An Open letter to Mark Shuttleworth

Jan 17, 2008

Here’s an Open letter from DeviceGuru to Ubuntu Linux project founder Mark Shuttleworth:

Dear Mark,

In order to maximize brand awareness, I recommend that you brand all forms of Ubuntu (i.e. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, etc.) as various “Editions” of Ubuntu.

So, for example, you might end up with something along the lines of:

  • Ubuntu GNOME Edition (aka “Ubuntu”)
  • Ubuntu KDE Edition
  • Ubuntu Xfce Edition
  • Ubuntu Educational Edition
  • Ubuntu Server Edition (as is)

I think it’s critical to focus as much attention as possible on a single brand, Ubuntu, to maximize its adoption and success. Given the already fragmented nature of Linux, why fragment a specific distribution unnecessarily?

It’d be great if I could finally be a Ubuntu user! I can’t help it, I just happen to prefer KDE over GNOME ;-) But I’d feel more part of the Ubuntu community if the OS I run on the Black Tower was called Ubuntu.


122 responses to “An Open letter to Mark Shuttleworth”

  1. Henry says:

    Great suggestion, Rick! :-D

    Hear, hear.


  2. Gryc Ueusp says:

    Same here, I just dont like GNOME that much and I wish I could claim my computers as running Ubuntu, and not imply that I’m a GNOME user. I like Kubuntu, but I dont want to be in the group that’s the Ubuntu family cousin you only see at the family reunion :P

    Perhaps a default, shared theme installed by default would pull them together? (With an old default easily available from the repos)

  3. tgts says:

    I agree – current branding may be somewhat confusing. Besides, the name ‘Ubuntu’ has become quite well known among average Windows users too.

    Another important thing would be to invest more work in Kubuntu – or Ubuntu KDE Edition. There are a lot of users who prefer KDE and like the way Canonical is doing things, but feel that Kubuntu is not as usable and polished than it could be. Or what if KDE (starting from version 4.1) even was the default environment of Ubuntu?

  4. rabit says:

    I just tell people I run Ubuntu. KDE and Gnome to me are just different environments I can install and run much like different themes from the login manager. I have Ubuntu with Gnome, KDE3.5, and KDE4.0 installed and have no problem running any of their associated apps side by side (inc. KDE3 and 4). I’m a former die-hard KDE user but I’ve found preference in Gnome by way of a few little tweaks here and there, namely replacing Gnome’s limited main menu applet with the Python-based Gimmie. Just call it Ubuntu and leave it at that.

  5. Matt says:

    But really KDE, GNOME, and XFCE don’t mean much to the average person, how should they know which to pick?

  6. Foomandoonian says:

    @Matt I don’t think Kubuntu or Xubuntu means any more to the ‘average person’ either.

    I hadn’t considered this before, but it is a pretty sensible idea. Distro fragmentation is one of the biggest problems Linux faces, and anything to make the situation clearer to the newcomer would be a good thing.

  7. anonymous employee says:

    Being an ubuntu user for a few years, I would agree that their marketing is weak. There is so much talk about it on digg, and elsewhere, but you really hear little outside of the techie news. Where would you suggest that this marketing takes place, except for on the website?

    It may actually serve to confuse new users interested in joining as MS Vista X-flavour does to me. I have no idea what the different ones are and I don’t want to have to learn them. I would suggest to anyone to just start with Kubuntu as it is nice and windows-y and then go from there. If you keep it that simple, it should take off. I say this running gnome currently, with a few KDE apps here and there. :)

  8. Onlinelli says:

    Thank you for pointing on that, I totally agree with that. I do not want to say, yeah, I run Ubuntu, ehm, actually Kubuntu…

  9. JBL says:

    Sorry, but I don’t like this idea much. Different editions of software is, in general, a bad idea. A new user coming from Windows will assume that one edition is better than another ie Vista Basic vs Premium (bad example… since they’re both awful). When an average person looks at Canonical’s products now, they see four different OS’s and pick the one that looks right for them. And while many see “distro fragmentation” as a problem for Linux, I see it as a strength. A user can do what I’ve done, starting with Xubuntu and then moving to Arch, as their experience grows.

    A real improvement to Ubuntu would be to make Xfce the default desktop environment – it’s fast, easy, and powerful.

    Hope I haven’t offended anybody ;-)

  10. Adam says:

    I think it’s worth mentioning that a lot of vitriol and ire is directed at Microsoft (rightly) for having too many versions of Windows, which makes it difficult to decide to purchase. In the case of us linux users, one of the first things that comes to mind after reading the post, and the comments above, is that identifying yourself as being an Ubuntu user is well and good, but in terms of supporting it, you don’t want to necessarily ask “Are you an Ubuntu user? Ok, what Edition?” And if you run Kubuntu, and say “Ubuntu”, then you’re going to end up causing a bit of confusion, because sometimes (often) the problem is with the DE. This of course doesn’t apply to real power users, but there you are.

  11. Adam says:

    JBL beat me to it.

  12. jg says:

    One big problem (with a more unified naming scheme) is that the development of all Ubuntu versions is not the same, and really shouldn’t be, because major components of the various versions are independently developed. For example, the next version of Kubuntu won’t be LTS because it relies heavily on KDE (whereas Ubuntu doesn’t), and KDE development happens to be at a point of particular instability. So does that mean that the next version of Ubuntu also shouldn’t be LTS? Or does it mean that the next version of Ubuntu should remain in beta until Kubuntu is finished (ie, KDE is in more stable state)? After all, naming all of the versions as Ubuntu (with a secondary qualifier) would seem to imply that you’re getting pretty much the same level of support and beta status (ie, stability) but just with different featuresets/environments. But that isn’t true with the next versions of Ubuntu versus Kubuntu. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the development variances of all the other versions. Remember, there can be entirely different developers working on different Ubuntu versions, so the unified naming scheme promotes what may be a vastly false sense of unification. (If a newbie tries Edubuntu, and it happens to be in a state that really leaves a bad taste in his mouth, do you really want him to assume that all Ubuntu versions, even ones maintained by entirely different developers, is pretty much the same with just different installed apps, and therefore equally as bad?).

    If anything, it may be that there needs to be _more_ differentiation between Ubuntu versions, when there are significant difference between major components, or the teams maintaining the versions. After all, you wouldn’t refer to Mint as “Ubuntu Mint”, even though it really is Ubuntu with a different desktop theme and a few other additional utilities (albeit maintained by different developers than Ubuntu’s team). In other words, you may say that there actually is more of a real world difference between Kubuntu and Ubuntu, than there is between Mint and Ubuntu. So why use a unified name for the first two, and not the latter two? After all, the underlying differences are reflected only by the name. So if they’re really different, name than very differently.

  13. atif says:

    Nice suggestion. I always through the naming convention used by ubuntu is confusing. Some of my friends after my suggestion / and taking a look at my desktop, asked me, what to get.. I told them ubuntu. The next day they ask, which one is better? ubuntu , kbuntu blah blah… I second the thought of renaming the editiions, make them very very simple for a newbie to understand on the website with easy link to base desktop pics. Do not do complex detailed analysis, just the basic one.

    For people who say kubuntu is necessary, I am yet to come across a person running KDE on ubuntu saying he uses kubuntu. They always say Ubuntu…. and then you may ask which desktop environment you like… they would tell gnome or kde.
    besides, for ubuntu if you do cat /etc/lsb_release, this is what you get


    Not KUBUNTU or KUBUNTU 7.10…..

  14. RodWC says:

    Fully agree with the article. I have a friend who runs Kubuntu and is sometimes afraid to install packages from “Ubuntu” because they might not be the same. It took a little explaining there.

