they've violated the license. If they can't use linux without violating the license, then they shouldn't be using it. Thinking that they can use linux, violate it's license and get away with it by just not telling anyone is.... kinda slimy.

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499757)

if it's built on open source software, chances are someone will force them to reveal their source code.

Force? There's no force involved[*]. They knew that if they made any changes to the software, they were going to release the source from the moment they decided to distribute a device with Linux on it. Assuming they have customised the code, the decision to release the source was entirely theirs. And it was made when they chose to use Linux in the first place.

[*] Well, except for RMS' ninjas, but we don't talk about them....

Re:gnu? gpl? probably a license issue (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499879)

Oh SURE they knew they would eventually release the source. And SURE they would willingly adhere to the license terms. And people don't cheat on their spouses. And nobody cheats on their taxes. And no one ever gets sued over this kind of thing. And I'm dating Megan Fox.

On the other hand... (4, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499401)

Squeezebox Touch is Linux-based, and imminently hackable. Although not emphasized as a consumer selling point, it is certainly no secret and there is a very active developer community around the products.

Most of us are unqualified to comment (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499447)

That includes [especially] me. We already have our own perceptions of Linux and what it means. We, at times desperately, want others to see Linux the way we do. But they don't.

Frankly, I don't really know or understand how others see Linux. I could venture to guess though... Linux is weird. Linux is not normal. Linux is what "different" people use.

I know that people put a lot of associative value in identity. People want to think of themselves and everything they identify themselves with as good and normal and hopefully even cool. Linux is only cool to a limited number of people... to everyone else, Linux is an associative reflection of all the weirdos who use Linux. Most of use are geeks and not socially ordinary. What does that say about how others might see Linux?

Re:Most of us are unqualified to comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499783)

>Linux is weird. Linux is not normal. Linux is what "different" people use.

So Linux is Gay?

Re:Most of us are unqualified to comment (2, Informative)

Beat The Odds (1109173) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499791)

... Linux is weird. Linux is not normal. Linux is what "different" people use.

I resemble that remark!!

Re:Most of us are unqualified to comment (4, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499877)

This is truth. You have portions of the population who are interested and then those who aren't. I don't think people hate it, but they rightfully know that is not for them, and that is true for a desktop environment. The problem is most people don't understand what embedded means and so mentioning linux can scare people out of even looking at the product because they think it must just be something they are incapable of operating. I am willing to bet most westerners have interacted with a linux machine at some point in their life, most without knowing it. Embedded linux is everywhere but no one needs or wants to know it.

Stigma to Linux (4, Informative)

TUOggy (1253848) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499453)

I think there is some stigma to the word Linux. When I am recommending "Linux" to people, they explain to me that they have heard that it is very difficult to use and would rather just continue to use Windows, and I have to go through the "No it's not hard to use, it's just not Windows" spiel. When I recommend Ubuntu for their desktop, they basically tell me (1)if they have heard of it, that they hear it's easy to use (2)if they haven't heard of it, "will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will and if they switch then they generally like it better.

overall, I think that people still relate Linux to "Command Line" and "Nerdy basement hacker geeks who are fat and have too much facial hair"

People are really surprised when I show them my netbook running Ubuntu and all they have to do is click the firefox icon on the dock. They are always shocked when I explain that it's based on Linux.

So basically, you lie to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499561)

(2)if they haven't heard of it, "will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will and if they switch then they generally like it better.

So you explain that they can watch fullscreen flash will work, even though it won't? So you explain that all win32 apps will work, even though they won't?

Re:So basically, you lie to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499787)

um, fullscreen flash works.

win32 apps are irrelevant.

Re:So basically, you lie to them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499833)

Full screen flash doesn't work on windows with half of the available graphics cards, astrotufer.

For low values of "it will" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499675)

(2)if they haven't heard of it, "will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will

So, when they ask something like "Will it play Bioshock?", do you say

a) "It will"

-or-

b) "It will, but not with high texture details or proper mouse control, and don't change the resolution or that will crash the game. Oh yeah, the game will page fault quite often, so save regularly, but other than that, it will work just great!" [winehq.org]

What a great friend.

