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The 'Linux Inside' Stigma

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the someday-they'll-even-come-up-with-a-linux-phone dept.

Operating Systems 366

New submitter dtschmitz highlights the success of the Google Chromebook to underscore what, in his view, is a serious Linux brand image problem. "It's remarkable how Google doesn't mention the word Linux anywhere in their marketing of the Google Chromebook. I mean, it's running the Linux Kernel, so shouldn't it be Google Linux instead of ChromeOS? Why did Google carefully avoid references to Linux? It's all a very carefully crafted, well executed plan of elegant branding and image making. ... The profile of this user is that of someone who really doesn't care anything about the technical underpinnings of a device. They are not sophisticated technophiles by any means. They have a set number of things which they wish to do--recreational surfing, banking, email, an occasional letter, not complicated. ... Google didn't mention Linux because they know it will scare buyers away. That's unfortunate, but true. And we need to come to terms with that fact and work towards improving the 'Linux Inside' brand image.

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Does it matter? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371423)

There are lots of things for which that level of detail is lost on the target consumer.

nope. it starts with accuracy (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#43371813)

it would start with there being an actual linux stigma, which is something that doesn't even exist in the first place. People just don't like things they don't undestand.

Re:nope. it starts with accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371959)

classic example of Kübler-Ross [wikipedia.org] ..

Re:nope. it starts with accuracy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371975)

I "understand" Linux just fine. (Yeah, I use VI for an editor and run Ubuntu). Understanding it doesn't mean it's not a pile of steaming dog waste. Which it is.

BSD folks must have even more terrible problem... (5, Funny)

PaulBu (473180) | about a year ago | (#43371435)

Why the heck Apple has OS-X and no BSD inside stickers, for many years now? ;-)

Paul B.

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371557)

Apple basically, uses the entire tool chain of BSD using a custom kernel and windowing environment. Since LInux is just the Kernel, the sticker would likely be Manged by Linux or Abstracted by Linux. I would have to think about which is more accurate. If they do not install the standard GNU tool chains that Linux distro's use as common ground even the most experinced among us might be reluctant to call it Linux instead of of an OS that uses the Linux Kernel.

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371575)

They have UNIX tm 2003

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43371591)

Why the heck Apple has OS-X and no BSD inside stickers, for many years now? ;-)

They did, however for a short time do the whole "UNIX Inside" thing. Even got as far as certifying one version of OS X.

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (3, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43371735)

Every version from 10.5 (on Intel) onward is UNIX '03 certified.

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (-1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43371883)

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's POSIX certified.

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371659)

Indeed, the reason it doesn't say "Linux Inside" is because nobody but us have ever heard of Linux, not that they're scared of it. The only ones scared of Linux are slashdot users on Windows boxes who've read read the FUD from the MS shills.

Re:BSD folks must have even more terrible problem. (4, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#43372031)

Because it was never technically BSD. It's a Mach kernel with BSD-Userland.

Easy to answer. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371439)

Because "linux" is toxic to 90% of the population out there.

"Windows" is the status quo, "mac" is sexy, and "linux" is that ugly fat guy in IT who smells bad and makes you change your passwords every other day.

Google is right to avoid "linux" like the plague.

Re: Easy to answer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371581)

I agree.

Re:Easy to answer. (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43371605)

The ugly fat guy doesn't care. It's the people who want Linux to go mainstream that need to understand this.

Re:Easy to answer. (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43371885)

The ugly fat guy doesn't care. It's the people who want Linux to go mainstream that need to understand this.

Linux is mainstream. It just isn't called "Linux". Everybody with a Galaxy III, a Nook, or a Kindle is using Linux. Personally, I don't really care what it is called.

Re:Easy to answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371635)

those stigmas cut both ways. Windows is boring, and mac means that it looks nice but nothing you own will actually work with anything else.

Linux doesn't need to proceletize it's presence like other OS's because it has become the dominate operating system in the world. also, branding is marketing, and everybody knows you don't put tech specs in your marketing, or at least put those towards people who don't look at their machines as giant black boxes (gas goes in, car moves; I push these colored boxes on this screen, phone makes call).

