Friday, May 7, 2010

5 lessons for other Linux distros from the success of the Lucid Lynx

It probably now sounds like a cliche, but the Lucid Lynx is the best release Canonical has come out with since its inception. The following 5 lessons can be gleaned from the overwhelming success of Ubuntu 10.04 by other Linux distros which can go a long way to help increase the overall market share of Linux in the desktop OS market.

1.Define who your user base is
It is no longer acceptable to just put code over the kernel and call it an OS. You must define who you are targeting to use that OS. The success of the Lucid Lynx, and for that matter Ubuntu, is partly based on the fact that Ubuntu is focused on first time Linux users, those who are now making the shift to the unknown "other OS" out there.

This is reflected in every decision that is taken with regards to all spheres of development. Be sure to know who you want to use your distro, whether it's the geek who reads his newspaper  through the Linux terminal or the granny who wants to send a birthday email to her 7th grand son.

2.You may dislike anything proprietary, but never so those who use it.
Sure you may dislike proprietary software or system in one way or the other, but never ever despise the people that use those systems. I think this simple but over looked fact is part of the success of the Lucid Lynx. As an example, I have read comments after comments of how people are now able to flawlessly use their iDevices on the Lucid without any need for fidgeting whatsoever. Other Linux distros must try as much as possible to accommodate the needs of people that use other systems, not try to shove the distros own ideals down their throat.

3.Try to become an answer
Ubuntu Studio, Lubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu server among others are part of what I call the Canonical suite which helps to gain more users in that it is able to meet more needs. Do not narrowly focus on being just an OS, try to be an answer to more specialized needs.

4.Clearly define the role of your community
It is necessary to clearly define the role your user community will play in the growth and development of your OS. The faux pas that happened following the change of the window buttons from right to left in the Lucid Lynx could have had a devastating consequence had it been a smaller distro.

5.It does not hurt to apply marketing to Linux
If there is any one Open Source company that does marketing right, it is Canonical. And as is clear now, it does not hurt at all to invest some time and if possible some money to marketing your distro, it really pays.

These are the five lessons that can be gleaned from the critically acclaimed Ubuntu Lucid Lynx. I know there are more that I have not thought of and would be more than happy to have you point them out in the comments.

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By Seeraj Muneer with 9 comments


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