please, a little sanity about the logo
stevei at black-star.net
Mon Feb 14 17:00:43 PST 2005
As a rule I don't post to mailing lists, especially about bike
sheds, but I have seen a firestorm on this list and questions@
concerning the logo and most of them are vitriol or hysteria or
First, I've been using, selling, and supporting FBSD since 2.2.2.
In that time, I think I have become as fond of Beastie as anyone.
While selling nearly a thousand installations (not systems), I
have never encountered a problem over the logo, and I have put
many a Beastie badge on a case. Changing a brand identifier is
not something to be done on a whim. In the case of FBSD, which
has a "community" rather than a corporate hierarchy, decisions
like this need to be floated and allowed to settle before being
This leads to the first question, should the logo be changed.
Frankly, I don't know. Absent marketing studies, no way exists to
know. Were studies done? If yes, will they be shared? If studies
were not done, what methodology was used to determine the current
logo is a hindrance to FBSD gaining market share?
This leads to the second question, how pick the new one.
Considering Beastie has been around since the beginning with no
real objection until, apparently, recently, how do you (whomever
"you" are) know the one you pick to replace it will be _better_
and not just different?
This leads to a suggestion others have already made, a splitting
of FBSD into hobbyist and professional branches. The hobbyists
keep Beastie, the .org site, and the non-profit status. The
professionals get the new logo, the .com site, and pay for use
and support (perhaps an annual subscription?).
Now, an issue not yet brought up. I believe the real problem with
FBSD market share has more to do with its lack of visibilty in
the market itself. Other than mentions so rare that links to them
are posted on the website, I see almost no news concerning FBSD.
Looking through advocacy@'s archive, I seen almost no pro-active
posts. So let me make this into one.
Here are my suggestions to improve FBSD market share, regardless
of logo change:
0. Dedicated marketing department - The Foundation as it
currently exists is clearly insufficient to meet FBSD's needs.
You think Redhat or Suse don't have one?
1. Advertise - There are many ways to do this besides a full-page
glossy in Sys Admin. For instance, ask people using FBSD for
hosting to mention that fact in their own ads. If the example of
yahoo.com didn't come up from time to time on the lists, who
would know they use it?
2. Make it easier for the media, etc. to find an authorative
source - How many times have people posted "How do I find a FBSD
spokesman" on various lists (especially questions@) and been
given inappropriate responses from random community members. In
my opinion, that has done more harm than any logo ever will.
3. Performance matters - As much as I hate this issue, it is a
real one. Look at CPU, RAM, and hard drive sizes. More is better.
A common refrain is how well *nix does on slow systems compared
to Windows (or, emphasizing its lack of performance, Windoze).
5.3 is observably slower and less stable than 4.11. Now I have to
convince customers that the slower version is the better choice.
I don't even try. I won't even mention 5.x until it is at least
as good as 4.11.
4. Quality support for common hardware - Anyone using USB 2.0
without problems? Trouble free installation while using a USB
keyboard? SATA raid controllers? (Please don't give the tired
line, "Code it yourself if you want it." That's ANOTHER reason
FBSD suffers in the marketplace.)
To sum up, if changing the logo is being done for sound business
reasons, based on sound business information, all well and good.
If its being done to appease religious zealots (as seems to be
the case), then FBSD will be a laughing-stock. All of the
"printing" issues seems like an after-the-fact justification to
me, especially considering that I not have ever seen any printed
FBSD literature other than the few commercially available books.
In either case, I doubt a logo change will have a beneficial
impact given FBSD's other marketing shortcomings.
For better or worse,
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