This takes the cake (and make mine chocolate!)


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Oct 04, 2009 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

I heard recently, and could not really believe it until I saw it, that Microsoft was encouraging people to throw "Tupperware(R) parties" at their homes in order to launch the new version of Microsoft's products.
That is right...plain old down-to-earth "homies" extolling the virtues of quickly going to 7.

I knew that Microsoft had perfected the "we should not have to pay for marketing" line years ago when they orchestrated the launch of Windows 95 by getting stores to open up at midnight just so people could rush in and buy the first copy of Windows 95. Microsoft only had to pay for a couple of bottles of cheap champaign for each store, recouping those costs inside of thirty seconds when the first person plunked down hundreds of dollars for that shiny plastic disk.

Linux can't do that, since anyone that anxious to get a fresh distribution of Linux just pulls it down off the Internet. This also allows the Linux user to get their beauty sleep instead of standing in line outside some store for hours.

At another event people paid big bucks to attend an empty movie theater during the middle of the day, to listen to a simulcast of various Microsoft partners discussing how their Internet products would complement Microsoft's system. It was obvious that the people up on the big screen of the movie theaters were software partners of Microsoft that paid big bucks to produce the simulcast. During the entire eight-hour day there was not a single Microsoft person visible in the event, including when (at the end of the day) a courier truck pulled up and dumped off hundreds of beta-copy CDs of Microsoft software.

So I should not be surprised that someone came up with the idea of trying to get lots of Microsoft fans to invite other Microsoft fans to their homes to show off the new software just like some people go to other people's houses to look at plastic bowls and find out how to use them.

Except while I know fans of Apple and I certainly know fans of Free Software, I don't know any real fans of Microsoft. Sure, there are lots of people that use it...grudgingly...because they feel they have to use it. Not lovingly or even willingly. So this advertising stunt may be the biggest bust since the "shoe commercial".

On the other hand, Microsoft Marketing has inspired me to suggest something along the same lines to Free Software people. Let's throw a party! Lots of parties!

The first party we can throw is the release of Ubuntu Linux's "9.10" on October 29th. (Drat, think about how cool Ubuntu's release will be next year..."10.10" Or is that really "2.2"? Well, I would have a 50% chance of being right....but I digress.)

Let's help Ubuntu people have a better party than Microsofties. That can't be too hard, could it? Take some drinks, munchies and your laptop over to someone's house and install the newest version of Ubuntu on it? Share the joy of hearing that "tumptump" as the login screen appears?

Later on I am sure that there are some new releases of Fedora, OpenSuSE, Mandriva, Debian, or any of the dozens of other Linux distributions coming out. Each party could demonstrate the features of that particular distribution.

While we are at it, I do not think it is too late to have a twenty-fifth anniversary party for the GNU project, or a party marking what I believe is the 15 year anniversary of FreeBSD, or the fortieth anniversary of Unix. In honor of these I might haul out some of the early versions of Linux (Yggdrasil,anyone?) and fire it up on some older computers I have, just to show people how far we have come in a short time.

On October 14th-16th I will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil at FUTURECOM, on October 20th at the 1st Forum de Software Livre de Duque de Caxias in Rio de Janeiro, and from October 22nd to 24th at Latinoware in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil. I invite everyone to party with me at these events, and you can bet I will not be "pushing" Microware....or shoes.


  • Comments back to you

    Gus3, rich, Adam et. al.

    Yes, I am aware of "installfests", and I am also aware of Ubuntu release parties, etc.

    "Installfests" by their nature are usually held in a large meeting room of some type, and the release parties I have been at are usually at a restaurant. What set this "release party" apart in my mind was advocating the use of a private person's home.

    As to "hundreds of dollars of merchandise", yes that is list price. Manufacturing cost? Shipping cost in bulk?
    The use of a third party to do this probably saved Microsoft money in the long run.

    And rich, somehow I can not see Steve Ballmer sitting down and personally signing thousands of copies of Ultimate 7...nope...just can't see that.

    Good marketing though.


    Great idea to hold an "MS launch party" and wear a penguin suit,

    Greg P.

    There was a time that boxes of Linux distributions were in computer stores.

    Over time, however, several issues came to light:

    The boxes tended to stay on the shelf, become old, and cause customer dissatisfaction buying an old copy of a distribution when the new one was available online or at a "release party".

    People did not like paying the store for what they perceived as "gratis" software (despite the fact they got nicely printed manuals, etc. with the boxes of CDs)

    There were no applications that acted as "value added" to the sale.

    You did not have to de-install your Linux distribution when you gave your computer away, so there was no need to buy a fresh copy of Linux at the store.

    So the store owners, who were basically selling shelf space, turned that shelf space into more lucrative (for them) products that ran on Windows and MAC.

    FOSS profits are usually made in providing some type of service, not products, and "service" is hard to demonstrate on a store shelf.


