Reading Sam Dean's piece on the absence of linux marketing brought back memories, many of them painful, of my involvement in Linux International, back in the day. For you kids today who only know your Linux Foundation, Linux International (LI) was founded by Jon 'maddog' Hall as a vendor-driven organization to, among other things, protect the Linux trademark. One of LI's initiatives that began in early 2000 was a marketing plan to be jointly funded by the vendors. You can read my call to action from that time begging and pleading for the members of LI to band together to do *something*.
Then, as now, the problem was the cacaphony of noise from various vendors, each with their own spin on Linux. Was it a desktop thing as Eazel and Ximian proclaimed at the time? Was it an enterprise dark horse as backed by IBM? Was it a really great web server, as VA Linux and Red Hat were promoting? All of the above? While multiple Linux markets have continued to grow since then, there does not appear to be a solution to the general problem.