There appears to be universal demand for case studies on Ubuntu usage. We need to establish a channel by which they are relayed to us and a mechanism for then producing and publishing them as case studies.


Ubuntu requires a set of success stories and case studies if we are to succeed in the next phase of growth. While visionaries (Linux enthusiasts/early adopters) are willing to experiment and take risks, pragmatists (the early majority) are going to want structured success stories and lots of them. Pragmatists require evidence that people, like them, are using Ubuntu and that is a) doing no harm and b) it is actually doing some good.

In addition to users being able to find these case studies, Canonical staff, community members and Ubuntu advocates need these stories to familiarize themselves with and then evangelize real-world Ubuntu usage.

Use cases


We will encourage users to send us emails about how they use Ubuntu and particularly if they use it on many computers (>5) or with interesting configurations (ORACLE, whole schools, High Performance Computing, Mail servers,etc).

We will publicise an email address ( e.g as well as the guidelines for use cases at locations like, the Fridge and M Shuttleworth's blog.


These success stories will take at least three forms: Simple lists of users in their situation/locale who use Ubuntu, short cases studies of one/two short paragraphs and full case studies (2-4 sides of A4).

Initial call for Use Cases

We will need to show prospective use case writers what format we would like the use case emails in. This would require for us to write a few example case studies or testimonials to get people inspired and put them out for people to see. An idea would be to have 3 different use cases on the Fridge, and SABDFL's blog (the latter should obviously be his own use case, however extreme that might be!).

Also, we would want to stress that individual case doesn't have to be exceptional to be a good case story. Often, covering the most basic situations is what will be the most reassuring for prospective users.

Given that we will be looking at case studies from many different levels of expertise and use of Ubuntu, we need to consider how we want to announce this case study generation. If we want to maintain our interest in getting case stories from people who are new to Ubuntu, we have to consider how we would get in touch with such people.

Many community members are helping others to install and use Ubuntu, and it is these others that we want to get in touch with - those not currently active in the community, but who have already switched with little trouble. These end-users who are not involved in the community would be excellent use cases, as it would be these users that other would-be "switchers" will be able to relate to.

When introducing this project, we also need to ask: "Have you helped others to use Ubuntu? Are you one of those new users? Then we'd like you to help us..."

What should a Use Case contain?

A use case should answer three central questions regarding the user and Ubuntu:

1. Why did you switch to Ubuntu?

This will give people a chance to reflect on the social/ideological aspects of Ubuntu, which I find most people consider a big selling point (just look at the recent poster slogan suggestions). Users and developers have all sorts of interesting and intriguing reasons and stories to tell about why they chose to use F/OSS and Ubuntu specifically. Offer it up as a chance to wax lyrical on what they enjoy about F/OSS and how it has worked for them.

As a source of inspiration compare the short stories football fans write to explain how they came to support their favourite club. For instance, on the Manchester City mailing-list, they have a segment called "Whe Blue" where people describe how they came to support that rather grim football club. For some people it was all there was, for others it was a string of incredible coincidence. This works well, because not only do people get to tell stories, they also get to share and compare them with others. This is central to a community.

2. How are you using Ubuntu? (or What are you using Ubuntu for?)

This one is pretty self-explanatory - and most likely the core content of the average use case.

3.How do you contribute to the Ubuntu Community?

To show how people are involved/getting involved/ can get involved. This could well be done through blogs as Adam initially suggested. If we get some people to writing really good why/how stories, we might well encourage them to open a blog of their Ubuntu experiences and get them deeper involved with the Ubuntu community. If we can have a blog roll of Ubuntu users (rather than developers or long-time contributors) on the planet or the Fridge, that would also be a way to say "You don't have to be an expert to do Ubuntu."

Proposed processes - for once the project has been set in motion

a) Identifying stories

b) Researching stories Stories of particular interest will be followed up on to check out details and ensure that we have an accurate and complete picture of the story.

c) Producing stories We will use set-templates to write-up customer stories in a consistent way.

d) Publishing stories Stories and case studies would be published through various media including, word of mouth,, the Fridge and electronic brochures.


Unresolved issues

BoF agenda and discussion


MarketingTeam/Projects/UserCaseStudies (last edited 2008-08-06 16:30:28 by localhost)