Reading the title you might wonder why I would want to risk the possibility of yet another flame war between “Linux” and “GNU/Linux” proponents. The reason for this is that I am not only choosing neither side, but also because your brand name is very important.
When people talk about Ubuntu, they usually have two ways of referring to it. Most frequently people use ‘Ubuntu’, but at some places you’ll find ‘Ubuntu Linux’ very consistently. This may be a relic of the past, after all the Ubuntu 4.10 Warty Warthog release announcement has links to www.ubuntulinux.org rather than www.ubuntu.com. In this blog post I want to argue here to stop calling Ubuntu ‘Ubuntu Linux’. There are several reasons to do so.
The first, and the most important argument considering we’re trying to market a product here, is that using simply ‘Ubuntu’ makes the brand name a lot more attractive and easier on the mind. Because of the Linux in ‘Ubuntu Linux’, people will associate it with the legacy of past Linux distributions, and I think that ‘Ubuntu’ is a more attractive name on its own.
The second argument is about being sensible about attribution. Several people have said that Ubuntu should very purposely be marketed as ‘Ubuntu Linux’ to give credit to the Linux developers. Other people, who feel that GNU contributed a lot of code to the base of most operating systems using the Linux kernel, even say that we should try to promote Ubuntu using the impossible name ‘Ubuntu GNU/Linux’. However, why would we attribute GNU and Linux, but not GNOME, FreeDesktop, Mozilla, The Document Foundation, Novell, Red Hat or any of the other projects and companies that all contribute to what is ultimately integrated into one Ubuntu? Does GNU really deserve more to be in the name than GNOME? Isn’t the browser the most important tool of the desktop nowadays?
Putting either Linux or GNU and Linux in the name is not fair at all. There is no reason why those vital projects should be attributed, whereas other projects that are just as vital are not.
The third argument is practicality. Your headlines will be a lot shorter when writing ‘Ubuntu’ instead of ‘Ubuntu Linux’.
The fourth argument is conformity. If we want to bring a consistent message, we all should follow the same naming scheme. This is very important. When someone is talking about ‘Ubuntu’, and another person is discussing ‘Ubuntu Linux’, then you create confusion. “Is Ubuntu the same as Ubuntu Linux, or is it something different?” a person might wonder. Ubuntu Linux could very well be a derivative of Ubuntu! We should pull our act together and make sure we deliver a consistent message. Canonical and most people are using ‘Ubuntu’, therefore it makes sense to stick to ‘Ubuntu’.
Why write this blog post about to propagate a convention that is already dominant? The reason for this can be found in the fourth argument: ensuring consistency. Use ‘Ubuntu’, not ‘Ubuntu Linux’! When you see ‘Ubuntu Linux’ being used somewhere in a description, on a wiki page or elsewhere, fix it! Make sure the public knows we’re all talking about the same product!