Linux vendors have learned marketing
Posted Apr 26, 2012 6:18 UTC (Thu) by tajyrink
Parent article: The return of the Unix wars?
My take on this differentiation and branding was roughly that Linux vendors are finally learning ways to do marketing to consumers:
Effective marketing always loses the technical details and focuses on feelings and a strong brand instead of for example multiple brands. I'll be happy if there will be other Linux consumer/personal breakthroughs besides Android.
When it comes to MeeGo, Tizen, webOS - IMHO they are really your normal GNU/Linux distribution. The fact that Nokia, Samsung and Palm/HP had enough resources to write all the UI for applications again and some additional middleware does not get away from the fact that they're mostly normal distros.
It just reflects on the fact that we have so little free software mobile/touch oriented software, that we have a notion what is a "standard" Linux, because even though we know the technical architecture we tend to stare at the top level, ie. how things look. But if you take a look at Nemo Mobile for instance, it looks completely different but probably no-one would claim it's not "standard" Linux. The Nokia-MeeGo is essentially just the same, people just assume that vendors who differentiate have differentiated hugely on the plumbing layers as well. Nokia-MeeGo uses the standard pulseaudio, gstreamer, upstart, Qt etc. middleware. Ubuntu customizes even less (and Canonical has less resources), mostly not rewriting applications, basically just a shell for launching and switching between applications, while using GNOME otherwise.
I don't think that with more resources pouring into consumer/personal Linux, it's sane to assume everyone needs to adopt either GNOME or KDE as is, or some specific old or new middleware component, instead of doing their own differentiation. There is no better place to differentiate than the visible/touchable parts, but there are also opportunities in the plumbing layer to try to offer a better experience. Like with UIs, also on middleware side different target customers may not all be best served with the same "standard" components, especially if the standards are mostly our notions from the traditional desktop distribution world.
Note that I'm separating consumer/personal Linux from "less personal" consumer Linux - no-one seems to notice that Samsung or Sony are not using name-your-favorite-init-system on their Linux televisions, or that they lack GNOME/KDE for UI but instead the vendors have dared to do their own UI (Sony apparently even in Java). The television departments of those are not even seen as Linux vendors, mostly because they do everything in private. Distro-wise they don't differ much from the other in-house Linux vendors like webOS used to be.
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