    To the previous commenter: Linux Mint is not the same kind of variation as Kubuntu. Just like Mepis or Sidux is not like Debian’s Kubuntu. One cannot install “sidux” package or “mepis-desktop” on Debian. And as far as I can tell, one cannot install “linux-mint-desktop” on Ubuntu either. If they all share the exact same repositories, why name them differently?

  15. mWm says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  16. tiachopvutru says:

    Great suggestion, but since the GNOME Edition is the default one, add something like “original” or “default” so someone new who doesn’t know what desktop environment is know what to pick. So I would change the first one to something like

    Ubuntu Original Edition (GNOME)
    Ubuntu Original GNOME Edition

  17. Dane says:

    I think this “issue” is really gasping at straws but I use the Gnome edition and install E17

    But if a new naming scheme was to be implemented how about…

    Ubuntu 7.10 (as is)
    Ubuntu 7.10k (for KDE)
    Ubuntu 7.10x (for XFCE)
    Ubuntu 7.10e (for Education)
    Ubuntu 7.10g (for what is now Gobuntu)
    Ubuntu 7.10 Server (as is)

  18. suhail says:

    i agree completely with you. there should be a unified branding scheme for all ubuntu editions.

  19. Mich says:

    I bet that you’ve heard of something called Debian?

    Hmm…. you are riding on that same wave …


  20. Benner says:

    I agree. i have met quite a few people recently who have been hearing interesting things about this new thing called ubuntu and they want to try it out. Many of them have never heard of Linux. While this will tick off a ton of Linux users, it is probably good for Linux in the long run regardless. Once you have tried any distro, it isn’t long before you hear about all the other ones and get a better sense of things. I have tried a ton of other distros and, to be honest, haven’t seen all that much of a difference between them that the new user would notice. As long as one makes it big, I couldn’t care less which one it is. They will all benefit in the end. Ubuntu seems to have the momentum right now so we should all get behind it. And the community is pretty active and helpful. The various brandings can be a bit confising. Another option could be to offer the DVD with numerous desktop environment options. i think Fedora does that. But I don’t know whether or not there would be technical issues with doing that.

  21. Ken Weiner says:

    I agree completely as well. It would be nice too, if you could just pick your desktop of choice during installation. Gnome could just be the default. I’m glad this is getting so much attention.

  22. Peter says:

    I agree with you. An unified branding scheme for all editions of ubuntu would look a lot more professional and trustworthy. This x- k- ubuntu – stuff is just another clue to confuse any interested newbie…

  23. SoftVision says:

    You are not the first one to suggest this. Its been discussed on the Ubuntu Forums several times, with no clear verdict and plan of action. However, I support this idea too.

  24. Drummer says:

    Rick – when you produce your own distribution, then you can name it anything you like. In the meantime, don’t knock the efforts of a fine distribution team just because you don’t like the naming convention. I don’t happen to be that crazy about the name “Ubuntu” (although I happen to run another distro) but that does not keep me from having respect for what Mark Shuttleworth has done and continues to do. My hat is off to him and his organization.

  25. Planet Malaysia says:

    I’m strongly agreed with you. Personally I used Ubuntu and sometimes I’m confused with the ‘X’, ‘K’ ‘buntu’ …..

  26. Ben says:

    I agree with this idea in general.. keep it all under the Ubuntu name.

    But really I think, no matter how you name them, that it’s a mistake to have all these different distributions being maintained for different desktops. All the different desktops should be options you can choose to install and then once install let the user flip around. KDE and GNOME gets along nicely now, there is no reason to reject the apps from one to use the other. As a user I just want the best application for what I’m doing, I don’t necessarily care what libraries it uses as long as it works.

  27. cyneron says:

    Rightly said….

    Ubuntu has always been partial to KDE. Kubuntu sucks as comapred to excellent Ubuntu. And its all becase of less attention being paid by Ubuntu developers to Kubuntu. Just look at Mandriva 2008, PCLinxOS to know how fine a KDE distribution can be.

    Lot of people drift away from Ubuntu because of bad packaging of Kubuntu.

    Mr. Shuttleworth You should really look into this matter.

  28. kevin g says:

    So What??

    so people don’t like Ubu’s colors, or name, or development name..

    It is what it is.. Its rough enough for people to want to go in & change it, and actually, that is a good thing.

    ok, so say Ubuntu came out with this big media glitz, smoking Vista in the looks, & name department, at their own game no less..

    What you wind up is something that looks like an expensive hotel lobby with a name like Ubuntu Professional Corporate Edition (KDE), Ubuntu Data Center Solutions Server, Ubuntu.. For Kids!

    plus, it sends the wrong message.

    Doesn’t make people want to download it & customize it up..

    I run Mint, myself. :D

  29. No N. says:

    You seem to forget that Canonical produces Ubuntu, and that [K|X|Edu]buntu are community flavours. The distinct branding is not a bug, it’s a feature. It avoids to spread too much Canonical commercial support effort. See the LTS discussion that would not include Kubuntu for 8.04.

  30. Alex says:

    Great suggestion in my opinion!

  31. Daniel says:

    > In order to maximize brand awareness, I recommend that you brand all..

    How does diluting a increasingly recognized brand with so many editions improve brand awareness. People who understand the difference between GNOME, KDE and XFCE already know about Kubuntu and Xubuntu. Those who don’t, and to whom the ubuntu brand is especially important since they don’t fully understand what it is*, want ‘Ubuntu’ because they what they have heard about.

    * If you know what something is then it is easy to see past brands. Brands are, to some extent, a way to convey expectations (e.g. robustness, simplicity) to people who don’t understand the whole.

  32. YHVH says:

    Terrible suggestion in my opinion!

    >Canonical produces Ubuntu, and that [K|X|Edu]buntu are community flavours.

    …and your names suck.

  33. Tom says:


    Canonicals goal is clearly to prefer the “Gnome Edition”. They have no interest in pushing the other editions except the Server Edition.

    This is just wishful thinking of KDE and XFCE people.
    They like to have more people on board for more geek mindshare but in the end Canonical wants to sell support contracts and those will be way more efficient if you only have ONE desktop environment to support.
    Mark always said: Canonical is supposed to make money!

    ( The recent “No LTS for Kubuntu” decision is a clear sign of this.

  34. JJ says:

    My initial reaction was, “You have to be kidding!” When I took my first look into ubuntu I was clearly shown that kubuntu was a derivative of ubuntu, and that to make (k)ubuntu all I needed to to was install the kde packages. I cannot conceive why anyone would be confused by the various flavors of ubuntu.

    If the population that will be looking for a Linux solution is so intellectually impaired that they cannot figure out the difference between ubuntu and kubuntu I really doubt that a solution based on the Linux; or any *nix based solution for that matter, is going to be simplistic enough for their sparsely populated grey matter to process.

    If one needs a simplistic all in one solution, Windows does the job nicely. As I understand it, it even comes with installed on a computer. :)

  35. Fran says:

    I’m against this.
    I think with all the documentation, not to mention publicity, it’s easy for someone to just pick Ubuntu.
    This is in regard to a new user, who may never have contemplated OS’s before.
    There is no, “Oh gee! Which Ubuntu do I get?”

    You start with the most supported release even if Linux was just a buzz word for that person.

    If you are interested in changing DE’s, it can be done trivially with Synaptic or apt. From then on if she prefers, she can pick one of the derivatives. The benefit there too, you search Ubuntu, you find stuff pertaining to Ubuntu and Gnome (the default). Search xubuntu, you get help for xubuntu’s environment. This would no longer be the case, with this new naming scheme. Confusion can and will occur for many new users I bet.

    Lastly, What’s wrong with kubuntu or xubuntu? So the letter is in the front… Why go from kubuntu to Ubuntu KDE and xubuntu to Ubuntu XFCE? Why not do xfce-ubuntu and kde-ubuntu then? Is it really more clear? Is there a benefit to Ubuntu ***** then version number for new users? How about experienced users that have learned the differences?

