[Mageia-dev] Identifying Target Markets

Frank Griffin ftg at roadrunner.com
Fri Oct 1 14:14:36 CEST 2010

I'm not sure what's going on with this ML.  I responded to a post by
Graham Lauder, and it ended up going to him but not the ML.  He then
responded to me privately, and we both agreed to repost to the ML. 
According to the gmane archives, he did, but I never received his
repost, so I can't place my reply in the correct branch of the thread. 
I'll post it here, just so that it's *somewhere* in the thread...

Graham Lauder wrote:
> 42 for me, I started with NCR in August of 1968 and went on to be MD of my own 
> company for eighteen years, these days retired on my little country estate, 
> wonderful lifestyle, bloody awful internet connection.  :)
Congrats, we're both old farts :-)
> And this is not economics this is Marketing 101  

No, sorry, it's not marketing when you frame it as you did:

> We do this because at the end of the day infrastructure costs, marketing 
> > costs, a whole pile of things cost.  One day some patch or application, which 
> > is essential but completely non-sexy could require us to pay a dev on contract 
> > and so on and so forth. 

That's economics, pure and simple.  Marketing is trying to make
something attractive to potential purchasers.  A distro doesn't have any
of those.

>> You make my point exactly.  The infrastructure costs are fixed, and the
>> donor pool will be larger if the user base is larger.  
>> [....]  If MDV had trumpeted itself as a KDE-only Family (or Education,
>> or whatever) distro, and reinforced that by excluding packages and
>> infrastructure support for other stuff, I wouldn't have given a dime.
> And you miss my point entirely, there is NO trumpeting, that's advertising, 
> there is no exclusion, rather inclusion of a missed market

Oh, come on.  Trumpeting and advertising are essentially the same thing,
at last in the context of this discussion.  And what you're advocating
is certainly exclusion; you're saying that we should design and promote
the distro as a <fill-in-the-blank> distro in order to capture the
mindset of a specific market share, to the implicit exclusion of other
aims if resource limitations encroach.
> I'm a marketing guy not a hacker and I haven't been part of the marketing of 
> OBS, but I seem to remember that OBS packages for a whole heap of distros 
> including even deb based ones. However I may be wrong talk to Jos Poortvliet 
> or Andreas Jaeger on the opensuse lists

OK, then maybe we need to look at piggybacking on OBS.  The idea I
floated was an idea, with a suggestion of an implementation.  If there's
a better implementation, that's fine; we can use it. 

>> "Focus" is all about excluding "non-essential" activities so that a
>> company can focus its limited resources on the desires of a specific
>> market. 
> Focus in this case is about establishing branding, nothing else

You're entitled to your definition, as I am mine.  In common parlance
(as well as in this industry) "focus" (as used by non-developers) very
definitely implied "concentrate on this and not that".  That not
branding; it's triage and prioritization.

> I am wondering why you are trying to convince me, this is not my decision, I 
> am merely an idea generator.  I give reasons as to why I believe that this 
> target market is a good one and I foster debate.  My goal is simply to 
> establish criteria for branding, nothing else right now.

I'm not sure how seriously to take this.  You post an opinion about
channeling the distro to a specific audience, and when I respond, you
wonder why I'm trying to convince *you* ?  Frankly, I doubt if I *could*
convince you, and it was never my intention to try.  I know an
enthusiast when I read one.   I'm simply participating in the debate you
initiated and want to foster.  Which includes the issue of whether we
need branding at the distro level or not. 

My opinion is that we do not.  Our infrastructure costs will be
relatively fixed, and will be dwarfed by the cost of developer and other
contributor time it will take to maintain Mageia.  The community
resources we will discourage by advertising ourselves as a niche distro
will cost us much more than the infrastructure budget.  So, while I
would concede that your branding argument would make sense if we were
embarking on a commercial venture, I'd have to say that it is pretty low
on the priority list for a community distro.

More information about the Mageia-dev mailing list