Running an advertising campaign for Linux

Linux has several problems, because of which its market share is quite low on the desktop (including laptops).

  1. It’s not known by many people. Those who know about it are either professionals or hobbyists which are interested. To the average user who knows about it, it usually comes down to “isn’t Linux that software which makes computers difficult to use?”

  2. Lack of software. Especially specialist software (Adobe and Autodesk come to mind here, but there are others).

  3. Fracturing of the community. There are lots of distributions (about 600?). With the advent of snaps/flatpaks/appimages this can be pretty much mitigated.

  4. The perception that the computer and the OS are one thing. Most people view a computer as a device to get things done. They don’t know any different than the computer coming with Windows or MacOS out of the box and think it’s supposed to be that way.

  5. Lack of pre-installed distributions on computers. For this to happen, the companies producing them need to be convinced that Linux is going to be worth the money (support, configuring, etc.).

  6. Total lack of a marketing campaign.

And that sixth point is what matters most. If we ever want companies such as Adobe and Autodesk to provide support for Linux, we need to pick a distribution and get an organization with a lot of money to start a marketing campaign for that Linux distribution and start investing in that distribution.

Users won’t come if things are perceived to be difficult or they don’t know Linux exists. Users won’t stay if their software/hardware doesn’t run. Hardware won’t be supported unless the manufacturer sees value in Linux support.

How can we approach this?


Some pretty good points there.

I agree that if we just get more eyeballs on Linux Desktop more users will follow and hopefully snowball into more apps and more users…

It sure would be nice if Canonical could get a few major manufacturers to partner up. If Dell, HP, and Lenovo all had some options it would help legitimize Ubuntu as a desktop option. I know Dell has had an official product. Not as sure of the others, but they may have too.

These days there is a large percentage of the population that uses a browser and a few office productivity apps and not much else. A Linux desktop/laptop would work just fine for that.

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You bypassed the point that Linux is cost-free.
Therefor a computer+linux bundle should be able to be marketed for less than a computer+win bundle.
But that is not the case… linux bundles were more expensive when I last looked


Three words: economy of scale.
They simply expect to sell less computers with Linux pre-installed, which drives up the price of a single unit.

Besides the direct costs there’s also the indirect costs. I think there’s a big chunk of the price difference is indirect costs.

Besides: Ubuntu is not free to OEMs.

More than likely will be in my “forever home” before all this will ever come to past!!! Never hurts too dream!!!

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Can they not download it ?

I can see the economy of scale argument.

I think they can. However, they want support contracts and such nice things. With distributions like Ubuntu they would be foolish to download, as in such cases they would be committing piracy. All that that juicy support, guaranteed functionality, and warranty, would not be applicable in such a case.

Usually the manufacturer and, say, Ubuntu draw up a contract. Once a year a Ubuntu then gets paid a lot of money, and in exchange the manufacturer gets to install Ubuntu and gets a very juicy support contract plus guarantees.

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One word, bundle home and auto.

But that’s four words.

Not if you bundle.



Have a look at this site

They offer choice of 6 different Linux distros, and a huge
range of hardware

I dont think they would have contracts with
six distro makers?

You dont have to have Lenovo and Dell putting
Linux boxes in the stores. Other people
can do it as a third party service.

Here is another example

They offer a choice of 4 Linux distros


I stand corrected.

Now these Linux boxes need to be sold at places where the masses get their stuff, with equal exposure as Windows has.

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That may be the point we need to attack.
The retail stores dont stock linux computers.
They stock other things that are ‘on order’, so why not linux
I think there are enough people who would build linux computers if the could get them on the retailers shelves,
including Dell and Lenovo, but also smaller Linux specialists.

100% and this is probably the main reason that neither Dell, nor Lenovo, unlike other markets, sell systems pre-loaded with any Linux distribution in Australia - e.g. the Developer XP15 last time I checked (, was ONLY available with Windows pre-loaded… I check Lenovo and Dell at least once a year, and still the same lack of choices…

BTW - Australian large department store, Myer, used to have a computer and tech section, I was browsing there one lunch break (city store in Perth) in 1999, and noticed a white box on the software shelves, next to Windows 98 and MS Office, with a big red hat on it! I bought it - Red Hat 6 (before they went all RHEL)… And then we used it at work and my boss re-imbursed me anyway…

It’s not simple if you look at this site just how many versions and flavours are on offer.
How do you choose
My favourite is Linux mint but even that is available in mate cinnamon LMDE and up to a short time back 64 and 32 bit.
Yes I know it’s based on Ubuntu or Debian which is easy for me to understand but for an end user which to choose.
Then when you want software you go to the repositories and get it but if searching for a driver for a printer as an example do you want a cups or something else…
I install for my clients but have to say it’s like windows but the colours are different and some images icons are different but works the same.
But most ask does it have Google as though that is the internet
User education springs to mind


Perhaps you can have a sample computer they can toy with to see whether they like Linux. This computer should reset the user account on logoff/shutdown. Of course this computer needs to have some sample stuff installed ready to go. Some games, some office software, some image editing, a web browser, things like that.

The radical solution to that is to provide ALL linuxes.
A computer loaded with say 50 linux versions is quite achievable with modern hardware and software.

Then we could truly show users that linux offers something more than Windows… it offers choice.

We undersell linux by plugging it as a windows equivalent.
It is more.

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Why? Until Linux has a “Linux OS” then I would not have to chose between “Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Gentoo etc”. When all Linux Distros use the same basic software, when installed. So is there a best Distro? If there is I have not found it!!!
One Windows install, will do what all of your 50 Distros will.

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This is ‘tongue in cheek’ , but my answer is because that is
what Linux is.
Linux is not one OS
Linux is variety and choice.
FOSS is even more variety and choice… Debian has 50000

What I am pushing for is … we should market linux on what makes it different from Win or Mac or Android. Making it look the same will not achieve anything.

One Windows install, will do what all of your 50 Distros will.

In one sense yes, it will drive the computer, but in another sense no, the user experience would be different.


Yes, and the user experience with Linux, is in most cases is very unappealing!!! And I wish you luck in trying to convince any die-hard Windows user with any ad campaign.


Well, distributions like Ubuntu provide a good end-user experience. I wouldn’t recommend running an ad campaign about Arch, Gentoo, or Slackware.


All my computers run Linux mint so it’s easy to demonstrate a working system especially when windows has so many virus issues which I cannot remove without a total windows clean install. I charge 100 euros to do that and 2 days plus they must provide a new copy of windows legal hence they go for Linux.

This year only had one come back when the client said Linux does not work !
She had replaced her internet provider and could not understand that she needed to put in the new password for it to work, never had that problem with windows … Hmm never changed provider before.
10 mins later and all working so happy now