Re:For low values of "it will" (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499965)

Does a Mac play Bioshock? You need the Mac specific version, if one exists at all. Or you can run Wine in the Mac, and you aren't supported or have your hand held.

You can either hope a Linux version exists (there are commercial Linux games, see Penumbra, World of Goo, etc.) which it usually doesn't or emulate the API or a VM, which could not work. Just like on the Mac.

The correct answer is "No, but you can try using other software on it and maybe it can work."

Re:Stigma to Linux (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499729)

>>>"will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will

I get annoyed when Linux users tell untruths simply to "sell" their product. Reminds me of certain Software vendors I've encountered at work with their "magic demos" which seem to do "everything", but the real product doesn't do half of what they demoed. Here's a few things Ubuntu Linux won't do:

- Connect to my ISP (the software connects and then crashes before I type my password)
- Run my ISP's web accelerator software (simply doesn't run)
- Run Internet Exploder (starts-up then crashes five minutes later)
- Allow me to select 1000 songs, right-click on "open", and play those songs sequentially in VLC Player. Instead the stupid OS tries to open all 1000 songs at the same time. I had to yank the power cord to regain control. I haven't seen that level of poor design since AmigaOS 1.2 (1987).
- Won't properly emulate Atari games via StellaX (which works 100% on Windows but only 70% on Linux)
- Adjusted the screen size to 640x480, and when I tried to go back to normal 1280x1024 mode, discovered the desktop properties window did not fit the screen. Normally that'd be no big deal except the "OK" button was inaccessible so my laptop is now permanently stuck in 640x480. (Or at least it was until I wiped the c: drive with a fresh XP install.)
-
- And that's just what I discovered during my first month of usage.

And now I will be labeled "troll" because I'm a customer who speaks the truth. Salesmen hate customers who speak their minds. Better to silence them, so their complaints don't get heard by other customers. (You know like Apple does when they make exploding iphone users sign non-disclosure agreements.) I'm sorry but I've tried Ubuntu Linux, and rather than put-up with all the Non-user friendly problems listed above, I'll choose Windows or Mac OS.

Re:Stigma to Linux (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499751)

P.S.

Remember you said "it will do everything that Windows will". Everything means everything with virtually no exceptions.

Re:Stigma to Linux (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499831)

Remember you said "it will do everything that Windows will". Everything means everything with virtually no exceptions.

But windows out of the box does very little. Whats it got? Notepad and a web browser. Ubuntu comes with openoffice.

I had something similar to that screen resolution issue on windows 95 or 98. The owner had set the desktop font to the biggest possible size. We ended up reinstalling the OS.

Re:Stigma to Linux (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499907)

- Connect to my ISP (the software connects and then crashes before I type my password)
- Run my ISP's web accelerator software (simply doesn't run)
- Allow me to select 1000 songs, right-click on "open", and play those songs sequentially in VLC Player. Instead the stupid OS tries to open all 1000 songs at the same time. I had to yank the power cord to regain control. I haven't seen that level of poor design since AmigaOS 1.2 (1987).
- Won't properly emulate Atari games via StellaX (which works 100% on Windows but only 70% on Linux)

Windows does not do those things either.

Re:Stigma to Linux (3, Informative)

mdda (462765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499811)

Maybe you tried this before you installed Windows out of frustration, but did you know that you can (most often than not) move a window around by holding down Alt while clicking & dragging? [ I've also been frustrated by screen-size dialogues not ensuring they fit on the current screen... ]

Re:Stigma to Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499921)

1.) What crappy ISP are you on? Seems like there sure are a lot of Linux fans on the internet that don't have a problem connecting to their ISP.
2.) See #1.
3.) Why are you running the worst-of-breed browser? Use Firefox.
4.) Why not try a different music player. I'd recommend Amarok.
5.) Ok, Windows OS wins for gaming. Big surprise there.
6.) Not sure how you got yourself into that one, but do you know that you can hold down Alt and click on any part of the window to move it by dragging?

Re:Stigma to Linux (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499795)

"will it do everything that Windows will?" I explain that it will.

Awesome, I just nuked my old XP install and replaced it with Ubuntu. Firefox works great. Can you come over and help me install AutoCad, I got drawings I need to finish by Friday.

