Let's talk about strategy and communication


When I’m talking about Nethserver with people, IT professional or IT enthusiast…
I invite to take look at the main site.
I always heard the same answer: The project is too young!

Looking at this main site… There’s nothing about the fact that Netserver is a fork of SME!
What do you think about explaining what are the origin of Nethserver and why SME was forked, in what Nethserver is different and what are the forces and advantages.

A bit of history, of background could help define Nethserver.

In another way, in the main page, at the first look… And after the sevens slides… The visitor still don’t know what is Nethserver! Is for Server? For Desktop?
For this reason, and personally, I prefer a lot the “second page”, the Learn More page, with this one, everybody know what is Nethserver for, or what Nethserver is able to do.

As always, I don’t want to bash, I don’t want to denigrate anybody, neither the existing site. Just help improve the communication, for Nethserver be more impressive at first look.


First, I love such discussions! Don’t be afraid :wink:
We have talked about NethServer vs SMEserver here but I know, it’s a bit hide:
I’m a bit torn here, do you think that highlighting the fork is a good idea? It appears less young?
We could speak about the story, it’s true, I like this idea.
About the slide, other people told me the same insight… Let’s discuss. Do you suggest any improvement?

Okay, so let’s go:
The home page is mysterious and don’t inform what is Nethserver, neither what Nethserver able to do:
I would suggest to fusion the main page and the actual learn more page, and made a learn more page to show the webgui, the history, the background…

The home page has a contradiction:
“NethServer is an operating system for Linux enthusiasts, designed for small offices and medium enterprises”

By experience, I know that an enterprise and small business don’t like to lead with community!
An entreprise, or SME, can lead with another enterprise, a smaller enterprise ( until a Freelancer ).

I would suggest to not target anything ( design for small office and medium enterprise), but to present Nethserver as a product, or to present what Nethserver is and what it can do.
And let the visitor decide how he can use Nethserver.
He could be member of a big enterprise, or member of a SME, the boss, a director of a sector, an employee, a freelance or home user.
Who care the size of the activity? Just present the fancy Nethserver, the modularity, the versatility.

Canonicall at begin has two sites.
ubuntu.org, for the community, canonical was behind, a little hidden.
ubuntu.com, to present the activity, to present the service, Canonical was under the light, and the community behind
This way, the linux enthusiat went for the community and enterprises, SME, went for Connonicall.

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Last night I was thinking about Freebsd and IXsystems.
www.freenas.org to present the project.
www.ixsystems.com the entry for enterprises.

Edit: And yes, I think talking about the SME base, the fork, will give lot of background… At least, nobody will heard anymore “it’s too young” as “It come from nowhere”, “It’s not trusty”,“it’s not well proven”.
As a fork of SME, we can explain that it’s an improved SME.

Let’s start to fight…what drawbacks SME Server may have ?

No, no, no… it’s not a fight.

As Alessio with the link posted, “Nethserver vs SME Server”, with the explaination about why reinvente the whell. It’s to explain the advantage of Nethserver in comparaison with SME Server.
As Stefano answer me in another discusion: Nethserver has a different approach, talk about modularity too…

Also my conclusion was: SME Server is a “big” monolithic system.

Independently, if I’m right or wrong, the main site is for showing the quality of Nethserver.
With the marketing law, If my product is better… It’s that others products are worse.

I had edited my precedent post to suppress the last sentense about drawbacks of SME server :cold_sweat:


Jim, you’re walking on a mine field here, you’re been adviced :wink:

A lot of passion here.
It would be much easier with ideas allayed, iron nerves and cold heads.
Because is off topic.

As the chapter of SME was aborded, to show that Nethserver could be trusty.

The Webgui is not valorized ( at the bottom of the learn more page )
The easy way to install preconfonfigured modules too, are not well valorized.
Like the easy way to configure the firewall for exemple.

For me Nethserver is:
A trusty a well proven base. ( CentOS/ Red Hat )…SME Server if you think that can help.
A modular and versatile system. As it show in the actual learn more page
A easy way to deploy and manage. With the webgui and the preconfigured modules.


@Jim, I really appreciate your observations. You made me remember when we had to explain what NethServer is and we never agreed. I like your point of view, but I will try to maintain a more developer oriented role for myself, here.
And I think that the nethserver.org website front page should not be written by a developer, so I will support your requests.
I hope to have a singe web page targeted to developer, as we already have github and dev.nethserver.org.

Regarding the differences between SME Server and NethServer, I could highlight technical differences, but I think that most of them are not relevant for an end user. Maybe a sysadmin could appreciate, let’s say, that you do not need to reboot the server after an update, but that’s not a killer feature for sure.

We never hid that NethServer is a fork of SME and I personally hope* that the project will merge in the future. The biggest obstacle, AFAIK, is still the use of PHP for the UI (and I always said we have no problems in moving to something else).
The biggest fundamental difference is that NethServer wants to be as similar as possible to CentOS, while SME “wants to be” different (i.e. SME pacthes CentOS, NethServer builds on CentOS).

  • Note: I must admit that I couldn’t spend enough time on the “merge project”, but both work and personal life took energy away. Maybe we need to find a volunteer project manager.

I was thinking about the strategy and the communication when I read @GG_jr

I’m not a specialist in marketing, neither in communication but I have few notion.
In my life, I had meet consultant, I went in meeting to know new products, new technologies.

And even if a “product” is technically good, or if the idea is good… The success pass by a good exposition, a good communication, a goos strategy.

I don’t know if this point can be done by the community, or if it should be done by Nethesis.
But Nethserver will be better with its own identity :smiley:

SME Server has no drawbacks, it just has features to enhance and issues to solve…That’s all !!!

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And to promote Nethserver, did you thing is a good idea to talk about the fork?

legally it is a mandatory…if you look ipfire, which is a fork of the defunct ipcop…it is still written officially that it is a fork, even if the ‘only’ shared code is the server-manager.

Not only to show differences, but to add more years in the age of the project…
Take a look at this site: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: