Distribution branding of GNOME

<quote who="Rob Adams">

> It'd be cool if we could have a "powered by" logo that distros could
> include in marketing material, splash screens, documentation etc.

So I'm taking this interesting subthread to foundation-list. :-)

> Of course, we have no way to make it mandatory, but GNOME as a brand has
> suffered greatly by the whitewashing practiced by distributions, most
> notably the "Java Desktop Environment" (I mean, honestly, what the hell is
> that?), but Red Hat's desktop is also a major offender.  Perhaps if we
> asked nicely.

What would we ask? "Please genericise your desktop so it is unrecognisable?"
I don't think that would get us very far. Now, the "powered by" logos idea
has come up numerous times, but thus far, no one's done it.

Definitely no time to get it done by 2.10 release (today), *possibly* enough
time to do it in the next month (pretty obviously thinking of Ubuntu's final
release), but it would require the board to get behind it very solidly,
understand the trademark issues, and set any requirements for using the
logos. Perhaps I can work with them to do a first-run attempt for Ubuntu
5.04 in this month more easily than other products could.

Note that we already leave the "About GNOME" item in the System (Desktop)
menu, and currently use the foot icon for our Applications menu.

> The thing I would also like very much to see if a standard "foot" menu
> used by the distros.  Turning it into a hat is a major usability problem
> for people moving from gnome installation to gnome installation.
> The GPL gives anyone to right to remove the gnome branding of course, but
> it still annoys me very much when companies take a free software project,
> rebrand it, then ship it.  Often the only trace of the original brand is
> hidden in about dialogs, and sometimes not even then.  Changing the
> splashscreen is one thing (though including a gnome logo in distro
> splashscreens isn't a lot to ask), but changing the foot menu is just
> wrong.

Unfortunately, the foot means absolutely nothing to 'fresh' GNOME users, let
alone the users of a particular product. The red fedora, while not really
meaning anything specific, is actually far more useful to Red Hat users
because at least it refers to the product. It's the "Red Hat" menu where the
"Red Hat" things are on my "Red Hat" computer. Where would the foot fit in?
Nowhere. Remember, only a particular class of users knowingly use "GNOME".

The foot is silly. We could choose something entirely more usable than the
foot, and we might not have this rebranding problem. ;-)

I'm trying to wind this up quickly, but there's much to discuss. The two big
issues raised here were raised at last year's advisory board meeting, and
obviously difficult to solve: Brand awareness of GNOME itself, and working
with distributors (arguably our most important users of all) to handle the
collision this (possibly) implies.

- Jeff

linux.conf.au 2005: April 18th-23rd                    http://linux.conf.au/
                           No clue is good clue.

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