[Promotion] wake up... a news portal for free software?
tpfennig at gmail.com
Thu Feb 9 17:04:13 PST 2006
I just want to share an idea that i had. The idea was to create a common
news portal for free software projects. I do NOT mean Yet Another News
Portal. What I mean is a portal where free software projects like GNOME, KDE
Fredesktop.org would register and put their news in instead of just like
* send announcements by mail
* put them on the website
* have some rdf/atom feeds available.
Some projects or part of projects might already do some more professional
PR, but I think that distributing news should not be the business of
developers, nor should the free software projects should depend so much on
classical non-free media.
Wikinews is not helpful I must say, they are doing a bad job because of the
software and the wrong goals the have.
My vision is that the news portal which I would call "Jabana" at this point
would help do the following:
* Even the small projects could post their news and could get help from
whoever they want (other project members, journalists, members of their
desktop environment organisation)
* This news portal should be from the community for the community,
* it should also be the number one source for journalists and press
agencies. Journalists should be able to rely on this source.
* security updates should be distributed quickly.
* The range of the news should get extended
* In the future I would also expect this project to be able to act as an
agent for interview partners if press agencies like to speak to somebody
It was said to see that the new major release of one of the projects I am
involved (MoinMoin wiki) not being covered by any media at all. But also the
new "Ekiga" is recognized by some media sources, but with a very short
There is a knowledge about how to deal with media that can be shared. But
this is only shared to a specific extend. Rigth now we are still very
community-centered and i think that is the reason why we are still behind
our goals. We must learn to speak the language that more people do
understand and to talk to the right people and media.
This would enable us to be covered better and more often than nowadays. We
see many small companies with inferior software getting covered at CNN as
wondeful innovations - or think about Skype... while the free software
projects do a great work without being mentioned at all. And this is true
also for organisations like the Apache foundation and others... not
mentioning smaller projects like K3b (but look how Nero is covered) or
I think that Firefox and Thunderbird are doing a relatively good job.
Who likes to help with this? For organising I already have created a wiki
that does not have much text right now: http://jabana.alternativ.net/
I would like to start here with Freedesktop but intend to also contact
mozilla.org, apache.org and others. Right now everything is open (who would
be in charge, where it will be hosted, what software to use) But I would
expect this to be a nice experiment to have the best of all free software/
open source worlds to really make a project that stands out and where we
could show that we can and will work together and what we will be able to
I think nobody here will say that public relations of freee software
projects are effectual?
It is an interesting question how we should deal with the public. My
experience is, that many of us have adapted to the situation that we are
some kind of freaks and nobody outside really would care about free
software. I really think that the situation really changed with the Spread
Firefox campaign. Who would ever have thought that a new version of a free
software browser would be so highly anticipated by a broad media, let's say
6-7 years ago where we just had a simple Mozilla and we were happy that we
finally had a least one usable free software browser. Many distributions
shipped Netscape 4.x at that time.
What is bugging me is that there still seems to be two different
perspectives: In the free software world we read some news sources and we
know what new and exciting development is on the way. I guess at least the
people here on this list know these things, too. On the other hand if you
watch television or read newspapers nobody seems to even recognize these
things. I had the same experience with the anti software patent actions here
in Europe. People in the free software community saw many ugly things
happening in politics that could lead to the instalation of real software
patents but that most of the media did not even realize that there was a
tough fight was going on. What I want to say is, that it is not only the
range that is missing but there really still is a huge gap in the conception
of the importance of subjects. The cause might be that the common
understanding of coherences between politics and technology is very much
underdeveloped in society (most importantly the understanding of journalists
who are those who transport the messages, but only transport what they
understand or where they at least think is some kind of importance).
To come to an end: Good press relations are only one part of better
marketing of a free desktop and free software, but it is an important one.
If we would get more public recognition in the media everything could be
much more easy. i think free software has a good reputation till now. That's
where we should build uppon.
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