  36. Ralph says:

    How about just deleting ubuntu altogether then there wouldn’t be a problem.

  37. Vincent says:

    And how would he go about doing this? Xubuntu for one is quite independent and I’m not sure whether Mark Shuttleworth would be able to change its name. In fact, I’m sure he can’t, it’d have to be Canonical for that. But Xubuntu is still a community project.

    Besides, it would take a lot of work in renaming e.g. that mailinglists, the IRC channel, etc. Rebranding really hurts its adoption – that’s why companies almost never change their names, unless they’re involved in some scandal or something and want to start afresh.

    By the way, this isn’t a single distribution – Xubuntu is a separate distribution based on Ubuntu.

  38. linux-dream says:

    I will write about it in my blog.

  39. NOop says:

    Complete nonsense. Brand awareness, bullshit-talk. It’s just GNU/Linux.

  40. BladeKiller says:

    I’m think it’s good idea. +1

  41. bAzyl says:

    It`s great idea. But what is thinking Mark about it?

  42. Bob the Blogger says:

    Stupid idea. Nothing to be gained by it. I doubt Shuttleworth will even give it a moment’s thought. Nor should he

  43. IGnatius T Foobar says:

    The whole “(OS_name) (blahblahblah) Edition” terminology is Microsoft doublespeak designed to confuse people into thinking they get more value from spending more money on the high end “edition” even though they’re actually getting ripped off no matter what “edition” they buy.

    Kunbuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu shouldn’t even have names. They dilute the Ubuntu brand. They should just be marketed for what they are: the Ubuntu distribution respun with different package sets for specific target user groups.

  44. richteel says:

    At first I totally agreed with this and thought it was a good idea. I actually wondered why it wasn’t so from the start however after reading the comments I now think this is a bad idea.

    It would only be a good idea if Canonical were to support the other version but since they are not and likely never will it would be a terrible idea.

    I have been a Linux user on and off for over 10 years, mostly off, but now I am back into it with Ubuntu. I like it because it just works not like other Linux distributions which have been plagued with problems trying to get it to work with hardware or getting a desktop to work.

    Ubuntu has come along at a good time as virtualization and hardware are allowing users to run an other OS on the same machine so they can still use software for Windows in Linux. As a result of the timing and quality of the Ubuntu releases I believe it stands a better chance at making real impact in the OS market in the future.

    I don’t think it is for everyone yet but it is very close. I would guess that Ubuntu is probably a good fit for close to 40% of the current PC users.

    Great topic which has generated some great discussion. Thanks for bringing it up. :)

    Just my 2 cents.

  45. karasa says:

    I agree!

  46. Conan says:

    This is just a plot by KDE supporters that want to float KDE adoption on the success Ubuntu has had. Ubuntu is a Gnome distro, deal with it. Canonical is pro Ubuntu, deal with it. Don’t like it? No problem, use another distro or start your own company to support a KDE based distro.

  47. kellito says:

    if you read Marks blog, about a year ago I have offered Mark just that. He did ignore it, though my background is high end marketing

  48. Zangetsu says:

    I think its better when not only ubuntu get all the spot light but also kubuntu and xubuntu and edubuntu. If you go to you will only find ubuntu and not ubuntu and other next to each other so a user could chose.

    I prefer kde over gnome. And i also think a windows user would feel beter with kde and that from kde4 is unstable is bullshit works fine but a distro have to make there a total image from and i trust the kubuntu guyes that they will do that.

  49. Don Carr says:

    I agree, but, Ubuntu should also have a Logo program so that Ubuntu based distros could use the Ubuntu logo.

  50. Marie says:

    I happen to agree with the article. After trying out Ubuntu 6.06, Kubuntu 6.06, and Xubuntu 6.06, I finally settled onto Xubuntu. I like Xfce because it’s lighter and faster than either Gnome or KDE, plus I find it more intuitive than Gnome.

    I work with customers who are frequently either complete noobs or are functionally computer illiterate. Frequently they see my laptop and ask what I’m running. I use to tell them I ran Xubuntu, but then they would always ask, “Is that anything like Ubuntu?”. Clearly the name ‘Ubuntu’ is well recognized, even amongst those who have not gotten past Windows98, or are just making their first forays onto a computer. That kind of name recognition is Ubuntu’s biggest asset. It’s what makes it valuable in the marketplace.

    Sometimes, one of the more savvy customers will download Ubuntu (or get one of their children to do it for them) and then, after loading it onto a Pentium or PentiumII, tell me “It’s so slow and I can’t find anything!” After a reload of Xubuntu, they’re usually happier. But the one thing none of them understand is why Xubuntu isn’t called “Ubuntu lite edition for really old computers”.

    What I have found is that the window/desktop manager is very much a personal preference. Not everyone likes Gnome. Not everyone likes KDE. Not everyone likes Xfce. Since Windows only gives them one choice of window/desktop manager, many people are not use to this idea that there are options. But these people have heard of Ubuntu. If they’re not Gnome-type users, they will toss it in minutes (or call me first). If they could see and more clearly understand that there were varieties of Ubuntu, as suggested by this article and others, these users would likely instead say “I tried Ubuntu Gnome and didn’t like it, but maybe Ubuntu KDE or Ubuntu Xfce would be better for me.”

    Those of us who have been around computers all of their lives, understand the possibilities. For the rest of the world, they need some hand-holding. The more we can do to help them out, the better.

  51. ArtInvent says:

    Conan’s a little harsh but there is truth to it. Ubuntu is a Gnome distro. Canonical, as a company that needs eventually to be profitable, have wisely decided to concentrate on one desktop, while also wisely supporting offshoots devoted to the others without allowing themselves to get too distracted. This is not to say that Gnome is better. It’s just a realization that you need to pick one horse to ride. Gnome may be better in some ways and worse in others, but with Ubuntu and others solidly behind it, and with an improving KDE to prod it along, it will probably advance more steadily and broadly than any of the others.

    There are too many perfectly good DE’s to support them all. Maybe if there were simply two it would be possible and wise for Canonical to equally support both. Enlightenment is great. Xfce has much to be said for it. KDE has some fantastic apps. Fluxbox I’ve heard great things about. They all have their devotees.

    As Conan says, probably if you want KDE or anything else to have equal footing with Gnome, you will have to start another organization along the lines of Canonical. Look at what gOS did with Enlightenment. Something like that.

  52. rob enderle says:

    Make switching from KDE to GNOME to XFCE a quick 1-2 click process. Like changing the wallpaper.

    Once it becomes just one more option, it makes no difference anymore.

    On my dual boot, the windows partition is XP and I hate the ugly (all eye candy is annoying) and garish blue theme so I choose the classic and dull grey look of Win2k. Is it still 2k Im running? Of course.

    Changing desktop environment should be as easy as changing themes in Windows. Once that happens, it becomes just a part of the OS and not a major differentiation point. I know how to change them but I said ‘easier’.

    Of course knowing the egos involved, there is little chance they would just accept to be in the background.

    Just look at the douchebags our community seems to drag out:
    >Ubuntu is a Gnome distro, deal with it. Canonical is pro Ubuntu, deal with it

    THIS is the problem. You can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig. Decorate it how you like but its not the name that is the problem as much as that atittude above.

    GNOME,KDE,OSX, XP, I use them all with no problems because THE INTERFACE IS NOT WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Sure, I prefer KDE because I can customize it more to my liking but if I had to only use GNOME my productivity wouldnt suffer.
    It is the words that I write in OO that matter, not how the desktop GUI looks.
    No GUI will make my work better.

