2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

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2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by sofasufi » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:38 am

Hi all.

I'm a Mint newbie, having recently replaced XP with Mint 13, Cinnamon flavour. It was a big decision for me, as my notebook is my primary machine from which I run a marketing business. System failure is not an option & Mint is proving to be a rock solid, intuitive & beautiful OS.

My question for the community is this: What initiatives are underway to market the value of Linux Mint to the wider, non-Linux using community & what else can we do to help take Mint to the next level in 2013? Ubuntu looks set to continue in the Unity direction for the forseeable future & like it or not, the Gnome's seem intent on pursuing their current direction as well. For would-be Linux newbies who want to move away from XP & are considering Mac, I see Mint as being in the strongest position to gain new users - I'm sure the vast majority of you will agree & DistroWatch suggests the same.

Despite how fantastic Mint is, the fact is that the vast majority of desktop users have never heard of it. While the distro does not have the backing of a Shuttleworth - even Ubuntu remains unknown to the average desktop user, relatively speaking - Mint has a first class OS & a passionate, gifted community. Marketing is not a dirty word - far from it - and I believe that there is plenty of work to be done in this area.

If there already exists a group that are as passionate about marketing Mint to a wider audience as it's developer team are about growing & improving it, please point me in the right direction. If not, is there anyone who would like to get involved in collectively coming up with a simple, deliverable strategy to help take the Mint user base to the next level in 2013?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by raymerjacque » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:39 am

I think steam ( or rather valve ) and Wine will play a big role in bringing windows users over to linux. and Linuxmint is the prefered distro to run for Windows users due to the easy of use and familiarality they will feel using it. Steam is still in beta, but the next 2 years shows much promise for gaming on linux.

Wine is also picking up at a rapid pace now, at one point I would install linux and go back to windows, come back a year later to linux and see that wine hasnt changed much at all, now in a matter of months so much has been fixed. ( prehaps the whole steam/valve saga has light a match at wineHQ and given them some motivation ? ).

As for marketing to existing linux users, i dont think its needed, people that run linux like to customise, experiment and so forth, sooner or later they land here and then they stay :)

Also at distrowatch : http://distrowatch.com you can see that mint is getting almost 6000 hits a day...
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by sofasufi » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:04 am

Hi raymerjacque.

Thanks for your comments. For sure, Linux is currently more in the media at the moment than possibly ever before & as you say, the Steam development is one of a number that will impact positively on the Linux user base. There's also Android & several other encouraging trends. Things are certainly shifting.

I'm assuming that you feel that increasing the rate at which current Windows users discover Linux is a desirable & positive shift. If so, I don't think your points discount the need for an effective marketing & promotion campaign. I wasn't suggesting a need to market to existing Linux users, which would be a waste of time - they are no doubt already aware of Mint. I'm specifically referring to the 90+% of desktop users who are still using Windows.

6000 hits a day on DW is fantastic, relatively speaking, but a drop in the ocean globally - and what % of distro watchers are already using Linux? Me for a start. It's a very positive sign for the Mint community, but it's also hard to know what that number means exactly. Regarding Steam bringing current Windows users across to Linux, that will certainly happen to some degree. However, gamers also make up a relatively small % of the total number of desktop users across the globe.

If anyone knows of existing initiatives to increase the level of awareness about Mint amonst non-Linux users or if you would like to start brainstorming, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks,
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by raymerjacque » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:58 am

The problem with Linux is still pretty much the same it was 15 years ago :

*Games dont run very well on linux and those that do dont do so out the box.
*Linux itself is still behind windows in the "ease of use" to a new user department.
*Lack of driver support is another concern.

These are the 3 main topic's that need to be addressed, and i feel that with every release atleast the "ease of use" is getting the needed attention, drivers is a problem, but not an overly massive one. the Main problem with linux is and has always been Gaming. In every household there is always a gamer, daddy may work with office and pdf files and mommy may do online banking, but the kids play games and often they lan quite a bit.

I don't understand why Wine is not installed by default with a new distrobution ? it should be in EVERY linux out there that is on a mission to win over Windows users, even if users dont use it it is a mere few hundred mb of space that is consumed. Little things like that can really add to the easy of use section, because right now anyone that wants to run any kind of game must first install wine before he can even attempt to launch any kind of setup.exe file, and to a new user its not always the easiest thing to do. I have a friend who wanted to run linux as well and he had endless problems setting it up, i had to help him install wine, has to help him setup software in wine that games required ( DX, .netframework, XNA etc etc ). It kinda really put him off Linux and he went right back to windows. Wine should be part of the linux packadge, and whats more, framework and DX should also be pre installed. that way you can just install a game out of the box and play it with minimal problems. and this applies to windows software as well, not just games. Hell, they can even build a seperate Distrobution called "LinuxMint - Wine edition" that would have all the bells and whistles pre-setup with Wine, this will be more attractive option for Windows users looking to move over to linux.

