According to this blog post, Linux companies should do more to market their distribution. Here’s what is being done on the Ubuntu side, and some of the reasons why Linux companies do not run a full marketing campaign:
Marketing is expensive, and for many growing Linux companies, including the established ones, a large marketing campaign is really out of the question. Also, covering large areas such as the US is extremely expensive, for even a 30 second commercial. True, it could be done, yet getting a spot on a national channel is difficult.
Another reason is a lack of education among non-users. Most non-users do not know about Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, or any other Linux distribution. Not everyone knows what Linux even is. In my opinion, and 30, perhaps even 45 second commercial could still not provide enough information for the general public to gain more users. I know this, because when I am walking around in an “Ubuntu” shirt, people will sometimes ask me what it is, and I tell them, but they still can only get a basic understanding in a few sentences.
Now, moving away from the companies to the community…
The community is one of Ubuntu’s largest assets. The community is the powerhouse behind the marketing for Linux. With Local Community Teams, marketing is being preformed at the local level, tailoring to the needs of the community around them. LoCo team give out free CDs, hold events, and help provide support for users in their area.
Thousands of volunteers take time out of their day to help bring new users to the system that they like. Many people want to see mass adoption take place, but it takes effort. Marketing is taking place, only on the local level. I have seen many people convert to Ubuntu and use it on a daily basis. My CD stand has distributed more than 345 CDs in less than a year. LoCo Teams are working.
LoCo teams are a large part of Ubuntu’s success on the desktop. LoCo teams advocate Ubuntu to people who would otherwise not even know about it. No other Linux distribution has LoCo teams, something that brings together users in an organized manner, and helps make marketing much easier. For example, Fedora has what they call “Ambassadors,” which advocate Fedora to the public in their area. The problem? There are only about 5 people for the Southeast United States. There are at least 100 Ubuntu LoCo members in the Southeast, and I am making a low estimation. The other large distributions such as OpenSUSE, Mandriva, and PCLinuxOS do not have local advocation teams, which in my mind is the best way to market a new system.
It could really be said that the other distributions aren’t cutting the slack when it comes to marketing. There are dedicated people behind every project, and LoCo teams are the perfect way to bring that dedication together. Linux could advance faster if other distributions had their own teams, helping move their product forward. As a member of a LoCo team, I can say for sure what effect LoCo teams can have on a project. They bring together the community, they help create interest in the project, and most importantly bring new users to their distribution.