Attention / Interest / Desire / Action,, or why marketing 'the Fedora project' is a bad idea.

Jeff Spaleta jspaleta at
Fri Jun 24 14:21:36 UTC 2005

On 6/24/05, Mike MacCana <mikem at> wrote:
> Er, why? Why does targeting (or 'pandering to') an audience mean you
> will likely mislead them more or less than if you scatter your message
> to the universe?

Because I don't think fedora or any other distribution is the obvious
choice for any particular group of people or individual person. 
Firefox, openoffice, codeweavers... these items exist in a near vacuum
of choice and by their very nature they have a clear directive to
market towards existing windows users. I'm not sure fedora has such a
clear directive nor is fedora positioned to be the "one true
alternative" in the space where its operating.

Linux distributions are like breeds of dogs.   How exactly do you market
one breed of dog compared to another breed of dog successfully to the
casual dog buyer?
The casual dog buyer, who doesn't really know the maintainence issues
and temperament of each breed. And they only experience with pet
ownership previous was a gerbil.  You make a mistake and you pair a
dog with an owner that is a poor match.. and it can end tragically. 
Popularity of a breed drives initial interest, but it also leads to a
high rate of abadonment.

I want to make sure we don't herd people to the answers we think they
want, simply because we have a vested interest in this one breed.  I'd
rather help people to the linux distribution that works best for them.
If its not fedora.... I am perfectly okay with that.  I'd rather see
us help guide the linux courious into asking the right questions and
making the right choices for themselves.  If that means mepis or
ubuntu or mandrake or knoppix or even fedora... great!

> Then you'd rather avoid marketing.

There might be a deep truth to that. I'm intimately aware that I might
be a poor fit for this part of the project. If my ideas are contrary
to the momentum and direction of activities, I'll gladly fade into the
background in this part of the overall fedora project effort and let
others play a strongly role.

> The Linux curious will try a Linux distro. Because they want to.

Indeed.  My issues are more about the tone of the engagement than the
effort to engage.
I'm wary of a goal that is narrowly defined to be "Get people
interested in Fedora"
I would be much happier if the goal was "Get people interested in
trying linux, including Fedora"

> Chances are, with Gentoo's screaming 'watching text scroll by makes me a
> Linux expert' zealots and Debian's 'troll angrily and loudly on every
> Fedora story on Slashdot' approach, it'll be either Debian or Gentoo.
> Do you think that technically minded user, who's nevertheless used to
> Windows, would be happier with a distro that can probe his monitor, or
> one that'll ask him for 'modelines', when he doesn't know what they are?

This is what I am very wary of. I do not believe its in the linux
community's best interest to draw direct comparisons between this
distro versus any other.   "You're cocker-spaniel is totally not as
good for a first time dog owner as my golden retriever." I do not
believe that its approprate to imply that Fedora is superior to Gentoo
or to Debian. I want to make sure that we focus on having people ask
questions and draw their own conclusions about what is valuable to
them.  Fedora should be the Progressive Car Insurance Company of the
linux distributions. If a linux 'competitor' is a better fit for
you... great... glad to have helped you find a linux solution that
works best for you.

> > I think the website should focus on how to take "action".
> Yeah you could call! Let them know what the CD (and
> the real distro) can do, and what it can't as well.

I have no feelings about yet another domain name. My comments are
directed at the tone and the content of whatever website is going to
be used to interact with potential fedora users.

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