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Thoughts about Debian Marketing

Hi everybody,

I have spend the past few weeks thinking and talking about how marketing
can help Debian get more users, which was set as one of the goals. The
funny thing about this goal is, though, the number of users can't
exactly be  determined as registration is not required. Perhaps we can
set a goal in number of extra website visits which might be the result
of this marketing effort.

This matter has been subject of discussion with marketing gurus,
entrepreneurs, consultants and a few economics students and they all
found the task at hand a challenging but difficult one.

A lot could be written about why distros like Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu
have become so popular and well-known but I think one can be brief given
the fact that a great deal of money has been put into well-organized
marketing campaigns.

One of the strong points about Debian is of course it's organization,
the packaging system and the release cycle philosophy (not sure about
the term but meaning the stable, testing and unstable branches). Problem
is that these don't necessary result in a larger user-base or more
generally speaking, the popularity of Debian itself. Let me be clear
about this, the mentioned strong points do give us the opportunity to
'grow' because the foundation is solid.

Now, how to turn all these strong points of Debian in something that
will make it more popular. I think there are a lot of possibilities but
the more interesting (and possibly the most powerful) one is to extend
the business around Debian itself. Make businesslike people understand a
decent profit can be made from services around the distro. This way
marketing will be done by them rather than by Debian itself. The only
thing is they have to somehow use the name Debian rather than creating
an Ubuntu-like distro that's being shipped into bookstores with cute
furry mascots.

In other words, let companies do the 'actual' marketing and let Debian's
marketing strategy be finding and guiding these companies into making
their business in to a success.


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