Re:Easy to answer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371861)

yeah but only single digit % of the population believes what you do.

everyone else says linux is for nerds and dorks.

google cares more about everyone else than your little band of misfits.

Re:Easy to answer. (3, Interesting)

synapse7 (1075571) | about a year ago | (#43371811)

I bet 98% of the population doesn't know what linux is. How would google even market that?

Re:Easy to answer. (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43371817)

Because "linux" is toxic to 90% of the population out there.

"Windows" is the status quo, "mac" is sexy, and "linux" is that ugly fat guy in IT who smells bad and makes you change your passwords every other day.

Google is right to avoid "linux" like the plague.

I don't think Linux is "toxic" to 90% of the population, it's just meaningless... much like like "BSD kernel", "Mach", or "Microkernel" would be... putting a linux-inside sticker adds nothing of value, anyone that cares about Linux already knows that it's based on a Linux kernel.

But the real reason there's no Linux-inside sticker is because there's no "Linux, Inc" to pay for it - the reason every Intel laptop has "Intel-inside" stickers is not because PC makers thought it would sell more laptops, it's because Intel paid for those stickers (or at least negotiated it as a part of volume purchase deals) for the brand recognition.

Re:Easy to answer. (3, Funny)

hodet (620484) | about a year ago | (#43371821)

I resent that. I do not make you change your passwords every other day.

Re:Easy to answer. (3, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43371833)

Not to mention the phrase "Linux Inside" is linguistic shit. Certain sounds work together and sound harmonious, and others don't. "Intel Inside" is alliterative and rolls off the tongue. Same with "ChromeOS".

I'll probably get downmodded into oblivion for saying that people in marketing are something other than soulless demons, but names that sound pleasing really do sell better. And Linux is not one of them.

Re:Easy to answer. (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43371835)

Google should co-brand, say with Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Game of Thrones. That's a laptop that will sell!

Re:Easy to answer. (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year ago | (#43371839)

It's not toxic. Linux is technology. People appreciate technology, they just don't want to be forced to think about it. And there really is nothing about Linux the ordinary user needs to think about, whether it's used on the Kindle, some "smart" TV, on an Android device, on a ChromeOS laptop, or with just about any web site on the internet. These things are about how you interact with them, just not so much about interaction through the /proc and /dev file systems.

Re:Easy to answer. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#43371875)

toxic based on what? People just don't like things they perceive as complicated. For years we've said that was linux. However, user activity proves that while people say linux has a stigma, their actions show that they don't believe that even remotely.

how many linux- based devices are in use right now? like 80% of all technology? 90%? every appliance?

People can be afraid of linux all they want, but they're clearly using it anyway.

Re:Easy to answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371895)

there is a reason why OP put linux in quotes. you should strive to be more observant.

Re:Easy to answer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371913)

"Windows" is the status quo, "mac" is sexy, and "linux" is that ugly fat guy in IT who smells bad and makes you change your passwords every other day.

Don't project your self image on others.

My office mate and I are both rather dapper lads in great shape, and are in our 40s. We both reguarly date and fuck attractive 20 something grad students, and we both run Linux as a primary OS.

Around here Linux is eschewed as being a katana: if you don't know what you're doing, you're going to get hurt. We need to get rid of the idea that Linux is only for the technologically proficient, but at the same tolken we (ironically) need a commercial distro with things like Fluendo and Crossover Office that works straight out of the box.

It's simple (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371463)

Because people don't give a fuck what's inside their computers. They want their magic boxes to just work, without knowing all the innards.

You can blame Apple for making people less technologically astute, or praise them for raising the bar for every other manufacturer.

Re:It's simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371535)

You can blame Apple for making people less technologically astute, or praise them for raising the bar for every other manufacturer.
 
Nah. It's not the fault of any manufacturer. The public would never have adopted the technology without it being easy, not the other way around. Apple gave them what they want. It's rare to find a company that can truly create a market that doesn't exist. I don't think it has been done since P.T. Barnum took his final bow.

Re:It's simple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371685)

I don't think it has been done since P.T. Barnum took his final bow.

I dunno, the drug companies created a market for a drug that numbs your legs by inventing "restless legs syndrome". I think Barnum would be proud.

Re:It's simple (0)

teaserX (252970) | about a year ago | (#43371961)

"dunno, the drug companies created a market for a drug that numbs your legs by inventing "restless legs syndrome"."
Don't forget fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. Those also were never heard of until there were drugs for them that needed to be sold.

Does it run Linux software? (5, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | about a year ago | (#43371465)

I think the reason why they don't mention Linux is simply because the thing isn't meant to run Linux software. It doesn't really matter that it uses Linux underneath when you never get to directly access it and instead are limited to whatever layer they strapped on top of it. Android isn't marketed as a Linux for the same reason, the Linux is simply an implementation detail, not an end user visible feature.

Re:Does it run Linux software? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43371517)

Hold your horses. It runs linux software, what do you think that browser is and for some folks android being linux is a selling point. For me for example, I like having busybox right on my phone.

The reality is they don't own the linux trademark, nor is helping its brand doing google any good.

Re:Does it run Linux software? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about a year ago | (#43371851)

I use terminal to run commands with busybox. your phone may also have iptables, samba, vnc, ssh.. probably some others.

Re:Does it run Linux software? (-1, Offtopic)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year ago | (#43371565)

This.

That is all.

Re:Does it run Linux software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371995)

If 'this' is all you have to say then do us a favour and don't post in the first place. You've contributed nothing.

Re:Does it run Linux software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371641)

mod parent up

Re:Does it run Linux software? (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43371847)

A lot of other devices run Linux kernels without mentioning it, likely for the reasons you mention. Home routers and Android phones come to mind as two very common consumer-oriented examples.

Re:Does it run Linux software? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43371865)

I think the reason why they don't mention Linux is simply because the thing isn't meant to run Linux software.

Exactly. You might as well ask why nobody slaps a UNIX Inside sticker on iPhones and iPads....

Re:Does it run Linux software? (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43371909)

"I think the reason why they don't mention Linux is simply because the thing isn't meant to run Linux software."

I think even more to the point is that Google doesn't mention Linux for the simple reason that they only want the Google name to be on it.

It's not so much of a Linux "branding" issue as it is simply a Google branding issue.

I don't think that their reason. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371475)

Lets say the product is a big success. They want the positive experience attributed to "CHROME", a trademark they own, versus "Linux", one they don't.

Why would we? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43371481)

Who actually cares?

Not everything needs a nice friendly brand.

Re:Why would we? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43372017)

Some people seem to be hung up on stupid marketing slogans from Intel from 1996. Nobody says computers have "Hafnium Silicates Inside" either.

Android? (2)

clifyt (11768) | about a year ago | (#43371483)

Its almost like no one mentions Android on their phones anymore.

And the best selling Android tablet won't even mention it at all...

Re:Android? (0)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#43371547)

Really? I hear many people mention _Android_ when talking about phones.

But as per the topic they rarely mention Linux when talking about their android phones.

The Cold Truth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371487)

If they did, then no one would buy it.

Linux Inside? (2)

AllanL5 (814677) | about a year ago | (#43371491)

I think the reason they don't mention it, is that they don't want to take any reputation away from Google. If Google is using Linux inside, what's special about Google? Besides, if they do mention it, at some point in the far future which may never happen, Linus (or his inheritors) may come looking for some licensing costs. Or, here you go, when Google starts charging licensing fees, how does having Linux Inside affect that?

How many people know or care.. (2)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year ago | (#43371499)

That their smart phone is likely running on Linux?

Re:How many people know or care.. (3, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#43371893)

How many people know or care that their Sony TV runs Linux [sony.com] ?

Alone. (4, Funny)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43371503)

An astronaut falling into a black hole would die alone.

Re:Alone. (3, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43371519)

Oops, wrong story.

Re:Alone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371887)

Wrong story and this is modded +3. Oh slashtards...

Re:Alone. (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#43371921)

Everyone dies alone.

Re:Alone. (1)

HalcyonBlue (596712) | about a year ago | (#43371937)

An astronaut falling into a black hole would die alone.