The key to Linux becoming more mainstream is and has always been games, every single household in the world has atleast one gamer, and most have several, Steam is just the first step to something that should have happened years ago, Technology is finaly playing catchup with linux so to say, when more games are supported on linux the users will put pressure on manufacturers to give better driver support and so forth. Once games get supported in OpenGL, programmers will start making better support for OpenGL dev tools on linux as well as GFX tools and the rest will follow, so you will start seeying some of the well known brands of tools making linux versions etc etc, so in the end gaming coming to linux will also effect developers, movie makers, graphic designers and so forth, its all a snowball effect that starts with 1 thing. It will be a few years still before that bridge is crossed, but its already happening.

btw, where in SA do you stay ? I am based in Port Elizabeth.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by Pierre » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:50 am

Linux itself is still behind windows in the "ease of use" to a new user department.
- not sure about that - Mint itself has come a long way in the last Five Years.
- it really is User Friendly these days & when compared to Windows 8 - even more so.
the standard ' fix ' for Windows 8, - is currently 'Start8' or how to re-enable the start menu.

as for gaming on 'nix system:- try out "crossover" - the commercial version of Wine.

https://www.codeweavers.com/products/windowsmac/
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by caf4926 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:03 am

1*Games dont run very well on linux and those that do dont do so out the box.
2*Linux itself is still behind windows in the "ease of use" to a new user department.
3*Lack of driver support is another concern.
1. Agreed

2. Don't agree. It's just that windows users are really only familiar with windows

3. Don't agree. I install windows regularly with non-OEM media and it's pretty much a horror story.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by sofasufi » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:44 pm

hi raymerjacque up the east coast - i'm about 150 km's outside of Cape Town - small world for sure!

thanks for your POV - i'm not much of a gamer but i can see your point when it comes to gaming - who wants to have to install Wine or whatever, when they can load it straight onto their existing OS? as you mentioned in an earlier post, Steam could change all that & who knows what other games developers will follow - if Linux can run games at least fast (if not faster) than Windows, then it's game on! add Android to that & there's good reason to believe that Linux will be considered by more & more people going forward. it's now running on around 40% of all devices. lets see what the year brings.

go well meantime.

SofaSufi.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by raymerjacque » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:41 pm

caf4926 wrote:
1*Games dont run very well on linux and those that do dont do so out the box.
2*Linux itself is still behind windows in the "ease of use" to a new user department.
3*Lack of driver support is another concern.
1. Agreed

2. Don't agree. It's just that windows users are really only familiar with windows

3. Don't agree. I install windows regularly with non-OEM media and it's pretty much a horror story.
As i said before, i convinced a friend of mine to try mint, sent him the link to site and he downloaded, that weekend he basicly begged me to come help him, when i got to his house he had not even managed to install GFX drivers, was struggling to install Wine. the only stuff he managed to install was what he found in software manager, nothing else. i spent the day there and fixed up the mess, installed compiz, wine, nerolinux, office and all the stuff he uses, also updated his system, wireless drivers and gfx drivers. He has been in IT for almost 10 years and if he struggles as a new user how will someone that doesnt have an IT background that is scared to fiddle ?

It may be a pain sometime to install windows drivers, but you know what to do, how to run exe files, which sites to search etc etc. In linux its all deb, rpm, run, tar files etc etc, its greek to a new user and even to most newbies that have been using linux for a few weeks. Im just saying, Linux is not on same level as windows with user friendly to new comers, and yes maybe it is because they are more familiar with windows, but isnt the point to convert windows user to linux ?

