At the Systems fair this year in Munich, Thomas Keup tried to persuade me that we should just be marketing GNOME as beautiful or cool. He’s a marketing expert, but I wasn’t easily persuaded. It seemed too simplistic.
I’ve been on a few stands now for GNOME, and I’ve got pretty good at introducing it to newcomers as easy-to-use, allowing people to enjoy, communicate, and work without confusing distractions. Just getting our people to focus again and again on “easy to use” since Linuxtag was a big step forward, and got clear results. People were very enthusiastic. But still, easy-to-use is a bit conceptual, and it takes a few more seconds to explain what that means, usually with a quick example, like showing an understandable dialog or reminding someone about some ridiculous preference option they’ve seen before. If you are lucky they’ve then got something in their head that they can repeat to their friends, but they probably can’t do that quickly. OK, so it doesn’t help that “leicht-zu-bedienener-desktop” sometimes loses a syllable or two on the way out of my mouth.
So, I revised my marketing spiel. I started greeting people with “Here is GNOME, the beautiful Linux deskop.” Then I’d get into easy-to-use, safe, capable, etc, as secondary stuff. It was even better. Everyone likes something beautiful and you don’t immediately invite them to think of their preconceived ideas of what easy-to-use is (people are confused about that in a variety of ways). And once you’ve hooked them, you get to explain what’s so beautiful, showing them how friendly and easy the desktop is. For a couple of days at Systems, we were giving this sales show to a small crowds. People stuck around to hear it.
So, I’m convinced that our marketing effort should choose one or two simple themes and really push them. Let GNOME be associated with those ideas, and let our fans tell the world about the (wonderful) secondary details. I think this is why Firefox is successful – Firefox is associated with Safe and Tabs.
What theme should we use? Here’s a poll.