I wanted to comment on Tristan Rhodes's latest post before but didn’t get a chance. Last time I checked he had received 56 comments on his suggestion to “unify” the Ubuntu name (and by unify he means to avoid the proliferation of several different distribution versions, that distinguish themselves based only on the window manager installed by default).
I must tell you that I have to agree with him, mainly because I feel that the many [U|X|Ku|n]buntu out there could be very confusing to an end user who’s decided to check out GNU/Linux for the first time. I believe that having an unified name, Ubuntu, would simplify things a whole lot when telling people what to download:
Someone: Og, where can I download Ubuntu? Og: That’s easy… you can… wait! Do you prefer GNOME, KDE, XCFE,…? Someone: uhhh… what?
For someone who is interested in venturing itself into trying the Ubuntu distribution, choice is the name of the game. But it may not be obvious to them that Kubuntu, for instance, is just the same Ubuntu distribution, but “wearing” a different shiny outfit! :)
Now, ignore the issues related to bandwidth and storage for a while and allow the massive amount of caffeine I’ve just ingested do the talking… ;) and imagine a window manager-agnostic Live CD that would display, maybe via a recorded screencast, the possible choices and then (and only then) allow the user to pick which direction to go? Then, the dialogue above could go a little bit like this:
Someone: Og, where can I download Ubuntu? Og: Why, you can go to [URL] and download it? Someone: [after booting up his system with an Ubuntu Live CD] Hummm… which “look” (read window manager) do I want? This? [click]… nah! Maybe this one? [click]… Niiiice!
Like I said before, you’d have to ignore issues that would arise from lack of good bandwidth but I’m sure this is very doable. Did I allow myself to stretch a bit the “I want a pony”? Sure!!! But even if you ignore my “wild dream” here, the bottom line is that the identify of the distribution is intact and the end user doesn’t have to get confused with different brand names.