    I don't blame them either. Making money is good. And if people thought that I was criticizing Microsoft Marketing for their "parties", heck no! I thought it was brilliant....and I was jealous.

    Next time....Penguin suit here I come!
  • Microsoft launch/lunch events

    My company also focuses in Linux solutions and, same as yours, attends these events. And many of them are not really cheap ones, but instead organized at a restaurant or hotel. They are really nice to attend. And free --as in beer-- products are really of help when dealing with windows-centric customers, mainly as test tools.

    But we really seldom depend on them in order to communicate with our clients. We have settled in and most of our documents are exported to pdf format before they get sent.

    When in need to test Windows products, he have a couple of machines running Virtualbox. They do the job with no hassle.

  • Vista, er, Windows 7 parties.

    Can you imagine the hangover from those Windows parties? The headaches, the nausea, the black,er,blueouts, the regret for the stupid thing you did. And it won't go away, you're stuck with it.
  • parties?

    "On the other hand, Microsoft Marketing has inspired me to suggest something along the same lines to Free Software people. Let's throw a party! Lots of parties!"

    Isn't that what we used to call "installfests"?
  • Ms party

    We're hosting a Win7 launch party. During it I will be wearing a Penguin suit and installing Mythtv/XBMC on the hosts home machines. Might even take some photo's of the Win7 ultimate coaster supporting my beer happy

    After all. Who are we not to waste some of MS's money. I'd encourage all FOSS fans to hold a party celebrating the last of the Microsoft OS's.
  • win 7 party host

    The Company holding the windows 7 parties is house
    I'm pretty sure its costing Microsoft big bucks for this service.
    I applied months ago hoping to host a party, but figured the odds were really low considering i live in Northern Canada. To my surprise i was picked as one of the hosts. After receiving my party pack which contains hundreds of dollars of merchandise including a full copy of windows7 ultimate edition 32 and 64 bit signed by Steve Ballmer himself, I viewed the map of the other part hosts and there are literally thousands of hosts across North America all receiving this same package.

    paying a third party to run the event, shipping hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise at no cost to the hosts as well as other separate marketing campaigns = a ton of money spent!

    So basically "we should not have to pay for marketing" statement is just not exactly what is happening here now is it.
  • Um?

    This seems a bit of an odd post. First, this isn't really Microsoft's idea - it's being arranged through a third party company who specialize in this kind of 'party'. Basically you bring your product to them and they put all this party infrastructure in place. I've forgotten the name of the company, but it's been mentioned in several of the news stories on these events. So it's nothing new, and not original to Microsoft, they just picked this service as one of several they're using to promote 7.

    Second, um, are you _really_ not aware that distributions have been organizing launch parties for years? Ubuntu, Mandriva, Fedora and many others all co-ordinate community events around the world for each of their launches under the banner of a Release Day or something like that. It's been going on for years. Of course, at Linux parties, everyone actually gets a copy of the frickin' software...
  • What is needed

    What is needed and what I would do if I suddenly became fabulously wealthy, would be to open up a Linux Store.

    My vision of a Linux Store would be a place where you can come in, see various Linux distros operating on various hardware of varying age, and just simply experiment to see how life goes on after IE, after Word, that there are better alternatives out there in open source, that installing Linux is a piece of cake.

    And of course, there could be CDs and DVDs available for purchase of some distro you want to install on your computer.

    The staff in the store would be knowledgeable, but also able to refer you to online resources for further information, about how to partition your drive to set up a dual-boot system.

    This is at least the kind of thing that is needed to fight the proprietary mentality that gets reinforced by the stores that sell the computers with Windows or MacOS preinstalled.
  • Thanks

    Thanks for commenting your personal experience. We like to know whats going on the other side of river.
  • Not the whole story here

    I attended a "Windows7 and Server 2008R2 Launch" for developers and Enterprise IT professionals in Atlanta last week hosted by Microsoft. I didn't pay any money and neither did my company. It wasn't done poorly, but it wasn't extravagant either. It was held at a movie theater in a fairly central part of town with free coffee, pastries and other nominal freebies from a few sponsoring companies.

    In the end, I wasted 4 hours there since I and my company use Linux. We avoid Microsoft solutions for a number of reasons, but we do use them where they fit OR where the customer demands it.

    At the end of the morning session, we were able to get free copies of Win7 Ultimate, not trial-ware, but real licenses. If you work in enterprise IT solutions, you either use "some" Microsoft tools or fight with incompatibilities in simply exchanging documents with your clients.

    BTW, at this launch, there were many, many Microsoft fanatics. People who have determined they can just join up as a Microsoft partner and make lots of money. I can't blame them.
comments powered by Disqus

Issue 253/2021

Buy this issue as a PDF

Digital Issue: Price $12.99
(incl. VAT)