[Ilugc] why it is important to promote linux

kenneth gonsalves lawgon at thenilgiris.com
Mon Jul 2 13:36:41 IST 2012


caveat - this is a long Girish-style post full of my personal opinions,
so if you continue reading it, do not blame me - you have been
warned ;-)

First, some background: some years back I attended a foss promotion
meeting attended by big shots from IBM, Sun, HP etc. The HP guy was most
vehement in supporting open source and attacking Microsoft. I asked why
all his ads say 'Compaq recommends Microsoft Windows'. He said that
Microsoft pays a big subsidy to any company that puts in that sentence
in their ads, so the marketing people put it in. Also Microsoft will not
pay if some models come with Linux and the word 'linux' is prominent. If
the word is there, it should be in the smallest possible type.

At times Acer (and some other companies) release models - usually
flagship models - that ship with linux. The rule laid down by Microsoft
is that this should be mentioned in small type and the recommendation of
Windows in a very prominent position. In short, Microsoft does it's best
to see that the term Linux does not get prominence anywhere. So what
else is new - we all know this.

What we all do not realise is that a lot of companies that produce linux
distros - and a lot of people who use the said distros are also helping
Microsoft to play down the term Linux. If one looks at the sites of
redhat, fedora, suse, debian, mandriva, one finds plentiful mention of
the word linux. But the word is missing in the sites of two 'popular'
distros - android and ubuntu. If you ask most Linux users what OS they
use, they will say 'Linux' (or GNU/Linux). But if you ask people using
distros like Ubuntu or android, they will say 'Ubuntu' or 'android'.

Similarly hardware companies that ship machines with linux are persuaded
to use terms like 'we ship with ubuntu' or 'we ship with android' rather
than say 'we ship with linux'.

I will not go into how the distros that disown Linux also fail to
contribute back to the community ... this is too well known.

So let us promote - and encourage others to promote - Linux (or, if you
so desire GNU/Linux.

Kenneth Gonsalves

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