But Ubuntu comes with GIMP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499883)

Awesome, I just nuked my old XP install and replaced it with Ubuntu. Firefox works great. Can you come over and help me install AutoCad, I got drawings I need to finish by Friday.

GIMP is the only drawing program you'll ever needamiright?

Re:Stigma to Linux (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499941)

And while you're at it, I just bought this amazing game in the shop, but I can't get it installed for some reason. Can you fix that for me?

Because it's not relevant? (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499457)

Slashdotters like to jump at it and go "cool, does that mean I can hack on it like my toaster?". They in marketing probably have absolutely no interest in that, they want to sell an appliance. Whether it's running Linux or BSD or WinCE or whatever else embedded OS, that's not what they want to talk about. That's not what they want the marketing message to be. They don't want people thinking of it as a computer in drag because computers are complex and their device is easy and user friendly. Funny how a marketing director might want to focus on features and not the internals of the OS running the thing. So it runs Linux, great. Could we get back to telling you why this is a product people will want?

Re:Because it's not relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499573)

This. (Every post that claims "Linux == 'fat geeks' to the masses".... Get over ourselves. No matter how large we are.)

Re:Because it's not relevant? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499655)

After listening to the features, I would then ask, "Does it run Ogg Vorbis (or favorite other feature)? No? It has Linux, so some genius hacker can create a plugin that will run it? Yes, cool, I'm there." Another question I have: "Does it have WiFi and I would be able to listen to whatever Internet radio station I want from Yahoo's Launch to Shoutcast to Pandora, etc?"

Re:Because it's not relevant? (3, Interesting)

crazybilly (947714) | more than 5 years ago | (#29500053)

I'd ask the same questions. But in my day job in marketing, I know the OP is right--the marketing guy is trying to keep the conversation focused on the message for the AVERAGE consumer, not the nonaverage consumers like you and me. He's trying to communicate the product's core benefits to the customer, not features or specs, or what you're asking for: fringe benefits that may or may not be...er...beneficial.

His job is to brand this thing as a lets-you-do-cool-stuff-and-makes-you-feel-good box or whatever, not to convince the fringe audience (ie. me and you) that we could hack the thing. Anything that distracts from that feel-good message (including Linux) takes up too much of his valuable 3 minutes on the radio. He's just trying to keep his CEO on track, not trying to dodge/cover up Linux.

Android too (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499487)

You don't want to imply that your product is for nerds. That's why T-Mobile's Android phone is just marketed as "T-Mobile 3G, now with Google!"

Linux is increasingly behind the scenes everywhere, because it works well and requires no licensing costs. Google OS is likely to make it mainstream, because that's a name people trust. Linux is a server OS. But only if you call it Linux.

I'm Sorry Guys... (2, Funny)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499499)

But he's right. Linux is really nerdy from a marketing perspective. It comes off sounding inaccessible and just... well... the bad type of geeky.

The problem is that it's generally connected to Linux users.

Stigma (3, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499513)

"Free" have a commercial stigma, specially if you put all meanings in that word.

It's just simple math (1)

cmdotter (1274534) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499645)

Linux = Super Geek.

If you know about computers, you're a geek. If you know about operating systems other than a Mac or PC, then you're a super geek. If you don't know what the words "operating system" mean, you're not a geek and don't care about Linux at all (because it's not a Mac or a PC). Even then, people don't care.

Re:Stigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499777)

"Free" have a commercial stigma, specially if you put all meanings in that word.

Are you referring to the real definition of "free" plus the definition the GNU people made up?

Re:Stigma (1)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499823)

"Free" may do,
but "open source" seems (in my (limited) experience, anyway) to have the opposite effect.
People using the phrase to describe positive changes in systems well outside of the computing field.

Open source government
Open source business procedures
Open source voting
Etc.
Etc.

I've seen the phrase used to describe anything that's purposefully transparent in it's operation.
Transparent for the reassurance of a fair procedure, with no hidden motive or agenda
Transparent for the purposes of encouraging constructive criticism and improvement from end-users / participants
Transparent because it's cheaper than a PR company, and can achieve the same end-results

I think people will understand what an "open source" operating system is, and more importantly, understand the potential benefits that it can bring

Weird to think that a term coined in the computing field, and only adopted by other fields much later, may become accepted by the public purely because of the "borrowed" usage by others
But anyhow...

also don't mention the war (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499531)

no no... dont mention the war!!!!!!

