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Is Ubuntu Elitist?

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Ubuntu

Discussions of Ubuntu with people outside (and sometimes inside) the free-software community often devolve into criticism of Linux advocates as arrogant elitists, endlessly singing the praises of their operating system of choice but frightening away potential new users with their snobbish and intolerant attitudes. This reputation for pretension may be undeserved, but it’s something the Ubuntu community needs to deal with more actively.

The images of proprietary operating systems are carefully molded by corporate PR departments. Apple spends millions of dollars presenting Macs and OS X as the computing platform of fashionable, free-thinking hipsters, while Microsoft has devoted huge sums in the last several years to reconfiguring popular perceptions of Windows as an exciting and customizable operating system. These images may not reflect the reality of Apple and Microsoft’s customer bases very much, but they nonetheless play a vital role in the ability of OS X and Windows to attract (or retain) users.

The free-software community, which lacks a centralized voice and has little money to spend on advertising or market research, does not enjoy the assistance of public-relations professionals to help cultivate a positive image of Linux in the public mind.

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Pandas in Beijing Zoo
Photo credit: Nick Hopkins

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