With windows if a adpater driver isnt installed properly it pops up a message, I havnt gotten in linux, how the HELL does a new user know to go check "Menu->preferences->software sources->aditional drivers" ? its so deeply hidden it took me a day to find it when i installed mint 14....
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by xenopeek » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:33 am

raymerjacque wrote:With windows if a adpater driver isnt installed properly it pops up a message, I havnt gotten in linux, how the HELL does a new user know to go check "Menu->preferences->software sources->aditional drivers" ? its so deeply hidden it took me a day to find it when i installed mint 14....
No need to get upset. It is a temporary location, as the Additional Drivers program has been discontinued and the replacement the Linux Mint developers are working on, the Device Drivers Manager (DDM), wasn't ready in time for Linux Mint 14 release. DDM is to be included in Linux Mint 15, and that will be a better experience.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by Brahim Salem » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:10 am

What's this fuss is all about!! Linux Mint is more user-friendly than Windows or any other OS. That's a fact. I have been using Windows for as far as I can remember and still can remember the headaches it gives me upon each new installation; finding drivers,installing flash player, instaling office, antivirus and all that bla bla to get my system up and functional. Linux Mint on a USB is more complete than a fully installed Windows OS. I introduced Linux Mint to users who have never attended school and the results were awsome : Much to everyone's surprise, most of them got new PCs and installed Linux Mint. Mind you these people would have never thought of coming even near a PC runnig Windows. The only advantage Windows has is that spectacular propaganda and media coverage. And to Windows I would say "time to die is over, now it's time to bury the dead" :D :D :D :D
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by griffon » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:10 pm

Every household has a gamer
Not this one!!

As for Windows being user friendly I'm continually called out to friends to fix their Windows laptops and desktops. And almost every time I visit my sister her brother-in-law (an IT professional) is struggling to recover their Windows desktop.

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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by DrHu » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:40 pm

I think marketing without a lot of $cash is problematic for many people/companies and open source organizations, mainly because they are fighting against the inertia of business (where the defacto choices already exist: Apple can push it a bit more, since they have had innovative products/platforms suchs Ipad, Iphone etc, and as we now know mobilty (smartphones, pda type devices ) are trending, as they might say in the marketing biz..

Linux could have been used in many places already, but you will find businesses tend to ignore it in favour of Windows
--and are prepared to pay the $price as a normal part of their business: training with each newer version of Ms Office suite, and any file reading functions that don't work for older office files
--Military (Navy, Airforce, Army: went to windows a pointless cost excercise, ignoring what worked(solid UNIX or other OS) for what was marketed along with its like-new sizzle
  • Even the distinction that used to be applied to MACs has disappeared: that is MACs for arts/creators, Windows for accountants/business
    --a market game that was never real/true..
Can Linux which isn 't a complete platform (being simply an excellent OS and many OSS applications) compete against the 95+ % that Microsoft captures
--even Apple, I mean their OSX platform/product can't crack 5% of computer product total
  • Those numbers may not be 100% accurate, but they are close to the real numbers, expecially as microsft gets to count licenced products not just what is being used
    --there is no valid count for Linux..

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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by xenopeek » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:07 pm

The latest Linux Format issue had a good discussion on this also. Linux on the desktop is not going to be a success without it being preloaded when you buy a new computer. Average computer users don't want to install an operating system, they see a computer as an appliance. What tends to be overlooked, is argued in the article, is that computer manufacturers and vendors get paid to install trialware on your computer (you know, the bloaty pile of useless applications, bordering on being malware, that you can use but for a limited amount of time before you have to buy a license). The manufacturer or vendor gets a portion of the sales if you buy the license. The article states that this generates more revenue than the costs of including Windows...
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by raymerjacque » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:44 pm

The key to enter the market is not businesses, businesses don't buy computers off the shelf, End users do. And it is not an overnight process at all, it will take many more years before linux is mainstreamed out of the box onto computers. The point is that with every release it gets a step closer, everytime Microsoft releases a crap OS, its also another stepping stone for linux, You dont notice it because its small stepping stones that is part of a bigger process.

Take for example :

quite a few people that havn't run linux in 5 or 8 years and then boot up the os is shocked at the progress that has been made, they see it as almost a perfect os, but to daily users, they hardly notice the progress over time. Pretty much any windows user that hasnt seen linux in a few years or ever will be quite shocked if they installed mint.

When the device manager gets a nice overall ( as i understand that is in progress ) it will be another major stepping stone since drivers is one of the main issues new users seem to struggle with. to us its just another thing weve been waiting for and expecting, to new or very old users its another "wow" factor. Also dont forget that one of the MAIN reasons steam came to linux is because valve didnt like the direction windows was headed... so a blow to microsoft is a stepping stone for us.