--john cleese

Agreed (1)

JYD (996651) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499535)

Let's see how the talk show host respond to "Freax", as Linus used to call it.

Yes there is a stigma (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499539)

To most consumers and end users linux is at worst something they have no clue about other than hearing that "hackers" use it, and at best is something they were goaded into trying once but at the moment a problem occurred they found they had no help and had to either ditch the computer for a new one (you wouldn't believe how many customers I get insisting their computers are irreparably broken when its simply a boot problem) or pay what they feel are excessive amounts to get some tech to reinstall windows on it again.

Linux is scary to most, wonderful to few that know better. Thats not going to change so yes in terms of advertising to joe average mentioning "linux" will more often not shift a product from the must have category to the must avoid one. It sucks but its reality.

Re:Yes there is a stigma (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499979)

Car analogy time:

"My car won't turn/stay on, it's broken."

Mechanic: "Well the battery wire came loose." (or something simple like that.)

Do you expect all consumers to know computers as well as we do? Because if I was as good with cars as I am with computers I'd save a load on car repairs.

WebOS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499605)

Just call it the "WebOS" like Palm does.

Advertising "it's got Linux" is as stupid as... (3, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499707)

Advertising "it's got Linux" is as stupid as those bank ads I kept seeing a couple years ago boasting that their new website was using Java on the backend or something. As an end-user consumer, I don't fucking care. Does your product work reliably? Does it provide me with some service I need? Is it easy to use? That's what I care about, not some mostly irrelevant technical detail of its implementation.

First Rule of Net Radio (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499717)

You do not talk about Linux.

Second rule ... you do NOT talk about Linux!!

Fighting "The Man" (2, Interesting)

daveofnf (766994) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499739)

If you are a normal consumer and you see a penguin on a product, you probably won't know what it's all about. The same person will almost certainly know the Windows logo. That's enough to make people gravitate towards what they know. People are afraid of the unknown.

Linux has hundreds of flavors (or spins or whatever) and no body advertising how great it is. So the popularity of Linux and related devices will be up to large marketing departments (mostly in Redmond). As much as I hate to say it, Linux doesn't stand a chance against that.

Linux needs a real commercial champion for the everyday consumer market. Just think of the server market. Maybe Google would fit the bill, or maybe they will do the same as Apple. Time will tell.

Easy problem to solve (0)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499747)

One CEO at a time. I hope he told his marketing director he's a dick.

Icecast (0)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499769)

You have to love http://www.icecast.org/ [icecast.org] and I am Sir Audiophile E-MU 0404 geek. I know more about open source radio than the poster. I also own http://www.fluxradio.org/ [fluxradio.org] The Linux word is for brave people. You can advance and go commando BSD! It will take a very intelligent individual even to get to grips but in the words of Brenda Russell. "I cry just a little, caught up in the middle, when he plays piano in the dark". I suppose music is music is power. Music and lyrics makes one elite 31337.

I'm reminded of this (5, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499793)

See this. [pollycoke.net] Enough said.

GNU/Linux (2, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499797)

That's okay. Stallman says it's GNU/Linux, but I'm sure he'd be happy if you dropped the Linux part ;-) So just tell people you're building a GNU radio. Brand GNU.

If it ran Windows... (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499803)

If it ran Windows do you think he would be showing off about that? Most people don't care what OS products like this use. The company probably wants to differentiate their product from a computer.

Re:If it ran Windows... (1)

atheistmonk (1268392) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499885)

New Dell laptop! Comes with Windows 7 and Office 2007!

Re:If it ran Windows... (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499977)

New Dell laptop! Comes with Windows 7 and Office 2007!

In that example, the user will actually directly interact with both of those products. It's immediately relevant to the user what software they are buying the right to use.

With respect to the net radio, the end-user will never see anything close to the Linux kernel unless something goes horribly wrong. It's an utterly irrelevant piece of information for the average user.

