[Marketing] [SoaS] [IAEP][DP] Announcing the creation of a SoaS Decision Panel

Sebastian Dziallas sebastian at when.com
Fri Oct 2 19:11:52 EDT 2009

Sean DALY wrote:
> Although it's probable a "Fedora Sugar Spin" would generate press and
> lead to downloads, in my view it would be catastrophic to launch that
> at the same time as Sugar on a Stick. It would just create confusion.
> A separate launch is certainly worth discussing, but I'm interested to
> know what the target would be - geeks? more likely than teachers, no?
> In that scenario it would be an effective developer recruitment
> effort. But beyond the absolute numbers of downloads, what interests
> me is the trend - the graphs I saw from Bernie and David showed big
> spikes after the Strawberry launch and steady uphill growth every week
> since then. I'm afraid we did manage to stress the server at launch,
> we were lucky the Chinese sites didn't link to us in their articles.
> Marten has been busy organizing mirrors. When I have an
> advertising/promotion budget beyond my pocket, I will be able to
> coordinate very effective ads in teacher monthlies, and that will
> generate press where it matters most (and where Sugar has hardly any,
> and Fedora likely none at all).

This brings us to an interesting point. Yes, it would probably cause 
confusion. That's why we decided at FOSDEM in Brussels this year to 
withdraw the Fedora Sugar Spin (which had been on its way to production 
then), in favor of Sugar on a Stick [1].

That makes sense so far, right?

But what's being discussed now will come down to result in exactly the 
opposite of that. I've been asking before what sense it would make for a 
distribution to build a solution, in fact a fork, inside SL, when it 
wouldn't be able to promote it as such a distribution.

Example: Fedora is currently not able to promote Sugar on a Stick.

But if there were different distros competing for the SoaS brand name, 
they would probably still want to provide their users with a solution 
based on their system. So a logical reaction would seem to put the work 
into the distros (see for example Wade's e-mail, too), and not SL; 
whereas the latter one could still pick what it wanted to promote (note: 
this is actually what sounds somewhat logical to me, too).

So far so good. But here's the problem:

You won't be able to dictate a distro when it releases it's Sugar 
builds. You really won't. So you'd possibly have a Fedora Sugar Spin 
(possibly released by Peter, me, or whomever), as well as other $DISTRO 
Sugar LiveUSB / Spin / Remix builds. And those releases could basically 
happen all the time.

As you said, that causes confusion. Which is why I've been preaching 
that the underlying distro is *entirely* irrelevant, but happens to be 
Fedora - mostly for historical reasons.

Whether this is still valid depends on the DP's decisions, I guess...



> What concerns me about Fedora marketing is the strategy. I see great
> tech, grassroots buildup, the Ambassadors program, but it's not clear
> to me what the plan is to increase marketshare, in the general PC
> market or in the education market. Are there any OEM discussions?
> Perhaps increasing desktop marketshare is not a priority which is fine
> of course, but part of the problem I am wrestling with is the weakness
> of the distro and desktop brands.
> The Sugar branding is designed to play the strengths of Sugar against
> the very real weaknesses of Microsoft. And Intel's pay-pay-pay
> ecosystem model too (cf.
> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/marketing/2009-September/002101.html).
> Blackboard and the other vertical-market players such as the custom
> Windows desktops (EasyBits etc.) are linked to Wintel and are very
> pricey compared to Sugar. At the speed Sugar development is going (and
> of course distro development and particularly Fedora), Sugar will be a
> very real challenger on only a year or two.
> I have no illusions about the difficulty of jumpstarting an ecosystem,
> but since that is necessary to the success of Sugar, we need to make
> it happen. I have ideas for plans for that too; I have worked in a
> startup environment and seen how it is indeed possible to start slow,
> build momentum, then scale with a breakout. The key to that I think
> will be FOSS system integrators targeting schools, working to displace
> Wintel box movers where there are not overarching contracts. Work on
> the XS/Moodle integration is key to that I think. That pilots are
> small doesn't matter; Dell developed and tested their education
> netbook (http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/marketing/2009-May/001026.html)
> in one Texas and one UK school.
> Sean
> On Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 9:53 PM, Peter Robinson<pbrobinson at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> Thank you Martin. I think that is spot on!
>>>> We've been a distro distributor for months - from the before the
>>>> beta-1 Sugar on a Stick announcement.
>>> Who's we?  sugaronastick.com?  Sugar Labs members?  Let's be clear:
>>> Sugar Labs does not have the staff to compete with Canonical or Fedora
>>> as a distro vendor.  So please help me understand to what "distro
>>> distributor" tasks you think the DP should propose to SLOB.
>> It would be interesting to see how many people are using SoaS over
>> something like the installable options from the distros such as the
>> sugar desktop group option in Fedora. This obv wouldn't include the
>> XO-1s. Of the 5 devices I have that have sugar installed. 2 are the
>> 802 XO release, and 3 are Fedora (although one of those will go to
>> SoaS for some testing eventually).
>>>> And, we are marketing it with success (cf. worldwide tech press
>>>> coverage, the BBC, etc).
>>> How many people are using it?  Satisfied with SoaS as a distro?
>>> What's the target deployment size, and what SL support will be
>>> required?
>> I would think not massive amounts. Do we have download stats of SoaS.
>> If so how many, what regions etc. Any idea off demographic or
>> deployments?
>>> I'm not saying it can't be done.  I'm saying I don't see any agreement
>>> on what it is or who's going to do it.  Without that we should...
>>>> We can do this because we are very, very careful not to overpromise.
>>> ...not overpromise :).
>>>> Part of our work is to jumpstart a support ecosystem.
>>> To the extent this impacts SoaS, this sounds like wishful thinking.
>>> Who's doing this?  With what plan?  What targets are there?  Why do we
>>> believe they'll be met?
>> I know from trying to get a grass roots group together in the UK this
>> is very hard. There's a small core group doing the pilot and a dozen
>> or so others that show up on occasion. From my observation its not
>> that different on the olpc and sugar tech mailing lists (I'm not on
>> iaep but we are after all talking about creating a distro ). You see
>> the same group of people posting to the list all the time. You then
>> get the occasional drive by asking a question.
>>>> It's certainly not easy, but it's not impossible, in my view.
>>> "Not impossible" covers a lot of ground.  What happened to not
>>> overpromising :).
>> I would like to see some stats. Who has access to the download stats
>> of "SoaS Strawberry". I would almost bet that I could create an
>> official Fedora Spin called "Fedora Sugar Spin" for the Fedora 13
>> release and get it on their main download site and get almost as many
>> downloads as SoaS and with the combination of SugarLabs and Fedora
>> marketing get as much or even more press coverage.
>> Peter

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