Upcoming marketing, promotion, and booth sprint; rebranding

Hey folks, just a little heads up about what's happening internally within the KDE marketing juggernaut. (Seriously, I've seen comments referring to us in such a fashion... do they know we're about 15 volunteers?)

Anyway, since we need to compete with Microsoft's marketing budget, which is on the order of 3 billion USD, we've done really well without spending much money at all. I mean, we have estimates of around 50-100 million KDE software users worldwide, which is quite substantial.

Note, that is "Users", not installations. In Brazil, for example, Free Software by KDE is used in the school system, where we include all students exposed to KDE software as a 'user', even though the total number of installs is likely lower. The converse applies to people like me who have multiple installs of the KDE workspace. I mean, the software is free, so what does it really matter if we're counting users versus installations -- we don't have to answer to a budget :)

Anyway, next week a bunch of KDE promotion folks are meeting in Stuttgart for a marketing sprint/meeting where a couple of things need to be worked out. We have an agenda! :)

Possibly the most important topic will be a potential branding shift for KDE 4. This is the type of topic that leads to bikeshedding on mailing lists, so we'll discuss it in person where we can arm-wrestle to a conclusion, however it may go something like as follows:

  • KDE becomes the term referring to the group/organization/community that is producing the products.
  • Projects made by KDE will be referred to as "Made by KDE", or based on Cornelius' suggestion: "Free Software by KDE", in the case of projects that are associated with KDE (like Amarok, KOffice, etc.)... so one could say "Amarok, by KDE", or "KOffice, Free Software by KDE" or similar in promotional materials.
  • Separate the Platform and Workspace into their own identities, so that people wanting to run certain apps don't feel like they need to install all of KDE, and vice versa.

Although we'll announce final decisions via the dot or elsewhere, and most of the discussion will be happening internally within the KDE community, it'd be interesting to get some user feedback (yay or nay) on this.

We have other topics to discuss too, such as how to revitalize the websites, how to present a more consistent presence at trade shows, what to do to fill the void left by the commit digest, how to position ourselves in press surrounding the Gnome 3.0 launch (as they are probably going to go through much of what we did with 4.0, but we want to make sure that the press/comments know that KDE and Gnome are friends fighting for a common goal against a much larger market share), etc.

So, our team of 15 or so volunteer promotion peeps will be in a room for a few days to hammer these things out. The sprint is sponsored by the KDE e.V. (our non-profit legal body), which is spending a few thousand euros on the event. Not much compared to the 3 billion MS spends on marketing, and hopefully money well spent on behalf of the donors that keep the e.V. running.