Fwd: [Promotion] Rolling up things
tpfennig at gmail.com
Fri Dec 29 16:24:24 PST 2006
On 12/29/06, Quim Gil <quimgil at gmail.com> wrote:
> (((Please note: this discussion is still not helping us having common
> targets and topics to market, therefore is not helping either to agree
> on how we could collaborate marketing the free desktop)))
I think this discussion can help us to find a common understanding or
common ground. If not it makes at least clear where the participants
> This is the kind of healthy competition I'm talking about.
I habe never seen this as competition. You expect the user to switch
every now and then? Again: Nobody cares about this competition besides
Microsoft which can laugh at us if we really think it matters which
desktop is slightly better in one part. And surely Windows was never
better than any OS but Microsoft was best at marketing. We do not want
to follow Microsofts path, but I am quite sure that if we would not
have this competition we would have more than 10% of the desktop
> Also, we need diversity.
I rather see the free desktop as well as Linux as the roads we travel
on. So we better build better roads so that vehicles and users can
move faster and lets not compete on building different roads and paths
that do not fit and where we than build rossroads (cooperation) to fix
the mess up.
> Excuse me? Do you practice any sport? ;)
No, sorry ;)
> KDE and GNOME benefit from fair competition based on own improvements.
I do not agree on the terms of the game. I am not against competition.
But rather competition in an open desktop universe - let the best
ideas win, tolerate alternatives but try to reduce dead ends. We have
a lot of dead ends. If competition would always be good the many
Unices would have been clearly advanced to todays Linux. The truth is
that Linux is good because it favors cooperation and consensus over
competition. Linux allows many different options like ReiserFS and
Ext3 - but the developers try to sustain the common ground. Because if
there were really 6-7 Linuxes in COMPETITION - Linux would really be
powerless. Linux can stand the competion that exist on the
distributors level - but it would cease to exists if every distributor
would make its own Linux kernel branch. This would also be true for
split ups of GNOME or KDE. If there would be 5-6 GNOME branches -
nobody would be interested in it.
I think some competition is good. The branching of Inkscape out of
Sodipodi was a big success in my eyes. Also Epiphanys split out of
Galeon was a good choice. But good "coopetition" needs developers that
are still willing to cooperate. So this is competition for fun - to
show what can be done - not to be better - or to be happy if one
project fails. And this can easily be done. On the aKademies talk
about marketing the guy also tried to make the point where KDE should
want to make clear where it is better than GNOME. I think this
directions really end nowhere if it is not just for knowing the oen
weaknesses or strengths.
> > I think the historic split is very costly.
> How you know? Maybe having just one free alternative would have
> implied a slower development. Also, let's not forget that GNOME and
> KDE are also better thanks to all the lightweight free desktop family,
> a real alternative in many scenarios. I don't think the existence of
> XFCE, IceWM etc is costly, they help a lot making "the free desktop" a
> real alternative.
I think all desktops and also many applications have the problem every
now and then theat they lack developers - the more different KDE and
GNOME is the more unlikely it is that a developer of one desktop will
be able to help or commit a patch to a project of the other desktop.
Or it is also highly unlikely that you can share code. I am not really
saying that we should have one desktop, but that a common basis would
help very much. Because we are not overwhelmed by a crowd of
developers. Many projects die if the maintainer gets a new job. I
would guess that this effect could be reduced drastically if the
developers would share more of a common basis.
> I recommend you to keep the discussion here at a marketing level. In
> terms of development we are already collaborating BEFORE and DURING
> with acceptable levels of success. It's in the marketing discussion
> where we are somewhat stuck.
Well if we agree that marketing is mor than just advertising I am very
much in the marketing discussion. Marketing in my view is essentially
what John Williams recently wrote in the GNOME Live! wiki (
" At its most basic it could be defined as "find out what people want,
then organise yourself to deliver it to them ""
So my answer to what people do not want is:
People do not want to make decisions about the best desktop. They
really want the best desktop for them. They want software that solves
their problems. They do not want to think about if they are using KDE
or GNOME right now. If we say that we do not care about these wishes
we are missing our main goal. Meeting the users needs. I think we must
accept our curretn situation and make the best out of it - but if we
continue to send mixed messages to the public they are not getting a
clear image. Although Linux itself does not have a really strong brand
and is not visible for the user it is recepted much better than the
more visible desktop. Look at these graphics that compares the
visibilty of KDE, GNOME and Linux in Google:
http://www.google.com/trends?q=gnome%2C+kde%2C+linux . There we can
see that KDE has made some improvements in the news reference, but
generally many people more have heard of Linux than of GNOME or KDE.
And maybe a good desktop is not really that visible as a brand?
Because it just does what it should? If we think of a user that does
not want Windows any more and she tries to find an alternative - maybe
she hears of Linux. So if she wants a free desktop she will go to a
computer store and maybe ask for a computer with linux on it. And if
she is lucky the dealer will be able to install "A LINUX" on the box.
The same is true for big companies.
I do not think that we will see much requests of users or companies
which want "A GNOME" or "A KDE" on their new computer. I think most
just will end up with the default desktop. And our marketing on both
sides currently is about how we can change the default desktop on a
distribution or at ISVs - we are not communicating to possible users
how good a free desktop (which would include a free OS like Linux)
would be for them. If I meet people who have not seen any Linux before
- and they know that I am using Linux - they always ask me: "So this
is how Lonux looks?" if they see my GNOME desktop. I then answer
"Yes, this is Linux". I am not even going to start to confuse them
with something like "No, this is GNOME,t here also twenty different
other desktops that you can choose" - and I am not trying to explain
to them why I like GNOME better.
And I think here we are at the core of "free desktop marketing". Are
you all doing this differently? How are you introducing Windows users
to the possibilty of a free desktop (be it GNOME, KDE or whatever?)
Another comparison comes to my mind: Children! If you ask a children
to choose from 5 different possibilities you may never get and answer
- but if you give them 2 choices which they know - or better - only
one - they are able to decide. It is not THAT much different with
grown ups. So if they make a choice it is hard enough if they need to
choose between free and non-free desktop, I think.
Quim, if you mean that even if we would agree that fewer choices are
better that this is not yet a marketing solution I would agree. But I
think that we should at least discuss this or agree on some core
points. We need to know how we must communicate and we should also
know in which direction we must go to reach our goals. Maybe this is
offtopic because it is too far away?
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tpfennig
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