GNOME branding, recruiting, and identity [was Re: [Usability]Definition of "desktop" - was a Usability topic.]

[Taking this back purely to d-d-l, since it seems to have gotten very
big-picture again. :)

On Thu, 2002-11-21 at 15:09, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 21, 2002 at 02:28:51PM -0500, Luis Villa wrote:
> > 
> > GNOME is, however, developed in isolation. It's one thing if 'ls' has no
> > branding, but if a project of several million lines of code does not
> > effectively convey to users 'here is who we are, here is why you should
> > help us' then we're going to be 100% dependent on vendors very, very
> > quickly. That would be an utter shame. [FWIW, I don't think the menu is
> > the right place to do this, necessarily, but it's something we have to
> > think about very hard going forward. If GNOME's identity is to be just
> > 'something that gets packaged with a distro', we've got very little
> > long-term future as a community. And that would be an utter shame.]
> > 
> A valid issue. I'm just not sure menus are the right place for this.

See the sentence above starting with 'FWIW.' :) I completely agree the
menu is not the right place for this. But it is something all of us-
community and companies alike- need to think about. 

> A real problem with naming UI elements "GNOME foo" is that it's
> extremely hard to explain to an end user what "GNOME" is. Because the
> line between "GNOME" and "the OS" is pretty much something you have to
> start talking about executables and shared objects in order to
> explain. I've seen plenty of users on mailing lists who are plainly
> confused about where the line is.

<nod> and saying '[Ximian|Red Hat|Sun] Desktop powered by GNOME' doesn't
really help either since no one knows what a desktop is. :)

> Frankly the line is changing pretty often over time...  it's an
> organizational line, not an a priori line or a line that necessarily
> makes a ton of sense.

Definitely. But until Red Hat or Sun or Ximian or someone completely
absorbs (and _funds_) all of GNOME development, it's a very real line.

> An immediate step we could take is to link to in the
> about dialog, for example. I know I learned about free software from
> the "about GNU" stuff in Emacs.

Glynn had a fun new GNOME About box a little while back; I suggested
(privately) it have links to,, and a
couple other places, with text along the lines of 'GNOME is a big, happy
community; here is how you can help us make a kick-ass desktop.' [Full
text of my suggested modifications are around somewhere, if anyone
cares.] Would that be a reasonable start, if someone has time to tackle
doing a newer, more informative about box?


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