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Freedomware Marketing < Apple Marketing

Tux bit an Apple

I have a little secret to disclose. I sometimes visit, not because I have an Apple product. I don't have a Mac and I don't have an iPod nor an iPhone nor iWhatever. Often the sole reason for me going there is to look at the design of the homepage, what new shiny thing do they have to show off. I may be a geek with no life, but pretty much anything that comes out of Apple just screams "You want me! You want me baaad!" :D

OK, that may have been a little bit out of line, but I think quite a few readers here may get the point. Apple is slick. And when I say slick I mean it to the fullest meaning of the term, and probably even more. They have this whole world, or an illusion of one at least, the world of class, style, simplicity, cleanliness, beauty - irresistible, almost like forbidden fruit - almost, as for the right price, you too can take a bite, and Apple can make more money.

But one thing it misses, this beautiful world of Apple, is real freedom. Hey, you took the bite, you made the deal with the devil, don't expect your soul to be owned by you. :) OK I know, another exaggeration, but there really is some truth in it. It's like taking the blue pill in the Matrix and enjoying your ignorance. It's like a golden cage, so beautiful you're barely even aware of the bars, or just don't want to see them. Apple is in control, but you, sort of, love your boss. Well.. almost..

Freedomware is different. It is about Freedom. You are the boss. You are in control. And your computer as well as the system it runs reflects You, your personality. With Freedomware you not only took the red pill, you already won the war. You are in a free land, and nobody is going to tell you that one way or another is better for you.

I am not going to be getting into an argument of which of the two better. I'll just say that I personally consider the latter to be a more logical choice. Sooner or later, the taste of the bite which sold your freedom away will be bitter and you will wonder why can't you be the one in control.

What I want to point out, however, is that we can have both the freedom and the wonderland that Apple built. We can offer this wonderland to the masses so as to make Freedomware irresistible to them. Instead of biting an Apple that poisons you to ignorance of your own freedom, you get to take a deep breath of fresh air on a sunny spring day with beautiful fields awaiting you to take initiative and explore. "Now that you've got the energy, let's party!

But no. The only one who came closest to marketing GNU/Linux the way Apple does is Ubuntu. And it's... um.. brown and cheesy. I mean, people hugging each other smiling? COME ON! We don't want to see cheesy smiling faces. We want smile ourselves, out of sheer impression we get from what we see Freedomware represents. We want to feel blown away. We want to feel like reaching to our pockets because "this is just something I gotta have" and then chuckle as we realize "no no no, this is free, leave your wallet alone!".

Heck.. we have so much going for Freedomware. In many cases it is probably even more compelling that what Apple has to offer. We just have to attune our message to the way messages are most efficiently delivered in a capitalist society we are in: Good Marketing!

You may say this is like tricking people, brainwashing them, and we are all better because we stand for some ethical values. But which, exactly, ethical principle are we violating by trying to reach people who would probably otherwise be totally ignorant towards it, to tell them that they can live a freer life in this digital age, starting by changing their computing platform??? If you wanna call it "brainwashing", fine! We brainwash them from previous brainwashing! ;)

Seriously, I wont take a no for an answer on this one. If you want realism mixed with idealism I think this is one of the rare points at which the two meet without cancelling each other out. This is not an "Open Source - let's not talk about freedom cause suits hate hippy idealists" kind of thing. This is about going full on with what we are about, but saying it the right way, tuning our frequency to the receptors of the masses - good marketing that applies to Freedomware.

Look at Apple. Drool. And then think of ways we can make our own beautiful world SPEAK to the masses and make them drool over it too - until they get it - until Freedomware totally wins all markets and proprietary, old, bloated, restrictive software becomes a relic of the past - a dark middle age of the software industry.

Oh and.. the term "Freedomware" is a must have. It is quite possibly the most marketing-wise term ever used to refer to Free-as-in-freedom software! :)

Marketing. Marketing. Marketing. For Freedomware. I have a feeling I'll be repeating this for quite a while to come. And then... there will be an organization founded to do just that.. Oops.. not telling any more. ;) - Keeping you in suspense, another great way to market!



