openSUSE 11.2 Launch Planning

The openSUSE 11.2 launch is some months away, but it’s not too late to start planning now.

This thread is for general discussion about the launch, what themes we want to put forward, the target audience(s) we’d like to address, and so forth.

As you suggest, I think there are multiple audiences and it might be worth thinking of different approaches for different potential audiences - KDE4 afficionados, the Gnome community, KDE3 users, those migrating from other distributions, those migrating from other operating systems.

Don’t know whether the education or studio aspects would also merit specific marketing.

openSUSE is such a flexible distro, it needs to be sold slightly differently to different groups.

Fully agreed. So let’s look at some of the target audiences:

  • Education
    • K-12
    • University
  • New Users
  • Experienced Linux users
  • Developers
    • Web developers (Ruby/RoR, PHP, Perl, Django, etc.)
    • .Net developers
    • FOSS application developers
    • ISVs
      (I split those groups up because they have different needs)
  • SMBs
  • Desktop users
  • Server users

What else am I missing?

Governmental people?

There’s a big push in Europe for more open source software in the .gov sector, for example here in Northern Europe the new IT chief for administrative sector said “Open Source now!”.

Maybe it should be directed at the largest group: non-linux users. Take advantage of the financial crisis and present linux (SuSE) as the safe and free non-windows/mac alternative. That’s a pretty good selling point, I think…

I really think we should stop promoting Linux as free and promote it as quality. As long as Linux is promoted as ‘free’, people think that paying for something else will be an improvement.

Indeed, the reason I started using Linux nine years ago was its quality and the fact that I could do things with it that I couldn’t do with other software (occasionally but rarely because of the cost of acquisition).

Let’s start promoting Linux as offering businesses greater productivity and quality outputs both in a recession and as they come out of it.

It’s a good point, but I didn’t say that price was everything. I actually mentioned safety first, and you’re talking “quality.” Fair enough.

But this is a forum about OpenSuSE, which is dedicated to remaining free of cost, so I find it a fair argument to make. Feel free to disagree…

frosch62 adjusted his/her AFDB on Friday 12 Jun 2009 20:16 to write:

> But this is a forum about OpenSuSE, which is dedicated to remaining
> free of cost, so I find it a fair argument to make. Feel free to
> disagree…

And not to forget that the newest OpenSuSE version is always in “Beta” stage
and not for production, it is the testing ground for the enterprise edition.

Sometimes I think a lot of people think that it is a full blown, working
system as opposed to a work in-progress as any new release is.

Don`t get me wrong I am not knocking it, that is why I use ( and abuse ) the
latest versions, but I always keep one or two steps behind on one machine
for the stability side of things.



Nullus in verba
Nil illegitimi carborundum

It may depend on where you’re promoting it.

Richer countries: quality matters more than cost.
Poorer countries: cost weights more than quality.

Just my two cents.

Agreed you should really take advantage of this, I myself have been looking for an alternative to windows for a while now was very unimpressed with windows vista.

Im a systems analyst so I meet a lot of computer users and all of them really dont like vista, some people have downgraded their vista machines to XP. I needed an alternative because microsoft is planning on making XP obsolete faster than win 98 that means updates etc are vanishing if they havent already.

If you can market the fact that an old OS does not make use of the resources that a new PC has then you got yourself a big portion of computer users who will venture out to give it a try.

jbrockmeier mentioned earlier about how to possibly break it up for different markets.

I suggest 2 basic ones, where the subcategories can fit underneath.

Education and University
Experienced Linux users
Web developers (Ruby/RoR, PHP, Perl, Django, etc.)
.Net developers
FOSS application developers
Business or Home
New Users
Experienced Linux users
Web developers (Ruby/RoR, PHP, Perl, Django, etc.)
.Net developers
FOSS application developers

See, if we split it up like was suggested, we could end up with a lot of respins. I would suggest doing it like this. In the repository manager is community repositories, we could do things like multimedia repositories, web developers repositories, Samba repositories and so on. That takes care of the basics. Then on install, add a screen that asks what type of user, so that later on, it configures the system based on how they answered.

If they choose New User, then a little description could explain it as, most of the system will automatically be configured for you whenever possible.

Where as an experienced or advanced user may not want that and so the blip would read something like, This setting will leave most of the configuration up to you.

I assume by K-12 you mean schools (primary and secondary) as there may be many countries that don’t call it K-12.

