[IAEP] Topics & deliverables from Marketing IRC meeting 03-03-2009: Sugar 8.4 launch date set!

,Josh williams joshcwilliams at gmail.com
Fri Mar 6 20:48:11 EST 2009

Hey everyone, I'm jumping on kind of late but here's my take.

I don't think "sugar" is actually a very competitive term, even if it is 
a generic word. SugarLabs.org is already on the front page of google (6) 
from what I'm seeing  (with a search for "sugar") on multiple data 
center searches. I don't think it would take (too) much effort on our 
part to bump it up a bit.


I think you ought to reconsider the marketing perspective of Gnome and 
KDE. Gnome has very good marketing in my opinion, but they aren't 
marketing to end users only. They're also marketing towards 
distributions like Ubuntu. Canocial chose Gnome for its Desktop based 
not only on the user experience, but by Gnome's long term plans and 
strong HIG. It's also why gnome has become the default desktop on the 
most popular distros (a position it didn't always hold). Don't we want 
to market to distros - and have them promote sugar as a feature?

Try finding HIG on gnome.org and kde.org. Good luck with finding it on 
KDE's site (it's about 4 clicks away compared with to 2 for gnome). I 
think we need to market sugar to distros, as well as end users. I think 
gnome does this well and we should try to emulate it.

Ask a hundred linux users on the street about gnome and kde, you'll get 
a lot of feedback and strong opinions. Ask a hundred average people if 
they /know/ what linux is, I doubt you'd find many that do.



