Friday, October 12, 2007

G.O.T. : Grandmother of Technology?

One of the main problems Linux has with desktop adoption today is a lack of face, a problem Nintendo itself had. For years Nintendo was known for it's mascots Mario, Zelda, Link, Samus, Bowser, Gannadorf, and so on, but when pressed to answer on who exactly was running Nintendo? Not many people could name a real person. A few years ago Nintendo hired Reggie Fils-Aime to be their face, something BrandWeek talked about when it handed Reggie the Grand Marketer of the Year award.

In the same way, Linux needs a human face. Yes, the Penguin is cute and well known. Yes KDE's Konqi is well known... to fans of KDE. In a crowd of people, I highly doubt I could single Linus T. out, or Andrew Morton, or Ingo, or any other well known kernel developer whose emails I see almost daily on Kerneltrap.

Novell, I think, had the right idea. I like their mockeries of Apple's PC vs. Mac ads, especially the first one. The Apple ads are well designed to convey the idea of who uses the computers. For the Mac there is a 20-30 something guy who comes across as a little smarmy, but likeable, and for PC there is a 40-50 something guy who comes across as book smart, but clueless. Novell introduced Linux... as a cute 20-30 something female. Can't say I liked the Gnome jacket she was given, but that's my own bias there.

That, I think, is what Linux needs, a face to go alongside the OS from the big name vendors. It doesn't have to be a cute 20-30 something female though. It could be anybody, even a Grandmother. In some cases it might even be great to have the face be a grandmother. How often has "Mother approved" been used in TV and radio advertisments to sell products? Some sort of Grandmother of Technology who simply appears at the end of a Linux commercial saying "I approve!"

Pipe dream? Ludicrous? Probably.

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