It’s a launch, so what about the Media as a sector i.e. computer press/news, magazines, journalists (they also use linux) that do all those reviews. Don’t wait for them to pick up from Distrowatch, target them with something (ubuntu seems to get more reviews than anyone else). :\

Government sector in european countries (@Chrysantine mentioned it earlier). Why? “It’s the economy stupid” :). They are waking up to Open Source to save huge licensing fees. For example, UK PM said that government IT projects must look at OSS to take advantage of lower licensing costs (BBC news story). I guess the real push there will eventually be commercial (Novell). Goverment people may already be having a look at leading distros. If the PM mentioned it, he was briefed by civil servants involved in overseeing IT projects. Try and target them somehow at the launch.

Is splitting it up during install already mentioned? Like we have the choice of desktop environments. So, after starting the installer, it will give you a couple of choices:
Server install
Desktop install
Laptop install
This way you’d still be providing everything to everybody, so persons like me could install a full desktop on a Server install and so on

What? We can’t hone and fine tune it a bit more, while offering greater diversity?

I agree that targeting is important however I believe we should aim for a simpler set of demographics. If, for instance, we are using the Ambassadors at the sharp end then they need an agreed upon, common approach to promoting the launch so that presentations and other marketing materials are the same no matter where we are (within the strictures of local environments of course).

I agree with the server - desktop separation.

Each of these two group then could be divided into

  • New Users
  • Experienced Users
  • Developers

So then we would have three presentations, one for each group but with material that could be added or removed depending on whether it’s a group dealing with servers or Desktops.

Pamphlets would be either one of two: Desktop or Server.

This would give a simple start point and then more detail could be added at local level to suit the finer demographic.

This misses the point; marketing should focus on the uses to which people are putting the software, not their expertise. I would also suggest that developers who have not heard of openSUSE are too small a market on which to focus marketing effort at a distro release. They need to be contacted in other ways, e.g. publicising the OBS.

Another sub-area I think to focus on would be possible Windows 7-converts. It will be coming out close to Fichte’s release, so as a “rival” from a marketing perspective it would be logical to focus on it.

Perhaps something along the lines of “unlike other OS’s, openSUSE has been improving with each release” or “consistently better than the previous version”.

Not that I have a bad opinion of Windows Vista or 7 (indeed, I love using both OS’s). I’m just talking from a marketing stand point. :wink:

Normally for marketing purposes I would agree about having an application focus, so that any marketing material could highlight in an appropriate way, the key application programs along with any new or improved features being delivered in the release. The material should appeal to all users irrespective of their current skill level, in the same way that openSUSE can.

Leaving Developers aside, I don’t see the point of dividing a target audience by skill level except when promoting an entry level version that is available separately from the main one. As John Hudson points out Developers and their particular needs can be handled in specialized ways.

Looking at jbrockmeiers’s original list, the “New User” and “Experienced Linux User” categories are somewhat vague. Does it mean new to computers/linux/openSUSE? What’s the experienced Linux User interested in? We could debate that for ages. In another thread someone argued that power-users haven’t got time for linux and its difficult ways. How do you define a power-user nowadays (useful if you’re selling H/W)? Trying to appeal to categories that are difficult to define can waste a lot of planning time/resource. Best to categorize audiences that already exist as clearly groupings such as schools and universities, I would have thought. :wink:

I think the main purpose of OpenSuse 11.2 is to target the most obvious:
Target Windows 7

Its pretty obvious to me, OpenSuse use KDE4 and many have compared it to Vista and windows 7 already.
OpenSuse should take the push to gain the media attention that we know Win7 will get, Win7 already gets a lot of hype as it is so why not try to dish out our own offense?
Its only money that gets win7 its attention but with the right kind of strategy OpenSuse could capitalize.
Here is what I feel needs to be done:

1: OpenSuse needs to get its own theme going, loose Oxygen and perhaps use QTcurve instead.
2: Loose Aya as the default plasma theme for Opensuse, I think air as seen in KDE 4.3 beta is pretty nice.
3: Improve multimedia installation, make sure that getting multimedia is better documented too like a link after installation or something…

Those are the 3 I can think of right now.

Focusing too much on the competition may detract from concentrating on the strengths of openSUSE. Sure, there has to be publicity, but if you know that Win7 will get huge amounts of publicity, and Microsoft has massive marketing budgets plus a captive audience, why burn the sponsors’ funds on a losing strategy?

I think that the first task for openSUSE is to convince the Linux community that it can deliver a reliable distro where things just work on release, especially multimedia and the installation process. It arguably delivers the best all-round KDE desktop, a good gnome desktop, an impressive infrastructure, and an increasingly open development cycle. That is a big enough marketing task to begin with at launch.

If openSUSE manages to get the attention of Media that covers both Linux and Windows, then it will attract the attention of clued-up users.

I don’t think openSUSE is ready yet for the sector of the Window’s market that thinks “Google is a browser”, buys it with the H/W, and gets a new system when the old one is full or broken.