I don't know what it is

I don't know what it is with you and apple Smiling . When I look at, all I think is "okay, so this is apple's website". Looking around a bit more I find demo videos that won't play without quicktime. I guess apple marketing is not for people who don't feel like installing apple software?

but what should we be


but what should we be marketing ???
should we market the software or market the freedoms that this software gives you?

freedom is important for us, but many of the other people who are still on the proprietary side don't care much for that because they think they're doing just fine..
some try GNU/Linux just after they saw the Compiz Fusion effects
I don't know whether we should care for these kind of users or not, because they'll probably try anything that looks fancy or has nice features without caring for freedom.

I think the biggest challenge is getting them to care and realize what their digital rights are before it's too late and they get stuck with data and files in patented/proprietary formats (DRM,OOXML... etc) that we won't be able to handle migration from.

BTW, I think ubuntu is doing well (but nothing to do with the smiley faces Sticking out tongue )

Hmh, maybe cause I'm a

Hmh, maybe cause I'm a former Apple fan.. Smiling

But I really do think that even their web site is a good example in simplistic yet still shiny and effective web design (who says shiny has to be complex). Add that their products are just as simplistic looking yet shiny the two form a picture still almost unique in the industry - and that's in big part what helps sell their computers.

About requiring QuickTime, sure I think it's a bad move and wouldn't suggest it to anyone else, but then again it plays with Totem on GNU/Linux and you can get QuickTime on Windows. The audience is still fairly large and Apple doesn't really care then. It's their format and it is in fact still much more known that our .ogg for example.

But web site is just a nice starting point. I think it doesn't require a genius to see that Apple rules in marketing. Look at the iPhone hysteria they created. We may dismiss it as hysteria and hype and hence a negative thing, but it works. We can (and often do) say the same thing about Ubuntu, which again doesn't come close to Apple in their marketing, but I don't think too many people would complain about Ubuntu pushing the word out about GNU/Linux in ways that nobody ever did. If the side effect must be silly hype then so be it. The results may still be good if the product being marketed is a Good Thing!

Well, in fact, I believe we

Well, in fact, I believe we should be marketing all of what you just said - the whole combination. As I said, I'm not talking about "Open Source" "let's not talk about freedom" way. This is not about hiding one particular part of what Freedomware is at the expense of another. I don't think this is neither the good nor best way to do it. We need to show Freedomware for what it is, for ALL that it is - quality software, shiny software, excellent development model, empowering to the user (freedom), good and green towards the society and the world - all of it!

Sure it's a challenge because of the diversity of the Freedomware world, but I don't think it is that hard if we just think systematically. Just ask a question "who are we targeting?". If the answer is "home computer users" (which is I believe currently the biggest battlefield.. it is where MS has 90% of the market) then we should see what these home computer users want, what makes them tick, what can make them utterly excited about software even if they don't usually get excited about it? I am pretty sure Apple is capable of doing just that. Why wouldn't we be?

If they don't initially care so much about freedom, show them another aspect of Freedomware that they care about, but don't exactly hide the fact that this is because of freedom. Heck, the name we would use is "Freedomware" - it's in the name! If they want fun and games, tell them about all of the games available as Freedomware on GNU/Linux - sure we don't have all of the mainstream proprietary gaming stuff, but neither did Apple for quite a while and they could still attract three times bigger market than GNU/Linux.

If they want productivity, attracting them should be even easier. If they are afraid of choice, choose for them based on their needs (and let's get rid of that darn myth that too much choice must hurt GNU/Linux adoption, if it does, then you are doing something wrong, period.).

In the end, the goal should be to make Freedomware this new buzzword everyone talks about, one that stands for "that software which is so good and yet so free, who wouldn't want it!?"... You know, Open Source as a marketing term was successful, but pity that it was from the beginning based on hiding one part of the message. The term is being severely tainted because of that today. Hence I suggest going with "Freedomware" which does not have such problems. It is simple and understandable. It is a marketable term.