    Of course, I loathe Miguel and some others on the GNOME team, so Id almost rather use Vista than GNOME but a desktop is a desktop

  53. Conan says:

    Look, I may sound harsh, but I tell it like it is. Ubuntu is for Gnome users period. I have a friend who like KDE, he uses PCLinuxOS. He keeps trying to “convert” me. The truth is I don’t care how slick it is or may be, I just don’t want to help Trolltech out. I am a developer and I want GTK to win. If KDE becomes successful I would have to buy a QT license for the work I do. With Gnome being successful everyone can code applications that are well integrated to the desktop and not have to pay a company for the privilege.

  54. Zubin Parihar says:

    I fully agree. I think this is a perfect idea!

    Hope it happens!


  55. Azrael Nightwalker says:

    How about:
    Ubuntu Home Basic
    Ubuntu Home Premium
    Ubuntu Business
    Ubuntu Enterprise
    Ubuntu Ultimate
    ? :>

    We’ve already seen this, and it’s not gonna happen.

  56. SirYes says:

    > Make switching from KDE to GNOME to XFCE a quick 1-2 click process.

    Already done. Ever tried changing the “Session” on the login screen? Granted, you have to install more than one desktop environment first.

    > Changing desktop environment should be as easy as changing themes in Windows.

    Currently you have to log off, select another DE, and log back. DE’s are not themes (if you haven’t noticed yet). As it was already stated here, Windows is *one* DE, so applying themes work almost immediately.

    If what you postulate is to really change themes (so DE stays the same but it only looks different), it’s also available right away. Just visit or or to see what I mean.

    In Linux DE’s are more complicated, each have different inner workings, different set of libraries, different looks and so on. This also applies to available controls, widgets as well as their behaviour, and the general rules for writing applications for each respective desktop environment. As a programmer I can tell you that it’s not so easy as you might initially think.

  57. Jaro says:

    The problem is that users wanting to try Linux need to be told, start off by trying this one. Not try this one, that one, or perhaps this one.

    In other words having decided to try Ubuntu, there should be no further choices to make until they understand a little more about Linux. That means having a default desktop environment and Gnome is the one that offers the least options, so is a good one to start with.

    Now if you want more flexibility, you are probably the kind of person that is happy to do some investigating yourself.

    That’s my two cents worth anyway.

  58. Jarrod says:

    When I first read about Linux it was in PC Mag about the LiveCDs. As someone who up to that point had only heard of Linux and never even seen it on a computer, seeing Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, all available for the desktop I was a bit confused. As well as should I go 32bit or 64bit, and which version (release 6.04 or 6.10). I had installed different versions of Windows before so installing an OS was not as daunting to me as it likely is for the majority of people. Still coming from Windows, choice was a new and scary thing.

    I think instead of worrying about naming conventions the differences should be made even more clear. Perhaps instead of just a page or two that shows a few screenshots (of very similar looking) desktops, have some sort of interactive demo that highlights the different ways the distros do things, perhaps highlight that Xfce would be recommended for older systems. Something akin to the Linux Distribution picker (Which Distro is Right for me?) Have a which Ubuntu is right for me? based on preferences and hardware.

    People just need a comfortable place to start, and all of the KDE, Gnome, Xfce is “better” is really not helpful to any new user. Also I think having the DE or WM being another option during installation would be a bad idea as a new user already will find the whole process of partitioning their hard drive foreign enough, that they don’t need any more questions during that process. Likely they won’t know the differences anyways.

  59. Ashaman says:

    “I am a developer and I want GTK to win. If KDE becomes successful I would have to buy a QT license for the work I do.”

    I don’t think there is any excuse for ignorance anymore:

  60. s4ncho says:

    excellent idea! i agree:)

  61. rm42 says:

    I can see Canonicals point of view. It makes sense. And yes it is a problem for other desktop environments. A great proportion of users who learn Linux with Ubuntu don’t want to have to learn another desktop environment once they are comfortable with Gnome. They learn to live with its deficiencies and think that it is OK to rely on little workarounds. And worst of all, they become loyal defenders of Gnome and Ubuntu, simply because it is what they already know. “Their first love”, sort of speak. You can see this taking place in Digg and other such places where nothing but Ubuntu is well received. So, it is no wonder that users and developers of other DEs feel a little shortchanged. But, as I said, I don’t see a way around it. Other desktop environments are just going to have play catch up.

  62. axelrodgunnarson says:

    Hey, the people at linuxhow2 are on your side, man. They’re talking about your letter, and it’s really getting people talking about this. I completely agree; it’s time for a change. Check it out at

  63. Embedded says:

    Rick right on. I run Kubuntu and always feel disenfranchised.

    So if anyone knows of any Linux Design jobs in Houston……

    Cheers John

  64. Azrael Nightwalker says:

    BTW: ask any Kubuntu/Xubuntu/etc user to run “cat /etc/lsb-release” in terminal.
    In every variant the output will be the same.
    azrael@azrael-laptop:~$ cat /etc/lsb-release

    Always Ubuntu, not Kubuntu, Xubuntu nor anything else.

  65. Jacek Wielemborek says:

    I totally agree! It’d be awesome.

    Jacek Wielemborek

  66. claydoh says:

    As a Kubuntu user/supporter since Hoary, and as a long time KDE user as well, I think it should all be as it is now:
    there is Ubuntu, and then there are the variants.

    After this long a time, a name change would be a painfully wrong option to take in my opinion. Ubuntu have helped make the Gnome desktop more prominent and successful, and that is a great thing, no doubt about it. When people think of Ubuntu they *should* think about Gnome, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  67. oiaohm says:

    Renaming good. Also while at it stop making other desktops look like gnome. People are trying different desktop to get different feel. Or at least provide it as theme options on install. Look like gnome or look how developer intended.

  68. Vadim P. says:

    No. The “buntu” part stands out well enough on it’s own; I really don’t think re-branding, especially at this stage, would even make sense.

  69. Bzyk says:

    I agree. I use Kubuntu… :/
    Ubuntu KDE Edition is better. :)

  70. bizzl says:

    Did someone else had the same thoughs like me while reading the suggested names: That Ubuntu Gnome Edition is… for Gnomes?
    Sorry, but that really was my first though :/
    Besides that this Names make stupid implies, they’re also unoriginal, boring, and much to long.

  71. Zarkov says:

    Totally agree. Simplifying things like this is a great idea.

  72. rizzo says:

    that’s dumb. you just want better recognition for KDE

  73. Dorian Pula says:

    I agree with the whole unified branding idea. And marketing and branding are necessary evils for anyone who wants to create a viable company around a platform. It just makes sense for Mark and Canonical to do a universal branding. As for what desktop environment Canonical does or does not support… isn’t that what those Ubuntu logos beside packages found in synaptic or adept mean?

    I would not call it Edition… since that reminds most people of a silly, little fat man who throws chairs around. But Ubuntu for KDE would be nice. Kubuntu is way too much of a mouthful to say.

    Thanks Rick for bring this up!

  74. Mee2 says:

    I agree with this.

    I also think that the editions that are officially supported by Canonical (such as Kubuntu, Gobuntu, Edubuntu etc.) should be featured on the download page, and all information concerning the edition should be contained within the website instead of each one having its own site.

