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

Chris Ricker kaboom at
Sat Jun 25 13:43:50 UTC 2005

On Fri, 24 Jun 2005, Jeff Spaleta wrote:

> On 6/24/05, Chris Ricker <kaboom at> wrote:
> I see your point, and I raise you a point of semantics.
> I think its very difficult to "know" what an easily labelled group of
> people are interested in aggregate. That's my point. Lumping more than
> 3 novice linux users together and saying they are looking at linux
> because of X feature or technology, is a doomed endeavor.

That's the part I disagree with. There are obvious distinguishing factors 
between the distros which orient towards end-user desktops. Have a 
decision tree, find out what matters to the person, and go.

"Need box set purchasable at your favorite local book store complete with 
printed books, and DVDs and CDs"? SUSE Pro is that way.... (and see, I 
even managed to avoid snide comments about SUSE's, err, lack of quality 
control. Positive information, not negative comparisons! ;-)

"Want to try new NSA-developed security features which potentially prevent 
viruses and worms?" Fedora is this way....


The point being: there aren't many distros in the space Fedora is in. Of 
the ones there are, there's enough distinguishing about them to steer 
novice users appropriately (and if there weren't enough distinguishing 
them, that to me would argue that some of those distros should become 

> Its more like users who are interested in "security" in a general sense 
> might get a kick out of Fedora because of the SELinux integration 
> effort.

This is actually a good point, but one I take a bit differently than you. 
The biggest distinguisher between Fedora and the other distros in terms of 
what they provide to a potential customer in the same space, at least to 
me, is technology (there are certainly others, but that's the key one 
IMO). Fedora focuses much more on leading the technology and on developing 
and integrating cool, useful new features. That's true all over the space, 
not just in the security arena. GFS, Xen, free full Java stack, etc. So, 
the question is really: how do you market new technology to someone who 
has no idea what you're talking about? See below for one approach for one 
target group

> Here's a challenge for you, can you produce a rough draft of a 4 page
> pdf aimed at LUGers, that aims to address specific misconceptions in
> the LUG environments you have personally been associated with.  Once
> we have a working draft to discuss we can get feedback from other
> LUGs. something similar to the openoffice 4 page brocure maybe:

And that, to me, would be of little value. I can't think of a time I've 
ever seen a flyer distributed at a LUG, other than ones produced by the 
LUG itself promoting LUG events like barbecues or installfests (and man, 
those mid-90s ALE ones sure did get just a little bit out of hand! ;-)

One thing I see as being more useful for LUGs is pre-packaged presentation 
material for speakers. There's a lot of cool technology in Fedora that's 
perfect for 90-minute LUG presentations: Xen overview + demo, clustering, 
SELinux, LVM, etc. And LUGs usually seem to struggle for monthly 
presenters. Something like a talk outline + a few canned slides available 
to LUG presenters would help there 'cause preparing talks sucks. I'd 
volunteer more if I knew, hey I can go to fedora and get all the slides 
and a basic outline already, and then I just have to flesh them out a bit. 
Have the little Fedora logo (oh wait a minute, we don't have one yet ;-) 
on the slides, pass out live DVDs so people can play along, and let the 
technology and the presenter's descriptions of Fedora in the Q&A do the 
selling of the tech and the re-educating about Fedora....


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