We all know that Ubuntu 12.10 was released last week. Some of you might also know, the original slogan for Ubuntu 12.10 was:
Avoid the pain of Windows 8!
That slogan, from many a perspective (including yours truly) was dead on. With the release of Windows 8 already behind us, we're already seeing the backlash and complaints of Windows 8 users. So for all intents and purposes — that slogan was one the Linux and open source community not only needed, but deserved.
And then... Ubuntu retracted and replaced the powerful sentence with:
Your wish is our command.
That saying says, well, very little. In fact, when I read that saying, my brain immediately went to 'command line'. Of course, being one that still appreciates and uses the command line — that's a natural leap. But even for those that aren't command line junkies, that slogan does nothing to gain the attention of users. That slogan, quite frankly, is weak. This watered down marketing comes at a time when Linux (especially Ubuntu) is primed for success. Not only is there a desktop that blows away much of the competition (trust me on that one — give it a week and you'll change your tune on Unity), the Juggernaut, Microsoft, has released a desktop that sends a clear message to the masses. That message:
We're migrating to a touchscreen platform and you better get used to it.
Ubuntu on the other hand?
We've made a desktop that will perform perfectly on servers, desktops, tablets, and more.
Of course, I understand the Ubuntu-based tablet has yet to arrive (it better soon, or it will completely lose its window of opportunity), but Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical do have plans for this.
But why the retraction? Were the executives at Canonical strong-armed by some unseen, unknown force that had them tucking tail and hiding under their teak wood tables? Regardless of the "why", I can say this was a bad choice. At a time when Ubuntu could finally stand up and say, 'We have the desktop to ease your Windows 8 pains," they opt for vague, unexciting...meh.
You stick with "Avoid the pain of Windows 8!" and you chance getting the attention of all those dissatisfied Windows 8 users giving you a look. Naturally, you also run the risk of people charging you with mudslinging. It's a tough call — especially during an election year when muckraking is at an all-time high.
But Canonical, and Ubuntu, has done a great job of taking the high road thus far and at this point, I believe, deserves some spotlight. I realize I am biased — it's hard not to be biased when you're looking at technology (Ubuntu) every day to get your work done, and you never have problems while at the same time you are having to support the opposing technology on a moment to moment basis in order to help others get their jobs done. So yes, when I look at Windows 8, I look at it from a biased perspective, based on my own experience.
But not everyone has that same bias — and many hold the same opinion as I. So why wouldn't Ubuntu hold true and fast to their original slogan? If it was, in fact, to take the high road and not speak ill of their competition, then I applaud them. If, however, it was out of fear they might anger the stumbling, raging giant — then I would furrow my brow and point the finger of shame at them.
With all of that said, I wish to make this statement:
For anyone who tries Windows 8 and finds it clunky and inefficient, give Ubuntu 12.10 a try and find out how a desktop platform should really look and behave.
Now is the time for Ubuntu to be taken out of the niche and given to the masses. Forget the petty arguing over how open Ubuntu is or what Linus thinks about this desktop or that kernel. The pump is primed, the masses are ready, and Ubuntu is the right solution.
So, if you're looking to "avoid the pain of Windows 8?" Your wish is Ubuntu's command.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.