While perhaps not intentional, I think your comment is amusingly relevant to both stories

Re:Alone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371977)

Slap a sticker on the black hole saying, "astronaut inside." Too bad no one outside can see it.

technical people don't market their things well (2)

bryanc (142005) | about a year ago | (#43371507)

Tech folks get into specific discussions about the best solution to a problem. People just want to buy 'the best'.

If I had my way, we would not have Intel processors in machines and Windows would have ended at 3.1 when it was clear it was a poor solution. The market didn't work that way and I still have to live with bits in the wrong order and drives identified by their letter.

Re:technical people don't market their things well (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371603)

If I had my way, we would not have Intel processors in machines and Windows would have ended at 3.1 when it was clear it was a poor solution. The market didn't work that way and I still have to live with bits in the wrong order and drives identified by their letter.

The 6502, Z80, DEC ALPHA, Atmel AVR, VAX, and the PDP-11 were all little endian amongst other examples that can be named. Little endian has little to do with Intel, moron.

Re:technical people don't market their things well (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43371939)

not quite, PDP-11 has its own mixed-endian called "PDP-endian", e.g. 2143.

many cool processors are bi-endian, they can go either way.

Re:technical people don't market their things well (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43371957)

Notice how many of those architectures still exist. I think the x86/x86-64 architectures are just about the only little-endian-only CPU architectures left. Everything else is bi or big.

Linus isn't fussed and neither should you be (5, Insightful)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | about a year ago | (#43371509)

I somewhat take Linus's view - who cares?

-Interview with Linus last year (http://www.techradar.com/news/software/why-linus-torvalds-would-rather-code-than-make-money-1112900)

LT: "Technical people will complain 'it's Linux, and now people don't know they're using Linux'. Which is true, a lot of people don't even know they're using Linux"

LXF: "And that doesn't bother you?"

LT: "And that doesn't bother me at all, because I'm interested in the technical side. And I actually think it's the right thing to do, to say: "Hey, we're doing our OS".

And when they say OS, they mean more than just a kernel, and when I say OS I usually mean just the kernel.

But if you're doing your OS, Linux is a central, but it's still just a small part of the overall thing - you shouldn't need to name your stuff just because you use the Linux kernel.

So, I actually wouldn't want to use the trademark thing, plus I think it would be stupid anyway because I think people should just rename their things."

Linux is a trademark. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371527)

Maybe Google just don't want to agree to the terms they're required to agree to in order to use the Linux trademark.

Why? (2)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about a year ago | (#43371531)

What would the benefit for google be to add this information to their product? If anything it dilutes the brand strength and confuses people. Its the same reason why apple doesnt mention bsd anywhere

Why? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371551)

And we need to come to terms with that fact and work towards improving the 'Linux Inside' brand image.

Why? Linux has been cruising along for a long time getting better and better, running in more and more places, first conquering servers, enveloping embedded devices, devouring the mobile phone market place, spreading into tablets, etc. It's at the core of VMware, Android, ChromeOS, and devices both on earth and in space.

So, again, why? So teenagers will use it? Choosy Moms will choose it over Jiff?

The brand image of Linux right now is: get shit done. well. Oh, and also do whatever you want with it.

What people like OP need to come to terms with is the fact that Linux is successful in spite of marketing.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371743)

The view of linux and unix is a multitude of different flavors of varying interoperability, a hostile user community who shout "you don't know how to run a fsck? GO BACK TO WINDOWS N00B!", poor documentation, and primarily relies on a command line interface rather than a GUI.

Let me put it this way - linux is rock solid for things like servers, things you need to quietly do their jobs effectively, set it and forget it. But when you have stories like how XKCD's Randall Monroe having to spend 12+ hours debugging his machine because he accidentally installed a nested ubuntu update on a fedora machine (or something like that, I don't remember the specifics), it scares away general users.

Say one wants to run linux, how does one get it? Do programs need to be compiled in order to work? Is there any specific techsupport? Is there a standard model that can be used, from what i understand every machine can be different based on how things were installed, leading to situations of "well, i tested it on my machine, no clue why it's not working on yours" (I'm talking about base sound drivers, for example)

Windows and macs have techsupport and a relatively stable reference point. Generally, you can find answers to questions. It has a generally accessible interface, and due to their limited number of implementations of the core mechanics, developers can explicitly state whether or not their product will work on your machine.