As most others have said, there is so many distributions out there but only a handful that is really any good and for a change the right distributions are now starting to show up in the spotlight. Gaming is the biggest key to entering the end user market, gaming effects everything, it will push development tools, better driver support etc etc. Steam is the first to bring gaming to linux, but they wont be the last, others will want a piece of the pie and follow suit, I am guessing this will start happening once Valve starts rolling out reports of profits and stats on steam linux, which is atleast a year away, when this happens that is when others will pay very close attention, Profits are everything to major corporations and development studio's. So if steam Linux does well then its game on, if they dont it could very well delay gaming for linux and be a step backward in the whole process, but suffice to say, most of the world is keeping an eye on valve right now, and rightfully they should.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_adoption
According to linux adoption 48% of companies surveyed in 2010 use open source OS.

http://mrpogson.com/2011/03/27/how-many ... inux-lots/
according to this report there are 91 million linux users with 50% of those estimated to be mobile users.

As you can see, linux is already big, its just not really in the spotlight, but 40 or 50 million Linux users is ALOT of potential money to be made for major companies pushing out paid software and games, the moment there is word and hard evidence of profit, that is when Linux will get its 5 mins in the spotlight. and as i said, when valve posts profit figures and stats, that will be an article worth reading because alot will be riding on that article.

Unfortunetly you just cant go from A to Z without going through the whole alphabet... it doesnt work that way, you also dont get rich with get rich quick schemes overnight, there is a process to everything and it requires either VERY smart thinking, or Very hard work. I would say considering everything, Linux is doing really really well, they stick to their standards, offer the users what they want and so forth. this is its biggest strength at this point in time. That users can boot it up and know exactly what to expect and they know the next version will bring the same, but more...
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by xenopeek » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:16 pm

raymerjacque wrote:businesses don't buy computers off the shelf, End users do
Doesn't seem like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and other such large brands agree with you :wink: They have separate offerings for home, small business, medium business, large/enterprise business and for government/public sector. Have a look at their websites.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by raymerjacque » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:23 pm

yes, they advertise on their sites, but how many companies do you know that go online and shop computers ? almost none.

what they do is contact their local IT company and ask for a quote for new machines... and in the IT company who really controls what is in fashion ? - the It geeks who run whatever OS at home. it all comes down to End user. If Linux is in homes it will flow over to the business sector, it doesn't work the other way around.

Companies don't need gaming, they dont need better gaming gfx support, they dont need a nice easy to use interface for drivers and so forth, therefore if it spilled from business to end user the end user would still not get what they want. It must flow from end user to company.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by bimsebasse » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:54 pm

I don't think Mint has a PR man and there are no launch parties or release countdown buzz or anything like that afaik. Personally I like the no-hype resulting from this, it's one of the reasons I prefer Mint over Ubuntu :D

Does it matter how many users there and how much the userbase grows? Only in so far as more users equals more devs and (theoretically) better Mint development (cinnamon, mint tools, bug fixing etc). The numbers game in itself, let Ubuntu carry the torch there, they do it best, and their success benefits us as well.
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!

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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by raymerjacque » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:33 pm

Well my argument was purely on the process of seeying computers in the PC store for sale with linux pre installed, or seeying new users choosing linux over windows on their new systems and not specificly focussing on any specific distribtution of linux.

I think what mint is currently doing is working well for them and they should continue to keep their focus where it is. I do think they need to be weary of the direction ubuntu seems to be headed since it will effect mint as well, and secondly they need to embrace the whole "steam linux" trend and maybe incorporate steam into the installation of their next release, even with no PR man, that one simple addition will do wonders in the youtube reviews and other places where thousands of viewers will notice something like that and make a point of showing it off. Sometimes its the little things that matter the most. And the guys that review linux often will focus on something small they like and throughout the review keep coming back to it, ive seen it so many times and i think a steam installation icon on the desktop will definitely add the flavour of the hour there.
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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by bimsebasse » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:26 pm

Totally agree with you on Steam. Installed by default and optimized to (made sure to) work well with Steam. Luckily clem takes a keen interest in Steam compatibility.

Pre-installs (PC/laptops shipping with Mint) are out of Mint's league*. Even Ubuntu with so much more financial muscle are struggling hard to get just a symbolic pre-install presence.

*I'm aware of the MintBox and such, but it doesn't even amount to a drop in the ocean
Thank you for this thread. That’s all I can say. You most definitely have made this forum into something special. You clearly know what you are doing, you’ve covered so many bases. Thanks!

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Re: 2013: Taking the Mint userbase to the next level.

Post by caf4926 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:59 am

I did read somewhere that the Licence has been changed to allow for redistribution...
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