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Linux and branding

May 03, 2010, 20:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Brockmeier)

"Marketing isn't the first word that one associates with the Linux community, but it is a necessary activity for those who wish to bring new users into the fold (and perhaps make a buck at the same time). The recent Ubuntu rebrand, and the subsequent media attention surrounding it, provides an opportunity to consider the larger question of branding for Linux distributions and open source projects.

"The brand of a project includes the name, theming, artwork, fonts, logos, and even audio cues for a project. Community projects, especially those with a primary sponsor, have a unique set of challenges and considerations when it comes to branding. Companies promoting proprietary projects can pour millions into building cohesive brands, and have the ability to dictate branding decisions from the top down. No one at Microsoft need worry about whether branding decisions will affect the community distributions of Microsoft Office, because there aren't any. Nor do the decision makers in Redmond need to worry about offending a community art team when imposing brand changes, or worry about a lack of talent when it comes time to develop and implement branding.

"Not so for community distributions and open projects. The tradeoff for strong community involvement is a diverse set of stakeholders that will want to weigh in on branding, but come with considerably less money and talent on tap to develop branding."

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