  75. sonoftheclayr says:

    This is a stupid idea! The DE is already identified in the name of the Kubuntu and Xubuntu! The K in Kubuntu represents KDE and the X in Xubuntu represents XFCE! Hello! It is Ubuntu that needs to be changed to Gubuntu in line with the others! Edubuntu doesn’t give away the DE but you can immediately tell it is an educational version with edu and an Ubuntu derivative with the ubuntu part!
    Ubuntu GNOME Edition, Ubuntu KDE Edition, etc. are just more confusing. Changing the names will just turn Ubuntu into another Windows Vista (In the eyes of a new user at least). To get Windows Vista you have to choose between Ultimate, Home Premium, Home Basic, Business and Enterprise! All these options are going to make it hard for a new user. All they want is a computer that works, they don’t need to know about different versions. If someone goes to and is asked to select what edition they want what does this achieve? That we can compete with Windows Vista because we have editions too? No. It just removes the independence of Kubuntu and Xubuntu. The developers of these two independent, but at the same time easily identified as being a ‘version’ of Ubuntu, work separately and make their own decisions. If something is decided in Ubuntu and doesn’t have to happen in Kubuntu. The only thing that is the same between these two distros is the base operating system, that is the OS without a Desktop Environment. The names already tell you what DE it is and at the same time make them independent of each other. Kubuntu has it’s own community separate from Ubuntu’s. I use Kubuntu. I am a part of the Kubuntu community. Not the Ubuntu (The one that uses GNOME) community. I am a member of the Ubuntu (Base OS) community. I think Ubuntu should change to Gubuntu and Ubuntu should be the name for the base OS. Again, this idea is stupid and it will never work! Even suggesting it is saying that Kubuntu and Xubuntu aren’t independent, when they are. It is too late to change the names of the distros. Kubuntu will always be it’s own distro. Sure you can create an “Ubuntu KDE Edition” but Kubuntu will still be there. It is it’s own distro, it is not an edition of Ubuntu.

  76. Chris says:

    Agreed. Completely.

  77. Tello Kekana says:

    We(users) consume what has meaning to us.

  78. JOSE LUIS says:

    I also couldn’t agree more!

  79. Conan says:


    Gubuntu? Hmmm. No. As I said, Canonical is a Ubuntu (Gnome) company. What would Canonical gain by changing Ubuntu’s (the Gnome based distro) name to Gubuntu? Appease the natives of other desktop environments? Maybe. But what would it loose? Name recognition for their favored DE, default choice advantaged for their favored DE, and a lot of time, effort and work, changing artwork, documentation, etc. It is not going to happen.

  80. Olaf says:

    You got my vote. It would be a great idea to have the different editions of Ubuntu and all users part of the “Ubuntu” community rather than part Ubuntu, part Kubuntu, etc.

  81. J says:

    Agreed, although I think Ubuntu Gnome Edition and the like really does sound commercial, “Microsoftiesh” in a way. Why not call them Ubuntu G, Ubuntu K, Ubuntu X, Ubuntu E, etc… Would be shorter and more original.

    And such change would make it easier to change the default desktop environment , when they have seen the potential of KDE 4 (it’s somewhat raw right now, but you can see it’s going to be great when done), and thought to themselves: “now, what if we decide to change the default Ubuntu desktop environment to KDE 4, if there is a thing called Kubuntu?” You see, such a change would be much easier and less disruptive if ALL versions were called Ubuntu “something”.

    Digressing a little… I use Ubuntu at work and Kubuntu at home, and it’s clear to me how much of a “second class” citizen Kubuntu is. Not all features are as well polished and integrated as in Ubuntu. E.g. the graphical effects (compiz) were really buggy in Kubuntu 7.10, while they worked fine in Ubuntu 7.10. So I do hope they change the default DE to KDE in Ubuntu. ;-) Gnome is OK, and there are things I enjoy about it, but I’m starting to feel a straight-jacketed, Mac-like sensation when using Gnome and it does not give me the option to do things MY way.

  82. neo tenshi says:

    I agree too.
    Ever since I discovered ubuntu and its derivatives, I didn’t like this idea of calling these different “versions” with different names as if they were completely different, which there aren’t so much

    Moreover, this would maintain the logic of “ubuntu […] edition”, which is not the case now. Now, you have two ways of naming : [K/X]ubuntu, (i.e. “ubuntu” with a letter before), and “ubuntu server edition”, “ubuntu studio” and so on (i.e. ubuntu with another name *after*). With this new way of naming, only one logic is kept : ubuntu [something] edition ; or just ubuntu [something] is “edition” sounds too much microsoft-ish

    Eventually, it would be clearer for newcomers in the ubuntu and/or linux world, which already have troubles with the notions of “distro”, and so on.
    When my mother came into the Linux world, she was a bit “upset” with the notions of distro. After explaining her the basics, she asked me a question I had difficulties to answer to : “what’s the difference between all these ubuntu distros ?”
    With this new way of naming, it would be much clearer that this is only a difference in GUI

    So, in short … +1 ^^

  83. InTheLoop says:

    I agree with your general idea, but I think the names need some changes. Many of them could be confusing to a new user. For example, “Ubuntu Educational Edition” probably means to a lot of people a version that costs less and cannot be used for commercial work. I know we know that is not what it means, but it could confuse people. I just wrote a whole post about what changes I would make to the names and I don’t want to put it all in this comment so:

  84. Alex says:

    Ubuntu Lite
    Ubuntu KDE
    Ubuntu Youth
    Ubuntu Server

  85. Andrew Fenn says:

    I don’t see the problem of what you are talking about. I do see a problem with your solution though. It makes sense until you realise that it would be difficult to provide tech support..

    person1: What OS are you using?
    person2: Ubuntu
    person1: Yeah but what version?
    person2: 7.10
    perosn1: No, I mean KDE or gnome?
    person2: huh?

    It’s the same reason the distro only ships with one web browser, mail client, etc. So if someone comes in saying “My web browser is broke” everyone know instantly what that person is talking about.

    I don’t think renaming Kubuntu to Ubuntu: KDE edition would help.For a start it’s longer to type and secondly I see them all as their own little brands. I think putting them all under one brand would be extremely confusing, more so then leaving them as it is.

    If someone says “Ubuntu sucks”, “Ubuntu is ugly”, “I hate the Ubuntu GUI” do they mean Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu? It effects the Ubuntu brand.

  86. Aranel Surion says:

    “Ubuntu KDE Edition” ? It sounds like “Windows Millenium Edition” , I dont like it. I love my “Kubuntu” :) Kubuntu,Xubuntu etc. are really cool, we dont need a long name like “Ubuntu KDE Edition” , or ugly one: “UbuntuKE”.

    And Andrew is right, Ubuntu KDE Edition can be confusing in many cases.

    P.S: Sorry for my English, I’m trying to get better :)

  87. Zexy says:

    At fisrt glance, this sounds like a good idea but on further thinking maybe not. Here’s some market reasoning to “feed” your mind.

    Let’s take a different example: cookies! When you go to your local grocer wanting to buy some cookies, what do you see? WOW! THere’s a whole row of various types of cookies. Ok, we’re gonna buy one of the major brands, Nabisco! Nabisco is one of the main players in the cookie front similar to how Ubuntu is a main player in the linux front. Looking at our choices, every package has a small and noticable “Nabisco” in the corner but the prodominate package feature is a photo image of some tasty cookies along with the type of cookie in big fat text right next to the image. There are obviously many types of cookies and each one is marketed as it’s own even though they may be from the same company.

    Even though the Canonical offerings may be similar under the hood, they are not exactly the same and therefore should be kept distinctively different from a marketing approach. Of the different versions, two are specifically targeted to certain clients that being education sector and business sector. Xubuntu is targeted for users with older computers.

    The only place where the line is blurred is with Ubuntu / Kubuntu and I think that the blurring of this line is where most of the confusion happens. And from what I’ve seen, the war between Gnome and KDE is alive and well(unfortunately) and this really doesn’t help the situation any. Maybe Canonical should consider dropping one of the DEs?

    Just food for thought,…..mmmmmmmm, coooooooookie! ;)


  88. Conan says:

    “And from what I’ve seen, the war between Gnome and KDE is alive and well(unfortunately) and this really doesn’t help the situation any. Maybe Canonical should consider dropping one of the DEs?”

