Tip #6 for Ubuntu Evangelists (and Advocates)

Tip #1, Tip #2, Tip #3, Tip #4, and Tip #5 are behind us. And a few of them have generated some cantankerous interesting comments. (Go ahead check for yourself!)

So far, I've encouraged would-be-evangelo-advocates to enjoy Ubuntu themselves every day, to skip Colonel and Yak-like historical comparisons, to pronounce Ubuntu in a manner respectful its origin (oo-boon-too), to be selective when choosing an advocat-ee, and to direct people towards their local community. The tip-fest continues with...

Tip #6:
Do not compare.

Ubuntu AdvocateUbuntu Advocate

Never compare Ubuntu with other operating systems, free or not. When you do, you draw people's attention away from your message and towards a competitor's (even if a friendly one). You also frame Ubuntu in their context, which is usually "just software".

Don't name competitors' names. Refer to their products only if asked specifically, and only in the general sense. And if this happens, keep steering your conversation back to Ubuntu.

If you do this, you'll be able to spend more time spreading enthusiasm about Ubuntu rather than re-hashing nightmarish experiences with other systems...

Could there possibly be more?! Check back for Tip #7 tomorrow. It will be something I've learned the hard way by trying, failing, re-thinking, and then trying again.


Be an Advocate extraordinaire! The Ubuntu Advocacy Kit awaits:


"Ubuntu Advocate" image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by "garak". http://www.flickr.com/photos/garak/6560558859/sizes/z/in/photostream/


Am I the only one who still uses the "Ubuntu Linux" sentence? I think that it's very important to point out that Ubuntu IS Linux.


And what about GNU? And GNOME? And the rest? Ubuntu is not JUST Linux. To be honest, Linux is the most hidden part of Ubuntu: I daily use GNU tools, but only rarely use Linux features directly.

Also remember that Ubuntu is based on Debian, and Debian is one of the few GNU distributions that offer alternatives to Linux.

Sorry for insisting, but giving credit is important!


You aren't the only one, but that tagline is deprecated.

The importance to those who aren't interested in technical minutia or computer science history is about zero. And those are the exact people that we'd like to reach out to. They don't even care about the thousands of other components that go into Ubuntu and don't happen to begin with the letter "L".

More on dropping the "L" word can be found here. http://randall.executiv.es/node/15


Hmm, but that takes us to another point, the possibility of separation between Linux and Ubuntu (as in what happened between Linux and Android). The threat of Ubuntu being incompatible with the rest of the Linux world (we already see that in USC that is Ubuntu specific, Unity, U1 etc.) is alarming and makes me really sad. That's the main reason why I think that dropping Linux from "Ubuntu Linux" is a really bad idea. (As somebody already pointed out in discussion under that post, most people don't know the difference between Linux and Ubuntu so it doesn't affect their decision.)

BTW I look after a quite few machines in my neighbourhood (actually I look after a whole company running on Linux + few of my friends which I convinced :) ) and the main reason for the switch was 1) security, 2) cost, 3) speed. (To my surprise they really like Unity :D)
I also try other distros every now and then (Fedora, Chakra, XUbuntu) but I still find Ubuntu the most user friendly distro.


Thanks for using free images and pointing to the source, now.

I just want to add that I always mention the source of Ubuntu which is Debian. Without Debian Ubuntu would not be possible.

I also don't like the wording 'competitors'. Choice is good and we should not be afraid of.

If one chooses Ubuntu with knowing the benefits and disadvantages of other operating systems, this is sustainable.


As much as I love the roots of what has become the Ubuntu OS, the general (non developer, non free(dom) OS crowd) public doesn't care. Not even one bit. That's sad, but it's what I've observed.

Rather than change them, or spend countless cycles educating, it's faster to advocate Ubuntu and to get on with business. In years to come we can have a "now that you've enjoyed Ubuntu, would you like to know the roots?" presentation.

We don't have a lot of time. I hope we'll hurry.


But the moment where you speak about the roots never happen in practice, because you will always think "this is more important to get new member than scare away the people for technical details".

For example, if we take in account that Ubuntu started ~ 8 years ago, wouldn't it be time for the first persons advocated to be educated about Debian, and do you do it ? After how long how did they react ?

And in fact, thinking "you do not need to know where it comes from" is something that cause trouble later :
- once people learn it, some will start to think someone lied to them ( so a little bit more distrust into Ubuntu and Canonical ). See how people always say that Canonical do not contribute upstream, and how this damage Canonical business ( despites them not doing anything different from others smaller player on this point ). The feeling that Canonical appropriate the work of others, and the alienation that follow could IMHO be linked to that.

- some people will have the feeling to have been treated like childs, and think that Ubuntu is for "noob" ( cause if you treat people as if the real world is too complex for them, some who have no problem with complexity handling may feel belittled ), and therefore will either be angry, or just move away later. And I think they are the people who should be kept. After 8 years, the number of people who contribute to Fedora or Debian is still much higher than the number of people registered as MOTU in launchpad. Technical people feeling alienated could be a reason.


I disagree. These moments do indeed happen. Usually they are met with comments like "I didn't know Ubuntu was powered by _____. Hmm. Had I known, I might have not had the courage to give it a try."

This is not the time to enroll those that enjoy Ubuntu (and are potential advocates) into computer history courses, nor is it the time to divert them into other projects. (Note that I am talking about the mainstream Ubuntu crowd and not core devs and hackers.) Once we reach a significant market share we can (and should) revisit.


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