Do we? (3, Insightful)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about a year ago | (#43371555)

And we need to come to terms with that fact and work towards improving the 'Linux Inside' brand image.

I wasn't aware that there was even a need to have a brand image for Linux, let alone improve it.

Linux is the bad kind of wonky (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371561)

Great for wonks, but unaproachable to the non-wonks around us. "It just works" is never something I expect when I start a Linux machine, but that is the main desire of most consumers.

For people who want freedom and understand the underpinnings of how computers actually work, Linux is great... sometimes. And that's the best I've ever been able to say about the operating system. This is coming from a CS guy who learned to program on a linux machine. I've never owned a linux machine and I'm not sure I plan on getting one because the maintenance requirements are just too high from the experience I've had.

Re:Linux is the bad kind of wonky (2)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43371713)

Heh, and it's just because of the ease of maintenance I use Linux (Kubuntu) machines.

Linux, it just works.

Who cares? "Final Answer" (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43371567)

The machine is the virtual machine with pretty windows and Play Store and touch screen and Chrome browser.

Linux is command-line stuff. Had this been some other Unix child or grandchild, or CPM for that matter, who cares?

They aren't buying Linux -- they're buying all that other stuff, like it or not.

Kernel != OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371569)

Have you heard RMS? The Linux kernel does not an OS make. Chrome OS may run on a Linux kernel, as does Android, but it is NOT anything like GNU Linux.

Google would have a bit of a black eye if they marketed it as Linux and people found out they can't run Linux apps on it. See also Windows Rt vs 8.

Oh, by the way... Due to the "bizarre" licensing of Linux, Google can call it whatever it wishes to. Calling it Google Chrome seems like a good marketing plan to me. You wouldn't be too impressed by Apple Mach OSX, now would you?

Re:Kernel != OS (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43371599)

How is it not anything like GNU/LINUX?
I have one on my desk, it runs X, it has lots of linux land tools and seems to run a chroot just fine.

Re:Kernel != OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371781)

If you install BB4win or any other Windows shell you still have Windows....

Re:Kernel != OS (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43371841)

What does that have to do with anything?
Chrome has X running on Linux, so not like I changed anything.

Brand Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371611)

Even if Linux has a flawless brand, Google would still likely use their own brand. Why? Because they want to be able to control it. They don't want a brand that is partially controlled or influenced by external parties.

What stigma?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371629)

It's making a big deal out of nothing. Really!

I just got off a support call two hours ago. I asked, "So you're using IE 10, what version of Windows are you using?"

"Explorer 10"

Telling folks that the OS is "Linux" means nothing and confuses them. They want their shit to work. They don't care. Really.

Tell an Apple something or another user that they are running iOS (whatever) - they don't care!

Guys, F/OSS guys - if your goal is to get into the consumer "space" then your "brand" means nothing - unless you can somehow market it as a superior (something) to consumer that they'll understand - they have no concept of an OS. None. It's like some of the new kids who program with scripting languages (Python, Perl, Java, Ruby, etc ...) who have no idea what a device driver is - that's the best analogy I can come up with.

Intel thought they were making some sort of "branding" thing with their "INtel Inside" stickers but most folks bought an "HP" or "DEll". Yes, I'm saying Intel marketing wasted a shit load of money.

I know.

I talked to "those"people.

No - they are NOT stupid. They are very smart and intuitive at what they do. When I explain things to them - and how to work around it - they are ON it!

They SEEM stupid because most of us are impatient with non-techies - to put it nicely.

The "I'm on explorer 10" guy? Well he's a lawyer working one something that would melt your feeble brain. Just say'in.

Re:What stigma?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371993)

There's no excuse for having mediocre *basic* knowledge about something that's used in pretty much every field.

And how exactly would you do that? (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43371643)

Linux is seen as a geek OS, the only way to change that is to make them leave. If you want to release something that's entirely not geeky, don't call it Linux call it something like... Android? ChromeOS? Ubuntu? Because the command-line style Linux by code warriors for code warriors isn't going to go away. Why fight an uphill battle to change it to marketing bullshit that would be patently untrue? If somebody tries to use "it's Linux" as a negative, just say "so's an Android phone, if you want an easy, user-friendly device it can be that but for the geeks who want to tweak everything with cryptic commands it can be that too." Of course, it would help if any of the desktop GUIs actually lived up to the "easy, user-friendly" part...