Now, ideally, the Liunx trademark would have such a nice reputation that some form of "Linux Inside" sticker would actually increase its market value. Maybe their marketing department is as poorly-thought-out as your analogy.

Bad marketing info? (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499829)

No nock to Linux since I think it's a great OS, but I get the impression that this maketing exec thinks it has a 'home built' sort of stigma attached to it. It's actually a primary Linux strength, but I have to wonder if this guy is getting marketing feedback that Linux has a bad rep with common consumers or if it's just based on his personal opinion (informed or not).

Security... (0, Troll)

sitarlo (792966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499851)

They probably don't want a bunch of hacking and tinkering of their product by the vast hordes of losers out there who get off on breaking protected devices.

From the "who cares" just make it work dept (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499873)

I know this won't be popular at /., but I think most people around here would take a phone that "worked" but used non-Linux (OS/2, MVS or VMS). I can't imagine too many slashdotters that would say, "This phone reboots twice a day and the battery life stinks, but it runs linux so they can pry it outta my cold dead hands.

Yeesh, I just want a phone that has good battery life, 3G, call clarity etc etc. I don't care what OS it runs. Hell, if they said it ran Banana-OS, as long as it worked, who cares. It's a phone. Plus even if it ran linux, what percentage of consumers would be able to do anything with any of the source that they provide? Hack all you want, but in a year or two when it's time to renew my contract I'll be getting a new phone anyhow.

Just my $.02, and I'm going back to my phone which runs some random OS.

Re:From the "who cares" just make it work dept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29499971)

I just want a phone that has good battery life, 3G, call clarity etc etc. I don't care what OS it runs.

As do I, this is why I am getting a Nokia N900!

Stigma is the wrong word.... (1)

avatar_charlie (1633965) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499891)

....more like, he's a marketing guy, evolved a bit from a sales drone, and oftentimes there's just no need to overcomplicate the sales and promotion process.

Is Linux a selling point to this guy's customers? Probably not. And certainly not as it would be to people on this website.

Thus, no need to get into it.

The real question is "has Linux even pervaded the public's consciousness sufficiently to where it *could* be a plus or minus?" And I'd have to argue no, at least not outside the tech crowd.

I don't understand these comments (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 5 years ago | (#29499893)

Many commercially successful products use Linux. Tivo anyone? Why wouldn't anyone want to identify themselves with Linux, unless there's a commercial tie-in with a competitor (Apple or Microsoft)?

It means it's hard to use (4, Interesting)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29500013)

Okay, I know it doesn't really mean the device is hard to use, but there is certainly that perception for a consumer. The last embedded commercial product I worked on was Linux based (on a little ARM system) and it was just great. But we didn't tell people it was Linux unless they specifically asked or bothered to dig through the manual.

'It runs Linux' means:

    - Apple people sneer, but they'd buy an iPod anyhow so it's not a huge loss.
    - My dad sees 'Linux' and thinks 'Oh my god, Linux was so confusing I guess I'll just get an iPod instead'.
    - Normal people see 'Linux' and think they'll need to crack the password in 72-bit font like mad haxxors every time they want to use it.
    - Nerds go 'ooooooooh.' This is the one group for which it is a good thing. But also a small group.
    - GNU people think 'Why doesn't this just boot into root shell? Corporate evil!' Seriously, we had one guy who pestered tech support for months claiming GPL meant we had to tell him the root password. Why did we stop giving everyone root? Because they screw it up and RMA the thing.

And honestly I have bad UI associations with Linux too, the same way I do with Windows CE. Just the thought of my MP3 player booting into Gnome or something like Gimp is enough to give me the hives, even though rationally I know an embedded device is more likely to be running something like PegUI or Qt Embedded. Or even totally custom, but that usually also means bad, because people who build their own UIs from scratch almost never have any idea what they're doing.

The bottom line is that even though I love embedded Linux I just don't see that there's a commercial advantage (and there is plenty of disadvantage) to letting people know it runs Linux unless being a cheap open device is one of your primary selling points. If they did their job right you will never know what OS the thing is running. The nerds will find out anyhow (see the Kindle). Only the crusaders crave the validation.

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