But that's the thing. Free Software communities are still largely oblivious to the concept of marketing. We can't get anywhere, we can't get pass the challenges posed if we don't even talk about it.

Well, now we do.. at least the few of us. And maybe some more conversations get started. Eye


Here's a marketing idea:

Here's a marketing idea: make a survey-like thing to find out why home users aren't using freedomware, but make it fun and viral and make it imply those reasons aren't impossible to overcome.

Think of the "I'm a PC! I'm a Mac!" marketing (from apple!). But more interactive.

Why aren't you using freedomware? Pick an answer! After picking the answer, one gets to see a silly video of a non-freedomware user who doesn't get it, and someone who successfully worked around the problem.

(sorry this was written in a hurry)

Good stuff... my opinion.

libervisco is correct Mac sells sexy, sleek, clean, fun, all bundled with absolute and total lock in!
Mac's current marketing is focused on drawing people into a false sense of security via a very progressive image. They have turned their devices into sexy models. Models that seem to seductively say if you use me you will be like all of the really cool and enlightened people who use me too. It is in short a complete and well generated illusion.

Thank goodness for us to promote Freedomware we do not need the millions to create a false sense of security. Nor will we really need to spend millions in complex and seductive advertising to sell an illusion. It is truly secure and we have the real deal.

Don't get me wrong there is a lot to discuss and do there probably will always be really. Some of the groundwork has already been set in place. But like libervisco suggests we need to define the look that conveys peace of mind, security and freedom that only Freedomware can provide to people worldwide. It needs to be clean simple, inviting and appealing.

Here is a rough draft/concept for a possible Freedomware logo that I came up with a couple of nights ago. While it is not finished it is a start. What are your thoughts?

Sorry, but to me that looks

Sorry, but to me that looks like a guy who is trapped in a barrel, seen from above. How about a flying bird, a sky, a horizon, or something like that?

well... I've seen that logo


well... I've seen that logo on But still wondering what it represents

You mean like the Novell's


You mean like the Novell's Videos??
I think that the Trusted Computing Animation would be much friendly.. that little dude would be a nice mascot for Joe User I think Laughing out loud .



No need to apologize. Eye Pretty funny though. Smiling

The idea was...


...that it represents a person who is raising their hands in freedom or opening their arms. The disk or barrel Eye was eventually going to have a soft impression of the continents to represent the world and some light reflections etc... If you close one eye and turn your head to the left the person kinda sorta looks like an F... kinda. LOL

I put it on and so I could see what it looks like in the wild.

I am not 100% set on it being the "one." But it was something that I stumbled across while asking what is the simplest way to communicate Freedomware in an easy to remember logo.

I am going to start a thread in the forums so that we can discuss the logo some more. I will add the link to this discussion.

It looks a lot like the


It looks a lot like the copyright symbol... Sad
Turn it 180° to create a copyleft symbol. Laughing out loud

I think the symbol that most conveys freedom is a slave braking his chains.
Somebody opening up his arms or offering a hand would convey openess.

As for the sexiness of GNU/Linux, I think Tux (and all derivatives) is best. Smiling
He's cute & funny.

Animals are used for most open source stuff: Firefox, Iceweasel, Azureus, Emule, Linux, GNU, BSD, SUSE, etc
There's a reason for it: People like them.
That's also why plush animals sell well, and not plush windows. ^^

As for Ubuntu's logo being cheesy, I happen to like it a lot and find that it perfectly fits the product.

Oh I do like the Ubuntu

Oh I do like the Ubuntu logo itself! But put in a literal wallpaper it's a bit cheesy IMHO, because of all of the extra elements visible.