    I think it is better for Canonical to continue as they are.

  89. Christian says:

    thats one of the dumbest ideas ever..

  90. Andrew Russell says:

    I disagree with the suggestion of the open letter.

    The branding (and importantly the website) guides the new (windows) users to Ubuntu easily.

    Ubuntu is the most focussed on part of the family, Kubuntu, Edubuntu Xubuntu provide value to certain people without being confusing to the newbie.

    Sure I use Gnome Ubuntu for my desktop, but Xfce for older laptops and KDE for some applications.

    Don’t kill the golden goose of publicity just to satisfy small populations using alternate desktops, confusion matters in Linux land.

    > # by NOop:
    > January 18th, 2008 at 6:23 am
    > Complete nonsense. Brand awareness, bullshit-talk. It’s just GNU/Linux.

    I love the comment above from N0op, what is the term ‘GNU/linux’ but brand awareness ROTFLMHO.

    Yet Another self-perpetuating meme-support-structure (YASPMSS).

  91. justin says:

    I think that Ubuntu has been a good thing for Linux. However, it is time to get past it. The truth is that Gnome is not a platform that can carry Linux into the future. The code base is to convoluted and difficult to maintain, from what I can see. Adding features is painfully difficult. That is the real reason for Gnome’s spartan simplicity. On the other hand, KDE has pushed the envelope with a technological push that has potential, not just to compete against the big boys, but to outshine them. Unfortunately, Canonical is to focused with immediate gains and is being to shortsighted in their biased support for Gnome. The future of open source, is not going to be built on Gnome’s 1990’s technology. Maybe Sun will see the light.

  92. sat says:

    Count me in. I prefer Ubuntu Edition type names..

  93. RJS says:

    Don’t you think that the names as they are now make it easier for users of each edition to Google for problem solving ?

  94. Karri Ojala says:

    The several editions will fragment the Ubuntu community as much as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.

    I’ve always wanted there to be one single Ubuntu, but one that would let me choose the desktop environment I want during the Ubuntu install. Just like in Suse. Problem solved.

    If the CD’s capacity isn’t enough to include all the desktop environments, then do it for DVD, but also keep the desktop environment specific CD images, so everyone can burn Ubuntu.

    When about to download an image, you should be able to choose from “Ubuntu (with Gnome)”, “Ubuntu (with KDE)”, “Ubuntu (with Xfce)” and so on.

    That would not only look much more professional, but clearer to end users.

  95. Dr No says:

    Look at Debian, they have multiple versions, but only one moniker.

  96. Carl says:

    Good idea!

    And for the record, I always say I run Ubuntu because I don’t know how to pronounce Xubuntu.

  97. vodkaice says:

    But what will happen to the ubuntu forums? kubuntu forums? And when someone search google for a howto ?

  98. Clint Brothers says:

    NO, don’t throw more words and confusion in the mix. When I tell people about linux, I wear a LINUX t-shirt every day so I get ? about it every day, most people have no idea what linux is much less ubuntu. If I say download ubuntu gnu/linux it confuses them more. I’ve had friends ask me what the difference is in ubuntu and kubuntu and which one is better. When I say that’s a personal preference and it depends on how deeply you’re stuck(KDE) in the windows look and feel. I used to be a big KDE fan because Mepis used it and I loved it. I now prefer UBUNTU. Mepis has always worked better for me than Kubuntu. If it’s determined that a friend would be better off with a windows look and feel I’ll send them to, If the person is not set in the windows ways I’ll send them to I know Linus prefers KDE, but we’re talking about average users. With KDE 4 I might switch back to a KDE default login. It’s all about FREEDOM!

  99. Arnold L. Johnson says:

    I am a Xubuntu user and I still don’t know how to pronounce it. When does a GUI or a group of applications give a distro a new name? Maybe Ubuntu should 1. be a smaller basic system to which you could add selected application groupings targeting business, education, multimedia, etc. 2.Start off with a light weight desktop like Xfce but have an easier way to add/change/delete other desktops and window managers. Maybe Ubuntu will have to resort to live-DVD’s like Fedora to include it all instead of making sacrifices to fit a CD.

  100. RJS says:

    Does it matter if you can pronounce it ?

    Can you pronounce libgsf-1-113 ?

    It’s not a real word but does that stop you looking for information on it if there’s a problem ?

    I hope not !

    And it does explain what each flavour is on the website, I doubt at this point whether many illiterates will be installing any operating system on anything.

  101. Michael White says:

    I agree with the comment that Ubuntu should allow you to choose the environment you wish to use. And as far as new users are concerned, the installation could explain and give advice on each desktop. SOmething like: If you’re a Windows user or like lots of eye candy pick KDE, want a more responsive system or have older hardware pick xfce, etc.

    That’s my two bits.

  102. Varvariuc Victor says:

    Renaming – maybe. But i don’t agree that there should be something more. I think Canonical’s marketing is good. Those who are using Windows and have never heard of Linux, should see it as something simple and solid. Then, after using it for some time, they can find out more and decide what DE to choose. But this should not be user’s choice at the very beginning.
    I would choose names like Ubuntu 7.10, Ubuntu 7.10x|k|e|g… But that’s the only thing I think should be changed.

  103. RLA says:

    On the surface it sounds like an excellent idea. However, the real need is to have better explanations of each version and its pros and cons and what software runs on what, etc. Even better, leave out Open Office and all the optional must be instantly upgraded fluff and include all versions on one CD, or DVD more likely.

    It’s too bad we have a “format war” with Gnome and KDE. I usually prefer KDE, but once I finally found MInt, I am finally almost satisfied. It mostly just works. Ubuntu, and worse, Kubuntu, leave out too many important drivers to work with my hardware without hours of searching and installing packages and drivers and entering or copying and pasting long lines of code in Terminal. The new user hasn’t a clue how to do all of this. For Linux to ever to be a threat to Windows, it will have to do away with all the variants of KDE and Gnome and one or the other will have to dominate the market. Ubuntu is leading the charge for the home desktop for now, but I don’t recommend it for new users. Only Mint on the free side of things with it’s already installed proprietary drivers is pretty much ready for prime time, but even it has to be tweaked, and some restricted drivers have to be enabled and/or installed, but at least it prompts you for what it needs, and installs it with a few clicks of your mouse. Maybe in the next version of Ubuntu they will include more drivers, especially for wireless, but for now Mint 4 is the most polished free downloadable distro I have found. And I have tried just about everything out there in the last six months. Next distro for me to try out is VectorLinux VL64 5.9 Beta!

    Onward and hopefully upward…

  104. Ponzonha says:

    Great idea, now I will be a proud Ubuntu KED edition user!

  105. Tom says:

    I dont see the need. We have a generation of people who can point and click and think they know something about computing.
    I use Kubuntu on some machines, Ubuntu on others, Xubuntu on older machines.
    I know the differences. You have to know what the differences are – naming conventions are not going to tell you what each one ‘does best’ – unless they’re really long names that you WONT be able to pronounce.
    Trying to make things easy for those that dont understand doesnt work. You have to educate them and Windows has stopped most people even trying to learn.

  106. livingdaylight says:

    What i would like to know is, as this has been an open letter to Mark Shuttleworth, has there been a response yet?
    Clearly this topic is touching an issue that is alive to so many people and i’m glad it has been raised, i would like to know if there has been an open letter of reply to it as well

  107. Hari says:

    I totally agree. Editions will be a better approach.

