Friday, May 19, 2006

How do you think about certain product name extensions?

As you probably know, the MySQL server comes in two variations - a Community version and MySQL Network. I thought about how names like "Community" and "Network" and other descriptive name extensions from other products feel to me.

I never felt that the Community version is a less complete product than MySQL Network. It feels - and that's basically what it is - that MySQL Network provides additional features - mainly support. But MySQL - Community Edition is nevertheless still a complete product.

How's that with other products? Lets take a few examples.

SuSE Linux also offered two variations up to version 9.3 - there was a Personal Edition and a Professional Edition. The Personal Edition was never an option for me. It always felt like an incomplete product and it really missed many applications that I need. So it feels like: Personal: incomplete, Professional: the "real" SuSE Linux.

Let's take Fedora/RedHat Enterprise Linux. Do you feel like Fedora is an incomplete product? I don't. The term "Enterprise" does not give me the sense that the Non-Enterprise equivalent (the Community product Fedora) is less complete and not something "real".

The most extreme example I can think of is Microsoft Windows. And it's getting worse with Windows Vista. There will be

* Windows Vista Starter
* Windows Vista Home Basic
* Windows Vista Home Premium
* Windows Vista Business
* Windows Vista Enterprise
* Windows Vista Ultimate

Needless to say that the price raises with each edition and the "higher level" editions will probably be unaffordable to most private people.

I hate distinctions like that! I don't bother about Business/Enterprise/Ultimate, although I don't think that it makes sense to separate Enterprise targeted editions into three pieces. But how about Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium? That feels to me like "X for idiots" (Starter), "X for poor people" (Home Basic) and "X for wealthy people" (Home Premium). It's like making judgements about the customer. I looks like a bad marketing strategy to me (regardless of Microsoft's business success).

People usually associate product edition names with something and I personally think that some of them create bad feelings about the product (or even imply an insult of the customer) and some are neutral or positively associated.

What are your feelings about such extensions?

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