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Posted on September 18th, 2009 by Barry Collins

Internet radio exec: don’t mention Linux!

Pure SensiaIt might be used to run everything from PCs to power stations, but it seems some people are still a wee bit shy about using the (cough) L word.

Speaking at the launch of the touchscreen Pure Sensia digital radio, director of marketing Colin Crawford was pressed for specifics of the new device’s software. But after his CEO reminded him that the new radio was based on a Linux OS, Crawford remarked: “I don’t like the using the word ‘Linux’ on a radio.”

Why did the man in the sharp suit go queasy at the very mention of Linux? His reluctance may be borne out of perceived consumer antipathy towards versions of the open-source operating system. PC retailers have largely retreated from Linux-based netbooks following reports of consumer confusion and a marketing onslaught from Microsoft, which has persuaded manufacturers such as netbook pioneer Asus to drop Linux in favour of Windows XP.

Equally, it may be that Crawford simply doesn’t want to draw attention to the OS on a consumer device where, quite frankly, the flavour of the operating system is about as noteworthy as the colour of the screws they used to hold the thing together.

Either way,  don’t expect to see a penguin logo on the Sensia box in Currys.

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21 Responses to “ Internet radio exec: don’t mention Linux! ”

  1. Chris Says:
    September 18th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Reminds me of the time I walked up to an ATM machine and it rebooted to reveal the Windows XP progress bar. Nobody nearby could work out why I was chuckling to myself. So it’s not just Linux. People don’t like the plumbing to be exposed. It makes people nervous.

  2. cranky Says:
    September 18th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Some manufacturers don’t like to admit they are using Linux because they don’t like to share their code changes.

  3. Jose_X Says:
    September 18th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    The guy may be working off memories of customers giving a bad response to the mention of Linux. If so, we should take note. Further, one could argue to let Linux prove itself first before talking about it (they might fear jinx’ing). They may talk about Google using Linux. Talk about top500. Etc. But not about their product.

    The times will change so that one day anyone doing anything new will “obviously be using Linux.”

  4. chessboxing Says:
    September 18th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    The mass don’t want free stuff! Its like charity. The mass consumer doesn’t nuance. When they hear free, they don’t know free as is freedom. But free as in beer, which open-source doesn’t have to be.
    Some of the pitfalls of the human specie :) Very irrational people. But thats they ways perfect consumers suppose to be. So marketiers are doing great in mass propaganda(PR).

  5. Ian Says:
    September 18th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    @cranky – The Sensia is the first radio to use RadioDNS – an open source based back-end that’s been adopted as a standard by the BBC, Global Radio, Bauer Media and GMG. That the 3 largest commercial radio groups AND the BBC, which based on the last set of radio audience figures (RAJAR) covers well over 60% of all radio listening in the UK has effectivaly made RadioDNS the standard – so that particular part of the code is open to anyone ( has the head’s up on the Sensia).

    Obviously Pure may have tweaked it – but as they’ve used a Linux based standard to start with, it makes sense that they’ve used Linux to complete the job.

    @Chris – very true – I wouldn’t be surprised if saying it runs a Linux varient would put the average consumer off buying it – and I’m talking about people like my mother who wouldn’t dare consider any mp3 player without a fruit adorning it. The how isn’t that relevant for mass-market products (admittedly the price tag will put most off the Sensia), all that matters is that it does the job well – which the Sensia seems to achieve (as do fruit-adorned mp3 players).

  6. Tom Says:
    September 19th, 2009 at 2:22 am

    A few years ago I walked up to an ATM, poked my card in and saw an OS/2 boot screen appear. Did you know OS/2 boots very slowly on an ATM?

  7. Richard Jackson Says:
    September 19th, 2009 at 8:08 am

    On a flight recently my screen hung and had to be rebooted. Guess what – linux

  8. Nicomo Says:
    September 19th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Consumers don’t need to know what OS is running on this device nor what processor or chips it uses. If anything hiding these facts will only do Linux a favour, as later when or if a consumer does find out, the consumer will realize that Linux is nothing to be afraid of.

  9. milliganp Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Under the GPL Pure are obliged to publish the source of any GPL code used in the radio.
    Perhaps, given the number of consumer devices containing Linux (lots of set top boxes, most ADSL routers, many media players) we ougt to have a marketing programme titled “It’s Linux -get over it!”

  10. David Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    “Reminds me of the time I walked up to an ATM machine and it rebooted to reveal the Windows XP progress bar.”

    I remember standing by a bank of ATMs when there happened to be a brief power cut, and they rebooted – this was no more than two or three years ago, and the Barclays ones were running NT4, and the HSBC ones OS/2!

  11. Dan Says:
    September 21st, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    “Reminds me of the time I walked up to an ATM machine and it rebooted to reveal the Windows XP progress bar.”

    Reminds me of the time I was at the Taco Bell drive through and the screen at the drive up showed one of the old windows 98 style BSODs.

  12. Krayon Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 5:44 am

    “PC retailers have largely retreated from Linux-based netbooks following reports of consumer confusion and a marketing onslaught from Microsoft.”

    Consumer confusion? Where did this “fact” come from?

  13. Alan Pope Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Perhaps they are scared that the perception will be “I need to use a command line to configure this thing!?”

  14. Kyle C Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Hey, I only buy devices held together with silver screws.

  15. jobob smiff Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Reminds me of the time I went to Picadilly Circus, and saw the big Coke sign crashed with a windows message box….
    Great advertising, for BOTH companies!

  16. cavassin Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Dell: Linux v Windows netbook returns a ‘non-issue’

    so the “linux return” is a myth planted by ms

  17. merwolf Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    After watching the server guys spend three weekends out of four in the datacenter patching hundreds and hundreds of Windows servers every month the news something runs Linux in our environment gets nothing but enthusiastic applause.

  18. stokegabriel Says:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Initiating server query …
    Looking up IP address for domain:
    The IP address for the domain is:
    Connecting to the server on standard HTTP port: 80
    [Connected] Requesting the server’s default page.
    The server returned the following response headers:
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2009 21:50:23 GMT
    Server: Apache
    Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=h1npgc2nuvpg4iegt2oels3om0; path=/
    Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT
    Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0
    Pragma: no-cache
    Set-Cookie: dennisreg_sid=fe5933d9788f9c164bdee753968e1e34; path=/
    Vary: Accept-Encoding,User-Agent
    Content-Encoding: gzip
    ServerID Query returns:
    Content-Length: 13407
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
    Query complete.

  19. Mark O'Neill Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I once kicked an ATM and no money came out, so I rebooted it.

    Seriously, though, this makes me sad. Fuck Microsoft and their aggressive marketing and FUD

  20. Gunner Says:
    September 23rd, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    There is no “best” operating system, as it depends on the intended use. For security and less exposure to virus/malware you gotta go with Unix, Linux or Mac (Unix).

  21. Laurence Says:
    September 24th, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    My TomTom sat nav runs Linux and I never get lost with it.

    There is only one thing stopping me using Linux all the time. Will they please sort out the dogs breakfast which is the colour gamut settings for photographic work and colour printing? sRGB is fine for play and web but if you want something like the Adobe 1998 gamut or even HD then the sane option is to go straight back to XP or Mac. XP will run most of the important image software for Linux since it is platform independant.


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