I’ll start off by making a few things clear. Firstly my family PC runs Ubuntu 12.04LTS its great. Ive had no problems whatsoever with the distro and from my young lad playing Tree Fu Tom on the CBBC’s website, to handling of all the tasks I put to it there are no complaints. None at all.
I’ve spoken to Jono Bacon (Canonical Community Manager) on a number of occasions, he’s open, friendly and above all makes time for people (he certainly made time for myself and Dr Schestowitz when he was a guest on the TechBytes show). I supported the integration of Amazon into the Ubuntu search, I personally had no privacy concerns, citing that myself and my wife are regular customers of Amazon and saw it as a feature that would be useful to us.
Maybe showing that I don’t think Ubuntu is all chocolates and roses is the news that you can now advocate Ubuntu with the help of a kit from Canonical:
“A little while back I posted about an idea I was discussing with the rest of the community team about a downloadable advocacy kit that, similar to an SDK for software, provides everything you need to get started spreading the word about Ubuntu.”
Source: The Jono Bacon Blog
And for me this is not something I support or champion in any way, infact I would go as far to say that this type of advocacy is disingenuous and I think dangerous. Let me explain.
I think with the plethora of choice in software and hardware solutions, the popularity of a product hinges very heavily on word of mouth advertising. The software solutions I advocate are on the basis of choices I make for reasons of my own. The way I go about highlighting what I consider to be the best choices is by bringing peoples attention to them in my own way of writing/advocacy.
It seems to me that Canonical are seeking to control/regulate advocacy on their terms. For example I love Ubuntu but think this “kit” idea is a terrible one. What does the “kit” have to say about criticism? What if I loved Ubuntu but didn’t love the idea of Amazon integration? What would the “kit” have to say about that. If you start dictating (or sorry, advising) people on how to advocate your product, then its not really advocacy any more is it?
This content would make it easier for advocates to get going, instead of navigating the wealth of unorganized content on the wiki and variety of promotional materials. The ADK provides a set of curated content that gets someone up and running quickly.
To which I would say, honest held belief and true independent advocacy is not organized. Its the good words of a happy user, promoting a product in their way. It’s unique to them. Its genuine. Get someone up and running quickly? Sounds like organizing a PR campaign. When I am looking for honesty in someone who claims to be independent, I am looking for disorganization – they are merely giving me the advise, they are not trying to sell me anything and at the end of the day I don’t suppose it matters to them if I take their recommendation at all.
Take a look at all the open source hits, were they advocated with “kits” or was it honest held belief through word of mouth? I think you will find the latter.
Start making a community of advocates with your “kit” and I think you will find very quickly a competition environment exists. Maybe Canonical secretly wants this and thats what worries me. Up until now there has been no “bonus” or community “kudos” for advocating any particular distro. Throw a bunch of keen (and probably relatively new) Linux users together in a Ubuntu Advocacy club and see what happens. The kit provides everything you need (apparently), I’d suggest if someone wants to show the benefits of Ubuntu to others and cannot collect a set of materials which best represents how good Ubuntu is to them, then they should be advocating anything, let alone a Linux distro. I certainly wouldn’t take tech advice from someone who had to have a “kit” to get going.
We have a stunning advocacy community, and together we can make the ADK something that is fun, informative, and useful to our global set of teams. As such we are looking for volunteers!
No, Canonical are beginning to sound very Microsoft’ish with this advocacy kit and I am not impressed. Take a look at the article and see if you are not slightly uncomfortable with the thought of an organized group of Ubuntu advocates with “starter kit” in hand flooding the interwebs, being “useful” to their “global set of teams”