Open source marketing

Matt has begun a series on the use of marketing in open source, at least partially as a response to an argument he and I had in the most recent episode of LugRadio. He begins by explaining very briefly what marketing actually is (as opposed to what programmers think it is) and then goes on to a more detailed analysis and review of Linspire’s new OooFf! product—a retailbundling of Firefox and OpenOffice together—where he pays specific attention to its branding and marketing. My feelings about corporatism and its potentia linfluence on the open-source world were not all that well explained in the LugRadio discussion—I suspect we’d need a whole episode just on this, and I intend to return to the topic with a few more well-considered essays here—but one of Matt’s major arguments is that I don’t understand what marketing is. Perhaps this is true: if it’s so, I’m certainly not alone, and it’s rare to find someone who is capable of explaining it to a programmer: not many hackers can explain hacking to a marketeer, and none of them understand hacking, so why do we expect that we understand their discipline? Matt’s work should help bridge the gap: if you work with free software and you think that marketing waste time and money, or even if you don’t but think you can see effective marketing techniques that they can’t, then you need to read this series. More please, Matt!

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