On a wallpaper you can see people's faces, with their artificial (or not, it doesn't really matter) smiles, hugging each other.. blah.. On a logo you see three dots in a circle, which represents those same people, but at least it leaves your imagination the chance to imagine who these people are and what they are doing. They don't have to be smiling. They might as well be sitting on chairs in a circle having an interesting debate, or sitting to their desks working on a new cool software project. Or they could be three people from three parts of the world cooperating or discussing something on the internet.

But a picture as cheesy as those initial Ubuntu wallpapers ruin it. I think they could've come up with a much better way to represent their logo and who they are.

That's really all I meant by my criticism towards Ubuntu visual identity. Good that they aren't doing those wallpapers anymore, but I think some things with Ubuntu marketing could still be improved. As I said, though, I still consider them to be at the top when it comes to marketing Free Software. So my criticism is merely a statement that it could be EVEN better.


@KIAaze like this?


Or this?

Forum thread


As mentioned in a previous comment I have started a forum thread here to continue the discussion about a possible logo for Freedomware.



Yes Smiling

GNU/Linux in the home


GNU/Linux in the home market will not happen until it get into the workplace. people buy computers for their home so they can bring their work home and they will stick with whats familiar. if their work rolls out windows workstations with office 2003, that is what the home user will have. of course, there are exceptions, but the majority will buy what they use at work.

if the GNU/Linux community wishes to get a larger market share, they need to start catering to the big businesses out there. get in contact with the companies Cost Savings department and show them how GNU/Linux will save them thousands upon thousands of dollars in license fees and hardware upgrades. unfortunately, training is where the GNU/Linux community gets hit because, believe it or not, pointing and clicking isnt as easy as everyone thinks (just look at what happened with MS Office 2007 and how everyone hates it because they rearranged the buttons). now, if Sun were to offer free or relatively cheap OOo training, then we would be rolling.

Funny you should mention

Funny you should mention Office 2007, it is the best thing MS has ever done for freedomware and GNU/Linux.

How? For many users, upgrading to a sufficiently windows-like Linux distribution with OpenOffice will require less training than upgrading to MS Office 2007 and Vista. If the sysadmin knows GNU/Linux and is able to roll it out, that's going to bring quite a few GNU/Linux systems in offices, and eventually more GNU/Linux at home with it.

Also, nowadays there are many home users who don't have a computer to be able to take their work home, but to email and surf the web. Also some companies are switching to google docs for their office needs... for home users who don't need MS office for either reason, there's gOS. Any other distribution will work just as fine for them, but look what hype can do.

"You want me!" just for Apple?


Well, not quite. Check out the Asus Eee notebook - 300 USD, 2 pounds, 7" screen, Linux pre-installed. People had the "I want that!!" feeling right from when it was announced in 9/2007, long before it came out and was available.

300K pieces sold in 4Q2007, with many more to come in 2008. How's that for Freedomware marketing?

I was in an Apple Store today...

... and I remembered this discussion and observed what they did:

  • You get to play with it.
  • What you can do with it is shown on the walls.
  • It is all smooth and glows (including the lighting). "Everything is the right color."
  • Optical illusions, for example the dock icons leaning back with a wallpaper in one-point perspective that has the same vanishing point with the monitor tilted back
  • Small ad for a class for the newest OS X version
  • The technology is the important part; the furniture, floor, and all else is very plain. The tables were simple wood and the floor was just a dull, unexciting gray.
  • Posters on stands that compare the products to each other, in order from most to least expensive
  • Something to show off in the front window. There was a big iPhone model in the window.
  • The employees mostly leave you alone (presumably until you ask). I'm not sure about this one, I will have to investigate this more in future visits.

Great observations. I think

Great observations. I think in most of this the common theme seems to be "beauty in simplicity" and just the overall tidiness and neatness. It's definitely not the splashy cluttered in-your-face style that some companies used to and sometimes still do exhibit.

lack of clutter

Speaking of the lack of clutter, I just noticed that there were no obvious wires. The only ones I can remember were just connecting speakers, and those were hidden against the wall since the computers with the speakers were on the sides.

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