  108. dronix says:

    Gnome, KDE, and Xubuntu should be integrated into just Ubuntu and let the user decide what “enviroment” (e.g. KDE) he/she wants to install as default. So we end up with:

    Ubuntu – (containing Gnome, KDE, and Xubuntu)
    Ubuntu Educational Edition
    Ubuntu Server Edition

  109. chris says:

    I agree completely with the principle of unifying the various projects under the Ubuntu name, but say “/Absolutement, non!/” to the ‘[…] Edition’ part. This includes another source of Balkani-buntu, such as U. Studio Edition, Christian Edition, Muslim Edition, etc. If one wants to customize his install of Linux, be it for work or religious reasons, one should be able to easily search in the package manager for a keyword like photography, Muslim, Christian, etc., and get a package or a script that will add/remove whatever stock packages are desired to be added/removed.

    It’s laughable to look at the DistroWatch tracker [link above] and see all the whastis-buntu names spread out all over the rankings. The site even says of Linux in general that many branch distros are simply lightly modified (e.g., better support for a given language) versions of older, more established distros!

    Note to Mr. Shuttleworth: PCLinuxOS would not have reached #1 on DistroWatch without this Balkani-buntu — if that matters to you at all!* Note also, of course, that on the PCLinuxOS download page, that /is/ the distro name, regardless of whether you get the KDE or GNOME CD, or whatever.

    (Then again, what if Corel/Xandros, Mepis, Knoppix, Ubuntu, etc., had never branched off, but kept on coding for and helping get Debian distributed; and what if Caldera, Mandrake, etc., had all remained direct supporters of Red Hat; and what if Debian, Red Hat, etc., had all just gotten along much better in the early days and simply pushed forward a unified GNU/Linux… not to mention the BSDs! lol)

    I use Fedora, personally, and I like how they do it: If you install the full 3+ GB distro on DVD, or a GNOME or KDE LiveCD, then regardless of which desktop (or even architecture) you use, it’s _all_ Fedora. Period. In the full distro, you get GNOME as default with the option to use KDE or XFCE, and if you really want to knock your socks off, you can even try out blackbox, fluxbox, hackedbox, IceWM, Openbox (which runs alone or with KDE), or one of several other stand-alone window managers easily available in Fedora through its Package Manager. Again, it’s still called simply Fedora. (No, alas, guys, E16/17 are not in the repo, but can be installed through RPMs separately.)

    Whew! Writing all that down felt pretty good! Maybe that’s why blogging is so popular! Love you guys!

    – Chris

  110. Fri13 says:

    I think we have bigger problem in naming than just on different Ubuntu distributions.

    Long time ago, there was fight should OS name be GNU/Linux or Linux. It has turned that Linux won. So we have Kernel AND Operating System named as “Linux”. We have one name for two different things. But it’s about freedom you know and popularity. We already has enough “problems” with editors or journalist who dont know what is difference with Linux and GNU/Linux or even worse scenario, Difference with “Linux OS’s Kernel” and “Linux OS”

    And then we have word “Distribution”. And because everything is free (libre), there is *so* many different distributions. Okay, i think we all know what Distribution means, but we have problem here too.

    Our problem is Ubuntu. It has done big damage to whole community by simplefielding things too literaly. Example, i think most of us has heard/readed the next kind a phrase: “Ubuntu is much easier than X because GUI is so easy to use”

    And it’s not here, problem is that Ubuntu has dropped “Linux” from it’s name. It’s not Ubuntu Linux, it’s just Ubuntu. Now, windows users wants try a new OS, they dont see Linux (altought they dont see GNU/Linux either), they see Ubuntu and it’s Editions, just like Microsoft Windows Vista has 5 Editions, Ubuntu has too.

    Ubuntu is for many new user a different OS than what Linux is. Last 3 months i have encountered over 20 windows users who has told that they dont consider switchin Windows to Linux because Linux is so dificult to use, but they can switch windows to Ubuntu, they have heard it is easy to use.

    And the “whole thing” is falling a parts, while we fight about ones Distribution’s naming style.
    Because soon, we dont have OS called “Linux”, we dont have “Distributions”. There are a lots of people who are repeatily are taunting on forums that “Distribution” is just “nerd-speak” and does not mean anything. They are taunting that Linux is a kernel and there are over 400 different Operating Systems what are incompatible together but they all just share one part, a kernel. They continuesly taunt that same thing over and over again. By what reason? Because they have moved from Windows (they are normal users, programmers, professionals etc) and they see Ubuntu as different OS as any other Distribution.

    Microsoft will won with this, there aint’ only One Operating system against Microsoft Windows, there are now over 400 hundreds different OS’s where to choose, where Microsoft just now has Two OS’s XP and Vista and few versions/editions from it.
    We still have one Operating system, called as Linux (aka GNU/Linux) and over 400 distributions from it. We have one OS for what to build applications, games, hardware etc. And now WE have a PROBLEM, when Canonical is a marketing itself as Different OS than any other Linux Distribution is. Ubuntu users are telling to windows users, for a new Linux users, that there is OS called Ubuntu and it is easy to use, dont switch to Linux, just give Ubuntu a try!

    On my Job, last one year has be very problematic, as hardware seller, i need to advice customers for their needs and answer for their questions.
    Anymore i dont hear from a new customers typical phrase “Does this work on Linux?” when they are buying a new webcam or other hardware where ain’t “Requirements: Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista, Linux 2.4 or later, MacOSX 10.2 or later”. It has be so easy to tell customer that “yes, that device works on your Linux distribution because it has 2.6 kernel” when in box has told “…, Linux 2.4 or later, …”.

    And now, i get customers asking “I have Ubuntu Operating system but this requirements list dont list it, does it work on me?”. And when i look the requirements, i see a “…., Linux 2.4 or later, …” text and then i say “Yes, it’s works your ubuntu, here it says that it works on Linux” and then they tell me that i have misunderstand them, that they dont have a “Linux” they, have “Ubuntu” and Box dont say it works on that OS.

    Yes, i would just say “yes, it works, i have same on home” but i dont lie to customer that i have same device home, even i wouldn’t have, but i dont like what a Canonical is doing with Ubuntu (or Ubuntu Community does), trashing the similarity, trashing a one simple thing what whole community has gained, LSB standards, what Gnome and KDE has done and what Linux (kernel) developers has done and what whole community does.

    We dont loose “a OS war” by Microsoft or by Apple, we loose it if we let those big companies who use Linux, to rape it. If we allow someone INSIDE community to “kill us”. Novell jumped to a Microsoft’s bed and it was bretty bad strike already what turned so many users to Ubuntu. And now Canonical turns back to whole community, just because they want to do Distribution for users who dont like to know what they use. And these users are those who starts selling products what they use for others.

    And here we sit and we fight, should that distribution name include “Editon” or “version” or should there be a what ever kind schema.

    For me, its OK to have Kubuntu and Edubuntu etc… They are Linux distributions. But what i REALLY want them to have, is word “Linux”.
    Those should be a “Ubuntu Linux” and “Kubuntu Linux”.
    Ubuntu brand is coming TOO big, over Linux. Very soon there ain’t OS called as “Linux” (GNU/Linux), there is OS’s called “Linux” and over 400 -1 Distributions and they are hard to use! And then there is this second OS, easy to use, called Ubuntu and it’s few “Editons”.

    Currently, Linux has a much bigger PR and brand than Ubuntu. But Ubuntu has already teached to some of us, that Ubuntu ain’t good for whole community and it cuts community to half.
    Yes, it’s about freedom, Canonical(Ubuntu) can do what ever they like, yeah, then should it same thing go to Novell too, they should allow to do what ever they want. But what i just suggest, is to bring Ubuntu back to line and make it clear to Canonical it should use “Linux” brand and tell users somewhere (on help and website FAQ etc) that Ubuntu is just Linux (GNU/Linux) Distribution and not different Operating system than any other distribution is. Because last time when i checked from dictionary word “LInux Distribution”, it answered to be that Distribution includes OS named Linux and a lots of other software as graphical desktop, internet browser and instant messenger.

