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Ubuntu has an identity crisis

Comment Is it a kids book or an operating system?
Mon Oct 22 2007, 11:36

IMAGINE YOU'RE HEAD OF IT at a large company. You're standing in front of the board explaining why you want to switch from Windows to Linux. You have all the technical benefits and cost savings up on the screen.

Everything's going swimmingly until you let slip that you want this bunch of middle-aged fogeys in sober suits to bet the farm on something called Gutsy Gibbon.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out of the boardroom.

Almost all companies, even the hip, fab and groovy ones, are conservative at heart. They are answerable to shareholders and banks. Most people don't get to be CEO by snowboarding and clubbing till the early hours. They get to be CEO by playing golf and working all night. They are dull, terribly-serious people.

Confront these old-before-their-time people with a new operating system and it doesn't matter how much money it'll save or how much better than Windows XP or Vista it is, if it's called Warty Warthog, Hoary Hedgehog, Breezy Badger, Dapper Drake, Feisty Faun or Gutsy Gibbon, they'll reject it out of hand.

To them, it matters not one iota how bad Vista is, because it has a sensible name and it comes from one of the most successful companies on the planet. The men in suits are always going to make safe, sensible decisions. Their jobs are on the line.

Explaining to the chairman that the company's IT has gone tits up because you chose something called Breezy Badger rather than Windows XP isn't something these people are willing to risk. The names chosen for Ubuntu releases may be fun, but companies aren't in business for fun. They expect their suppliers to be sensible too rather than naming products after what sound like characters in a kids book.

The latest release of Ubuntu is apparently striving to rival Vista in terms of installation difficulty and unpredictability, perhaps even exceeding it, but until Ubuntu starts coming up with some businesslike names, it's not going to make any headway in the business world. Even Ubuntu itself is a pretty daft name.

So come on guys, if you want to succeed in business, at least pretend to grow up. µ

See Also
Ubuntu upgrade pointless


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