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Canonical Works to Clarify the Ubuntu Brand

If Microsoft had titled its flagship operating system “Microsoft,” while also referring to its user and developer communities as”Microsofts,” that would be a bit confusing for everyone involved. As Canonical employee Matt Zimmerman recently noted, however, this is exactly the sort of branding dilemma that plagues the various products, organizations and ideas associated with Ubuntu Linux. But he has a plan for addressing that problem. Read on for details.

First, let’s face the obvious: coming up with good product names has never been one of the free-software community’s strong suits. The open-source world is filled with applications whose titles no one knows how to pronounce correctly (Nome? Ga-Nome? Gee-Nome?), spell properly (NetworkManager or Network Manager?) or distinguish from Web applications (surely the OpenOffice people could have thought of a less confusing suffix than “.org”). There may be some clever exceptions, but in general it seems clear that few open-source developers took Branding 101 in college.

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