Wildbill (who I believe is Bill Childers, one of the authors of just-released Ubuntu Hacks) just snapped a picture of the first Ubuntu billboard. Its location right near Oracle headquarters led to a a snarky notice on the Oracle blog, wondering why they were being targeted.
I still remember the thrill, early in our activism about the WWW, when I first saw a URL on a billboard. (In that case, it was a real sign of the web going mainstream, because the billboard was simply the URL for bankamerica.com, while the Ubuntu billboard is ultimately a commercial act by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, just like all the other billboards that dot the highways of Silicon Valley. Still, because Ubuntu also has many stakeholders who are not part of that company, I imagine they are feeling some of that same thrill.)
Meanwhile, as I’ve noted several times in my O’Reilly Radar conference presentations, Ubuntu should be very much on the radar of anyone thinking about Linux. Here’s what Google Trends has to say on the subject:
This graph is also terrific because it shows how well search volume is a good leading indicator of what will eventually reach the mainstream news. The top part of the graph shows the steady rise in search volume for Ubuntu since late 2004, while it didn’t get on the “news” radar (the bottom graph, which Red Hat dominates) till the past few months.
We’d been seeing much the same up-trend for Ubuntu in the O’Reilly/Yahoo! Buzz Game.