    Microsoft has problems it’s own because it has integrated stuff to OS. And users has already use to it. We all know how bad Internet Explorer has be for web, we all know Microsoft is trouble with U.S and EU about monopoly, and now that same thing happends on our backyard when we allow Canonical to call Ubuntu as only with phrase a “Complete OS”, because stuff what belongs to Microsoft Windows OS, should allow Canonical to call Ubuntu as “Complete OS” too and call Ubuntu as OS and not as Distribution.

    Just for my 2 cents

  111. dronix says:

    I agree with the above post. We can’t forget where our roots come from. So we are left with:

    Ubuntu Linux – (containing Gnome, KDE, and Xubuntu)
    Ubuntu Linux Educational Edition
    Ubuntu Linux Server Edition

  112. Shuhrat Dehkanov says:

    @Rick: Any response from Canonical yet?

    @Fri13: Indeed good point.

  113. deviceguru says:

    > Any response from Canonical yet?

    …not since I sent him my initial email to him, at which time he commented that it was an interesting suggestion.

  114. livingdaylight says:

    @Fri13 – what a rant! like your name perhaps suggest you wanna bring doom and gloom into the thread? It felt subversive besides being quite untrue imo as i will point out shortly.
    The letter, first of all, raises a good point as Mark Shuttleworth has apparently acknowledged. Now it would be nice for a fuller response(please) IMHO i agree and would like a more unified branding where everyone feels they are using Ubuntu and not zoobuntu or whatever. Ubuntu with whatever preference of Desktop Manager seems to make obvious sense in giving a more unified and cohesive feel

    Regarding the Ubuntu cutting off and leaving community aside and doing it a disservice etc etc that Fri13 raised-all i can say is NON-sense. If anything, Ubuntu has done the opposite by really bringing to conscious light and popular awareness Linux as an easy viable GNU/LINUX DESKTOP, yes, Linux HOME Desktop, alternative to windows and Apple.

    When one goes to the first thing one sees under the heading of “About Ubuntu” which is right at the top and unmissable imo is:

    Ubuntu is a community developed, linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers.

    Now if that is not clear i don’t know what is. Further down on the same homepage under ‘philosophy’ references to ‘Free Software’ and ‘Open-source’ make the link and identity of this linux based os further abundantly and un-avoidably clear. Where is the room for consusion?

    Furthermore, i find the rant and attack unfair because the thrust of it said that the word Linux should be tagged on at the end. Then ALL Linux based distributions are guilty of this and not just Ubuntu, so why pick out ubuntu for this attack? Apart from brands like PCLinuxOS (no other ones immediately spring to mind) none of the other that i can think of like Fedora, Suse, Mandriva are called Fedora Linux, Suse Linux etc Yet, anyone interested in finding out more about Linux will find out through magazines or websites like distrowatch about the various linux flavours like the ones just mentioned. Or vice versa if they should just stumble upon the website of one particular distribution will it not become quickly clear that this suse, fedora or whatever is based on GNU/Linux?

    I felt strongly the need to redress the balance on this coz imo if anything Ubuntu has been a positive force in bringing GNU/Linux to the Home Desktop market. Furthermore by stating in their mission statement that this os ‘will always be free’ and Mark Shuttleworth’s not so recent anymore al be it clear and important statement (given the context of the times with novell etc at the time) that he was not ever going to sell Ubuntu down the river by cutting deals with Microsoft he further added reassurance to the Ubuntu community and the wider linux community about the authenticity and integrity of this GNU/Linux based community driven project called UBUNTU.



  115. Zubin Bhuyan says:

    Makes sense. Cheers.

  116. krf says:

    I completely agree. Are there any updates, responses from Ubuntu marketing to this, Rick?

  117. Fri13 says:

    @ livingdaylight “Now if that is not clear i don’t know what is.”

    Sorry, but it’s not clear. There are people who like to tell that “Linux based operating system” only means kernel named Linux and everything else is different and word “Distribution” is just somekind nerd t4lk and it really means “operating system”. Normal users will buy this because for them, Ubuntu with KDE or GNOME are different OS’s but they dont know that only a desktop enviroment is changed and not the OS under them. They dont know that Linux is just a kernel but whole OS is called as Linux too (even that some users use GNU/Linux).

    And then these people, even about that Ubuntu “About” page, Believe that “Linux-based” just means that all those “Operating systems” (Not distributions) share only a kernel and everything else is different parts and that’s why they ain’t compatible togeher and you need to buy hardware what is made for their OS, what is Ubuntu for them.

    It’s just very very hard to tell a normal fellow that the Ubuntu ain’t different OS than any other Distribution. Even that it’s different package, it’s not different OS. Reason for this comes that users believe that OS is everything what you see and you use. Like when you open OpenOffice writer, user dont use office software, they use Operating system. When they edit pictures with GIMP or they archive their pictures with F-spot, they dont use GIMP or FSPOT, they use Operating system. Normal user just dont get it that OS is under everything what they use.

    And Canonical is promoting their (Like many other distribution) as complete OS. And these internet fellows, they start telling that everything what apt-repositories has, are part of OS, not part of distribution. These fellows even goes to forums “helping” people telling that Debian and Ubuntu are different OS and ain’t compatible any way. They makes flyers and posters where they promote Ubuntu as “better Linux based OS than other Linux based OS’s”

    Ubuntu users are bretty much n00bs on whole community and they has learn everything from Microsoft side but when it comes to other side (Open vs Closed etc), it’s too dificult to them understand what is a “Distribution” and what is “Operating System”. And i pick up Ubuntu beacause it’s getting most new users who starts promoting same thing “This is Free OS, i dont need to buy any software or download because this OS does everything what i need”.

    Problem just is that Ubuntu isn’t telling anywhere that Ubuntu is one GNU/Linux distribution among others. It’s promoting itself as Complete OS what is different than any other. And there IS THE problem.

  118. Jo says:

    there should only be debian based linux and rpm based linux. too many distro make it confusing for newbie . each of these linux should let you choose if you want xfce,kde, or gnome.

  119. Fri13 says:

    “there should only be debian based linux and rpm based linux. too many distro make it confusing for newbie . each of these linux should let you choose if you want xfce,kde, or gnome.”

    Everyone let choose what those user wants to run, question is just how dificult it is to get them installed. One distribution can allow it by using a package manager, other allows only by installing from source.

    Installing from source is still only universal way to install software on GNU/Linux. Binary packages are just a BONUS for easier install. Every person can install applications from source, they dont need to know how to write the code to get it application work, only thing what they need, is to run installer script what is made for easier install and they get it.

    DEB and RPM should be worked more to be compatible. LSB standard defines RPM as binary mode and it can be installed to any Distribution what use DEB package format, if it is just a LSB standard compatible.

    Evolution will work things out, it just takes little longer than pre-controlled marget like is on Closed source side. Only problem is like what is on Democracy, everyone has right to express own opinion, even they wouldn’t know a ***** for thing what is being voted. GNU/Linux and it’s distributions like Ubuntu, just works great. If someone dont like other than one distribution, use it!

  120. lucas ciesielski says:

    I think it is great idea :-) Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu etc. are still UBUNTU. Better will be name Ubuntu GNOME Edition etc.

  121. ldigital says:

    That’s a great idea! and for the one’s who say: all the versions differ too much,
    No they don’t.
    I mean: You know that when you use Ubuntu KDE, you also get KDE apps
    And if you use Ubuntu Gnome aka ‘Ubuntu’, you get gnome apps
    Looks clear to me!
    one thing: please add an .rpm-installer to ubuntu, u-kde, ed-U,X-U, just like gdebi!

  122. Tello Kekana says:

    The names as they are now make it easier for users of each edition to Google for problem resolution?