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Canonical, Snappy and the marketing value of collaboration

Bryan Lunduke | July 4, 2016
Canonical implies it is collaborating with nearly every major Linux distro for its Snappy project. It is not. And what could have been a marketing win for it is now a loss.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Canonical, Snappy and the marketing value of collaboration

Collaboration is an important thing in the free and open source software world. Individual contributors (often employed by or involved with competing companies or organizations) working together for the benefit of all.

It's a core principle. Without collaboration, none of the free software world works.

And it's not just essential from the practical point of view-of people working together to get concrete things accomplished. It's also become a bit of a marketing buzz word. And something happened two weeks ago that I found rather annoying.

Wait. Before I go any further, I should make something clear. 

I am a huge fan of the collaborative efforts of many companies in the Linux and greater open source world. Even competitors such as SUSE and Red Hat come together on a regular basis to work hand in hand to find ways to benefit their own companies, while at the same time helping their rival and the broader community.

And they do so happily. Heck, I've even seen SUSE and Red Hat employees give presentations together at Linux conferences.

This isn't a SUSE and Red Hat only thing. Companies and organizations far and wide do the exact same thing. It's beautiful. And I think companies (and small organizations alike) should talk about it.

Do a good job of collaborating with a competitor to benefit everyone in the Linux world? Shout it from the rooftops. Be proud. It's something worth being proud about.

I should also add that despite being on the openSUSE board, I have been a very vocal advocate and supporter of Canonical and Ubuntu over the years. (Yes, we're about to talk about Canonical.)

I've even written articles proclaiming the near-perfection of past versions of Ubuntu. Sure, some of my articles have been critical of Canonical, but for the most part, I've been a proponent of their work for the last decade (with a little good-natured ribbing mixed in).

Bear all of that in mind before reading this and dismissing what I'm about to say as the words of someone who is biased against Ubuntu or the company behind it.

Which brings me back to that thing that happened two weeks ago.

Canonical issued a press release entitled, "Universal 'snap' packages launch on multiple Linux distros."

Snaps, for those not familiar, is basically a container for a Linux application where the dependencies are contained within it. It makes distributing a piece of software a bit simpler by ensuring you have the right versions of various dependencies ready to go. Straight forward. There are a few other projects out there doing very similar things. It's not a new idea.


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