josh at tucson-labs.com

Sean DALY wrote:
> These comments have been very useful - thank you.
> I apologize for the long post below, but I feel the subjects are very
> important for the project, and with a week to go until the media
> launch we need to sort ourselves out.
> Jonas said:
> If you were too confused to say "I run Sugar 0.82 on OLPC-OS 8.2 at my G1G1 XO"
> In fact, that's just as confused I was... I didn't realize until today
> that there was such a thing as "OLPC-OS 8.2"... I've been conflating
> 0.82 and 8.2. Which I'm sure I wouldn't have done if Sugar was
> numbered 1.2 instead, but I'll address that below ;-)
> Since I never see or touch the distro... it doesn't... exist.
> Tomeu, Jonas: I perceive that what you see as a product is in the
> functioning, architecture sense: the software which runs over the
> underlying hardware, distro, packages, etc.
> And indeed it is. In fact, I can't even imagine the complexity of
> assuring compatibility with tuples of hardware and distros. But... in
> userland, for the sake of ergonomics, that's best hidden... partly
> because very few users have the technical chops and most users need to
> be handheld, but also because... it's a distraction from the central
> function of the software... which is for learning. What teachers and
> parents care about.
> There are lots of software products for which it is extremely
> difficult to do marketing and communication. Samba springs to mind;
> it's a vital component of every distro that needs to work with MS
> servers on a network, but try visualizing it (!) Or Cisco for that
> matter, which has a massive marketing budget and a nice logo... and
> great difficulty in marketing, since ordinary users who depend on
> Cisco boxes & software never see them (not even their admin screens).
> So, as with many computer products, in their marketing you usually
> see... happy shiny people.
> My point is... Sugar has an incredible advantage compared to such
> products... it is visual, and amazingly so... it is very different...
> it is the most visible part of whatever system it is running on... it
> is the machine/human interface. Without a doubt, any child (or
> teacher, or parent) using it can be very specific about what they
> like/don't like about the "computer"... for them, the computer *is*
> Sugar. They know it - but they don't know its name (or version number
> ;-) It's *this* branding I'm interested in... that Sugar be called by
> its name (or another, more in a moment)... just not "the computer" or
> "the system". Because the first step in getting Sugar in front of more
> kids is that users of all ages know its name... so they can ask for
> it. On an XO, or another netbook, or a LiveCD, or (soon) on a USB
> stick.
> With all due respect to Gnome, *and* KDE for that matter... from a
> marketing point of view, for me they are not a reference. Why? Because
> I doubt one in a hundred ordinary people in the street have heard of
> either of them. Because journalists will talk about "Linux" being
> installed on machines and won't bother mentioning Gnome or KDE. And...
> when journalists talk about Ubuntu, they will mention "Linux", but
> they won't mention Gnome (or Kubuntu). Ubuntu has very effective
> marketing; it's 100% user-facing. Sugar has all the potential to get
> there... but that potential will only be realized if users know its
> name.
> Of course, Ubuntu has Canonical behind it investing in marketing and
> communication (and distribution, and development,...). Mozilla has
> deep pockets too... and Firefox is very far ahead of Ubuntu in focus
> group unassisted name recall (don't remember where that stat was,
> sorry). Mozilla has done brilliant marketing these past four years in
> the sense that they realized very early on that they had an amusing
> but unmarketable name and therefore had to find a better one for the
> user-facing product. They stated their ambition as market challenger
> with a cute colorful mammal surrounding the world; they worked behind
> the scenes to run on very different platforms with 1-click installers,
> but branded only the part that mattered: what you're looking at on the
> screen. To reach teachers and parents, and the kids behind them, Sugar
> branding needs to do the same. Except for the multiplatform part; I
> can't see any advantage, and many disadvantages, in trying to run over
> Windows, and I don't even know what technical hoops would have to be
> jumped through to do so, or with what level of crippling.
> Now, about big money, offices, dozens of employees, branches around
> the world, ruling the solar system, etc.: there is no doubt whatsoever
> in my mind that generous funding would simplify many aspects of our
> education mission. Compensating developers, putting a LiveCD or SoaS
> in the hands of thousands of parents and teachers would have enormous
> impact. It would of course also be a great responsibility, to keep
> Sugar running if something breaks, every school day. Handling feedback
> requires people, and listening to feedback Sugar could become *the*
> reference. Local Sugar Labs could go far with little I believe, but
> even further with more... so funding is not bad, in my view.
> Bert made a very astute observation: we need to be Googlable. Luke is
> quite right, Sugar by itself is ungooglable and Sugar "needs" Labs
> close by in this context. This is why, to me, it is absolutely vital
> to have the Sugar Labs logo on the sticks, even if it means shaking
> the piggy bank. "Sugar Labs" is already well-referenced; to go
> further, we need to associate that "string" with education... which is
> why I advocate a consistent tagline of "Learning software for
> children" to be associated with Sugar Labs. As for the product...
> should a better name be sought? I've been mulling this for weeks. To
> me, "Sugar" has a strong but not very positive association with
> children: "candy", "not too much", "cavities", "obesity". I've had a
> couple of ideas for a different name, including a specific one I spent
> time on which had problems though. However, I don't think it's urgent
> to take that decision until Sugar on a Stick (the ultrareliable
> bulletproof version) is released, which is why I find Walter's
> suggestion to go to v1.0 with SoaS convincing. A USB stick is a
> physical embodiment and the act of connecting SoaS to a computer means
> Sugar is deliberately added to it. To get there, parents and teachers
> need to remember its name. Imagine if we could raise funds for
> thousands of sticks...
> So... if we stay with "Sugar v0.8x.y" (even/odd) until SoaS is
> ready... how do we market "Sugar v0.84" starting next week?
> Jonas makes the excellent suggestion to baptise the version with a
> name. It's a good way to reduce the importance of the version number
> in communicating. I fear that unfortunately, honoring chocolate barons
> may not be the best path... the biggest names were part and parcel of
> the colonial era :-( and some names including Van Houten are
> registered trademarks which will be zealously protected so off-limits
> :-(
> The well-of-names approach may work... depends on the names. But...
> rather than invent a nickname... in particular one related to Sugar
> which possibly may not remain the name of the product, I propose a
> different approach... a roadmap approach, meant to reinforce SoaS.
> Netbooks are the fastest growing category in the industry; they are
> the cheapest; there is already a wide number of them; after the XO,
> the Classmate etc. are the likeliest candidates for school
> deployments. Journalists are on the lookout for netbook-related
> stories; they know netbooks are Microsoft's weakest point. So maybe we
> should baptise 0.84 "Sugar Netbook Version". It doesn't matter if it
> is actually targeted at desktop PCs in general; what matters is that
> people will associate Sugar Labs with netbooks, reinforcing the
> communication goal above that Sugar runs on lots of different machines
> - a brand value which will pave the way for SoaS. "Sugar netbook"
> delivers excellent Google results already; "Sugar Labs netbook" hits
> our site directly. ;-)
> On a final note... we need to be crystal clear on the version
> numbering, and in particular take into account advising the large G1G1
> installed base which will be working with "build numbers" as far as I
> can tell.
> Thanks for your help.
> Sean
> On Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 2:59 PM, Luke Faraone <luke at faraone.cc> wrote:
>> On Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 8:54 AM, Bert Freudenberg <bert at freudenbergs.de>
>> wrote:
>>> Nice idea, but it's not google-compatible. Rather unlikely that "sugar
>>> chocolate" will lead one to discover 0.82 ... It's too bad "Sugar" is
>>> such a generic word :(
>> How about "Sugar Labs Chocolate"? :)
>> --
>> Luke Faraone
>> http://luke.faraone.cc
>> _______________________________________________
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>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
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