Re:And how exactly would you do that? (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#43371879)

Come on, how many of those people really know about the command line and more specifically one of the Linux command lines?

When they ever see a computer running Linux it's with a nice desktop, be it by means of Android or something KDE or Gnome and most wouldn't know any different.

I'm regularly at places with weird network restrictions and am one of the few able to get on it, if people borrow this Kubuntu computer and use Firefox or Opera their only comment is "Thanks, b.t.w, why is yours working?"

Intentional footshots? (4, Interesting)

SIGBUS (8236) | about a year ago | (#43371647)

That's at least part of the story. Note how the rare attempts at selling prebuilt Linux PCs, such as the early netbooks, have tended to have oddball custom Linux distros (Linpus? WTF?) instead of, let's say, Debian, Ubuntu, or even a RHEL clone. My cynical side says that this was done on purpose as a way of discrediting Linux in the eyes of the general population.

A more recent thing that doesn't help matters is the new X11 vs. Wayland vs. Mir kerfluffle. Considering how often I use X11 forwarding over SSH, I'm not looking forward to Wayland or Mir.

Both good and bad: the multitude of desktop environments. As unhappy as I am with GNOME 3 and Unity, at least there are others I can fall back on. Still, I think that Ubuntu's default of sending local search results to Amazon by default is toxic.

What else aren't they telling consumers? (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year ago | (#43371691)

They also don't tell consumers that the OS was written in a mixture of C and C++. Why are they hiding this too? Obviously, because it doesn't matter to the end user.

It doesn't change the user experience knowing the underlying implementation. If anything, by telling people that it is Linux, it will raise expectations that they can run all the software that they have heard about on Linux. I think that the name Chrome is more relevant to the nature of the platform than Linux because it is designed to work with web applications, not programs written to run on Linux distros.

So they can swap out the OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371699)

If the OS is not named in any way, Google can substitute a new one without any market effect other that what Google choose to advertise. No name == no problem with changes.

Why should they? (2)

paulpach (798828) | about a year ago | (#43371717)

Linux is just a kernel. Naming the whole system after a kernel seems a bit excessive to me, especially since it would be relatively simple to replace the kernel with other kernels such as the BSD, and no user would be able to tell the difference. Most of the software would still run without modification since the chromebooks are all about web apps and almost no native code.

Moreover, Linus and all other kernel developers game a written consent [kernel.org] to everyone to do this.

So the authors of the kernel are fine with this and gave written permission to do it. Google is fine with this and seeks what they perceive to be the best marketing strategy. Who are you to complain? this is really a matter to be resolved between the authors of the kernel and Google, no one else has any skin in this game.

Re:Why should they? (1)

yakirice (2548418) | about a year ago | (#43371905)

" Naming the whole system after a kernel seems a bit excessive to me"

I agree. I'll just start calling my phone an Ice Cream Sandwich phone instead of a Galaxy SII..

Elegant??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371749)

there's nothing elegant about anything Google does.

Linux RT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371751)

We just had a story about the confusion caused by Microsoft calling their tablet OS 'Windows RT' even though it can't run Windows programs, and now Chromebooks should be called 'Linux Chrome' (or something) even though they can't run most Linux programs?

'But I downloaded Steam for Linux and it won't run?'

Great plan.

So? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371753)

Ubuntu doesn't even mention the word Linux on their own front-page, go take a look. You'll have a hard time finding any reference to Linux without some serious digging.

Why? Pretty simple really. Ubuntu and others are looking to create their own "platform" ala Android, with Linux as the base kernel. It saves millions in R&D to have to create your own and the userland stuff can usualy be rebuilt. Beyond that? Neither Google nor Ubuntu (just as an example) really care if Linux benefits, if Linux is promoted. They're not interested in promoting a product that you can download for free and hack on yourself, that's not a wise way to lock people into a platform. They're interested in promoting their own products, and Linux quite simply is nothing more than a way for them to save money doing it.

Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43371789)

For the same reason why Mac OS X is not named "Apple BSD", or something. The whole is qualitatively much more than the sum of the components.

This IS how you improve it (2)

HalAtWork (926717) | about a year ago | (#43371795)

By releasing polished products that work well. Then the consumer incidentally finds out it runs on Linux and their opinion of it builds from there.

There is a word for that: commoditization (3, Informative)

morcego (260031) | about a year ago | (#43371801)

It is the same reason you don't see "Linux inside" on your Android phone, or any of the other hundreds of devices you see around you that are "secretly" running Linux. Know that credit card reading machine (POS)? Almost always, Linux.

The Operating System became a commodity, and the only think that is marketable is the interface.

Good because Chromebook is pretty awful (1)

Dutchmang (74300) | about a year ago | (#43371815)

I recently bought one of these (the $249 version) more out of curiosity than anything. It's a pretty bad experience that has led me to believe that ARM is as much the issue as anything. It is slower than molasses to load even a reasonably complex Web page. Slashdot and even GMail peg the thing... four or five seconds minimum to start reading.

And because it's locked down, Google pre-loads a bunch of obscure Chrome extensions that would otherwise be separate programs. Besides that, the build cheapness makes it a throwaway.

I love my Nexus 7, which is a bargain and constructed properly for the tablet use case. (It's also slow to load pages, leading me to suspect ARM.) Anyway, Chromebook is a netbook without any flexibility.

False (1)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about a year ago | (#43371825)

I think Google doesn't mention Linux because the target consumer has no idea whatsoever what a "Linux" is. They're trying to make the marketing message easier to digest. Probably a good way to go, in my opinion, and I LOVE my preferred Linux distros.

Oh for heaven's sake! (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about a year ago | (#43371849)

" Google didn't mention Linux because they know it will scare buyers away."

Or possibly, they know that 99% of non-techies have no idea what Linux is, and these non-techies are their target, and mentioning Linux will do nothing except confuse their potential customers. People don't care what's under the hood, as long as it works.

Here, let me give you a car analogy [worldcarfans.com]

Wrong focus (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#43371855)

And we need to come to terms with that fact and work towards improving the 'Linux Inside' brand image.

That is the wrong focus unless, of course, you are selling to buyers who are more concerned about Linux than whether or not the computer they are buying will serve their needs.

.
A big problem that Linux faces is that it is fragmented, and the "marketing" focus has been that it is Linux. What is really amazing is that most of the pro-Linux crowd do not see the fragmentation as a disadvantage.

With more and more computing being done on the web and in the cloud, why does it matter whether or not a computer runs Linux, Windows or whatever? That is the point that Google has realized. Consumers want functionality, not an OS.

The sooner the Linux crowd understands that, the better off Linux will be; of course, presuming Linux is not so far gone in the public's eye that it is not redeemable.

Branding Issue?!? (1)

radioact69 (1220518) | about a year ago | (#43371901)

Fuck you! Stay away from my OS.

Because Google only cares about one brand... (1)

Petronius (515525) | about a year ago | (#43371919)

its own. Nothing to do with the 'Linux' brand, whatsoever.

Everything is Linux (1)

technomom (444378) | about a year ago | (#43371941)

Um, Android is Linux too. So is my Linksys Router, and my cable box, my TV and probably parts of my car... really, whats the point of this article?

How about improving the Linux user experience? (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | about a year ago | (#43371949)

Or the install/distribution model? There are valid reasons why people don't want to mess with Linux. many don't want to get all into the technology. They just want something that works, works well, and works easily.

Look at the Mac. It's UNIX, but people don't know or care. It's about the experience and the value they receive.

Branding (1)

slazzy (864185) | about a year ago | (#43371965)

Google wants to build their own brand, not someone else's brand. Especially not one that any of their competition could start using as well, and undercut their pricing.

Google would have been stupid to use Linux (3, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#43372023)

in branding. Not because of any stigma (most of their audience never heard of Linux anyway); rather because the could not control the Linux brand. Anyone could build a LinuxBook "just like Google's" whereas only Google builds a ChromeBook. They can create a specific brand to differentiate their product from generic Linux machines; and use that to carve out a market niche.
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