Ubuntu Desktop Marketing and PR [Discussion Board]

Hi everyone!

I am creating this discussion board where all the Ubuntu Marketing and Public Relations related stuff can go.

I have tried official mailing list and IRC channel with no response. For the modern fast paced world I believe a Telegram Channel Group or at least a Discussion Board as this one is more appropriate.

Marketing ideas, proposal, and planning, questions etc.


There is a such a thing called Technology Adoption Life Cycle. It describes how most of the technologies are adopted. The whole market is divided into segments.


We can see that Ubuntu on Desktop is in the “Techies” or “Visionaries” segment. It is a tiny fraction of what is there. Mainstream Markets are taken by the so-called Gorillaz. In the case of Desktop market the Gorilla is Microsoft.

However, we can see that between an early market and mainstream market there is also a chasm. The way to cross it is by taking over completely a niche. Be #1 in a certain segment of the market.

By taking over a niche, it helps to “bridge” this gap, and go into the main market. This is how Apple did it back in the early 90’s by targeting graphic designers and printing specialists. (This is just before the early days of the internet. They hoped that the computer graphic designers will use their computer and like it so much that they will write and print about it).

In a similar way, Ubuntu could target web developers. Make them have Ubuntu as prefered system.

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In Ubuntu case, it falls under the second law. If you can’t be first in a category (main desktop), set up a new category that you can be first in (Linux desktop). This relates to the previous post regarding crossing the chasm.

I think that if Ubuntu wants to be succesful on the desktop, it should be targetted at the mainstream markets. All GNU/Linux distributions are way more common in the “early market”. But for these users, other distributions that are more do-it-yourself than Ubuntu are more appealing to them. Ubuntu, as one of the most easy-to-use GNU/Linux distributions is almost destined to please the mainstream market. Ubuntu could already be regarded as a whole product solution. I know it will be hard, but Ubuntu has to try to conquer the area dominated by Windows. Also, I would focus on everyday private users and not on professional users, because they are better off with distributions with a professional support like SUSE and Fedora/Red Hat.

The second law worked out a lot of times for Linux. It is first in almost all new technologies that appeared after the 1990s’ like mobile devices (Android); web servers and super computers. But Ubuntu happens to be in the already dominated desktop-computer market. That means that we’ve to focus on smaller things, that we provide and Windows doesn’t. It’s good that Canonical gave up on Ubuntu Touch and Unity/Mir and now focuses on only providing a very good server and desktop OS, which are realistically the two markets where Ubuntu has a real chance to dominate.

I think that the most important thing is to make Ubuntu better known by the wide majority. We also have to debunk the classic “Linux clichés” like that it’s hard to use and not suited for normal people. Ubuntu isn’t destined to take over a niche, there are way better and more specialized distributions for that. It needs to go far into the mainstream direction. Actually, when you only look at Linux, Ubuntu would then be in a niche. If it becomes no. 1 over there, it would eliminate the issue that Ubuntu is slowly losing the Linux market.

Ubuntu should be targeted at home users and small business users who want an easy-to use, reliable and (very important) beautiful system. Windows these days is very cluttered and constantly updating, so it wouldn’t be hard to catch on over there.

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Also, it is important to look at Ubuntu from the perspective of, as Simon Sinek says, the Golden Circle. Questions of Why(Purpose - What is the cause? What do you believe in?), How(Process - Specific actions taken to realize the Why), What(Result - The result of Why. Proof)

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I have not had the chance to look at all these but please do not create a forum reply for everything. You should try summarizing all these materials and try proposing something in concrete for others to come in a discuss what needs attention.

For some reason, I am not allowed to upload more than one picture per post, so I have to use replies. I do work on the proposal right now

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I think practically this is how Ubuntu should approach this issue:

We should approach this by dividing the audience into target groups. Then we can emphasize which of the Ubuntu’s(or Open Source’s) benefits appeal the most to them, additionally, we can target them using online publications, social media and covey the message tailored to them.

Here are some target groups that I can think of (they can overlap):

  • Switchers: First-time Linux users who are testing Ubuntu to possibly switch.
  • Casual User: a casual user who is familiar Ubuntu and has simple computing needs like Browsing the web.
  • Gamers: Gamers who play games on Steam or PlayOnLinux
  • Users of Creativity Applications: People who either user creativity applications (like Gimp, Inkscape, Blender, Kdenlive) or use Adobe suite and are interested in open alternatives.
  • Developers: All kind of developers
  • Businesses interested in Ubuntu Server for Applications
  • Businesses interested in Ubuntu Server for IoT and Infrastructure
  • Businesses interested in Ubuntu Desktop
  • Domain Specific Users: This is a hard one to pin down but think of Accountants, Doctors etc. who have very specific computing needs

For each of these group we should create documentation, press and casual marketing material for example:

  • Switchers
    – Benefits: free of cost, works on old hardware, security, can be installed alongside other OS, large community support, customizable, promotes freedom etc.
    – Marketing channels: social media, evangelism, YouTube, mainstream technology publications etc.
    – Materials to prepare and/or promote: Ultra-focused migration guides, videos, testimonies etc.

  • Businesses interested in Ubuntu Desktop
    – Benefits: almost 100% savings on licenses, availability of the tools and technologies they are used to, benefits for enterprise developers by using the same environment on desktop, growing pool passionate administrators at similar salaries of Windows administrators, reduced dependence of proprietary company, ensuring sustainability as an effect of open source and community etc.
    – Marketing channel: mainstream business publications, mainstream enterprise technology publications, trade shows
    – Materials to prepare: Professionally written articles, whitepapers, presentations, testimonials, talks

and so on…

For each of these groups, we should identify how to target them channels including:

  • Reddit Communities
  • Social Media Accounts and Groups
  • YouTube Channels
  • Professional Publications
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Forums
  • IRC
  • Slack / Telegram groups

Very good points. I would also like to add that from my experience it is easier to nurture and appeal to existing user base. What I mean is that all the subgroups mentioned above may have different requirement and views on what “the best” system should be. As of right now, Ubuntu userbase mostly consists of tech-savvy people and developers. And there are different kinds of them: Frontend, Backend, Fullstack, Mobile, Desktop etc

For marketing research, more relevant info could be found in the latest Stack Overflow Survey https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/

48.3% of respondents use “Linux” as their platform.
The most loved platform also is Linux with the whooping 76.5%

That’s quite impressive., considering that there is not that much of marketing from Canonical or RedHat side.