Improving KDE Public Relations

There is a general consensus that the KDE project, despite its technical superiority among various desktop environments, has had a poor PR record, especially in North America. Now that the release has been delayed a week or so, let's take this opportunity on to present and share ideas that will help the KDE PR and marketing efforts. Just to get us started, here's one idea which I mentioned to Mosfet:

I just looked at (This is actually what reminded me of KDE's poor public relations and advertising record compared to the competition.) If KDE can be configured to
look virtually exactly like the competition, why not advertise that fact when KDE2 is released? Those companies or organizations who have invested in the look and feel of the competition can consider the technical superiority of KDE
without worrying about style issues. And the naysayers on /. etc. who talk about how the competition is prettier can be silenced before they even start. When the KDE2 release is officially announced, the folks at /. etc. should have immediate links to screenshots showing off style compatibility with the competition.

Look, now that KDE is totally (L)GPL compatible (ok, for some of us there was never a real
problem to begin with but let's not even go there), why not include a couple of themes using the competition's icons, etc. (minus the foot) in the standard KDE distribution? This will make it easier for users to get that look if they want and then they focus on the technical merits or demerits. If KDE can include non-standard applications in the distribution, then why not distribute some non-standard
styles as well?

If this has already been discussed somewhere, then I missed it. Any way, given all of the work that has gone into KDE2, not to mention the great configurability that has been developed, it should be advertised LOUDLY and decisively immediately upon release (links to screenshots, etc). The excuse that "Well, uhh, I chose <insert name of competition here> because it looks cooler man" can and should be put to rest once and for all.

The above is meant to provoke ideas and general discussion about KDE PR. The release delay gives the PR team (who are they anyway?) an extra week to get things together. After all of the experience of the past, we have no excuse to not get it right this time. There may never be as crucial an advertising moment for KDE as with this KDE 2.0 release.

Thank goodness they dropped the KDE2 1.x idea, or we'd be in REAAAL trouble.



by Anonymous (not verified)

GTK-- is an exception. I think GTK+ itself is better than GTK--

> GTK-- is an exception. I think GTK+ itself is better than GTK--

I just had a look at the gtk+ documentation and must say that it looks incomplete as well e.g. I found no documetation for GtkWidget. Nevertheless it looks much better then the gtk-- docs but there is still a big difference to the QT/KDE docs.

If you want to see what I mean please have a look at:

The GTK docs
The QT docs

and compare any two classes e.g. GtkImage and QImage.

Personally I recommend QT/KDE everybody who wants to use C++ since the gtk-- is very incomplete and it makes (IMHO) no sense to use C if you can use a wonderfull C++ toolkit. I know at least 3 other people who think the same and who are now coding with QT/KDE. Just my two cents...

ciao, Marco

by Scott L. Patterson (not verified)

Rebuttal time...

The majority of GNOME apps do NOT use CORBA. Perhaps by choice, but mostly because it's not mature. Look at how often the Bonobo stuff changes in Evolution! DCOP on the other hand, is well established and available now. Plugging one app into another (Konqueror) is very easy.

There is no Office suite for GNOME. It's just a mish-mash of unrelated programs. There is no interactivity amongst the programs like Koffice offers (put a spreadsheet into your document in GNOME...yeah right). If there is an office suite, why is GNOME supporting the StarOffice port. Isn't their existing suite full-featured enough. BTW, what's in this suite? Abiword, Gnumeric, ???. Where't the rest? KDE definitely has the advantage here!

I strongly believe development in KDE is faster than in GNOME from my experiences in both toolkits. I suppose this varies depending on the programmer's background, so, we can't really debate this issue.

I agree both desktops have strengths and weaknesses. By no means, do I want one to prevail as they provide motivation for one to out-do the other.


by Anonymous (not verified)

You're wrong. A lot of Gnome apps use CORBA.
The Gnome panel use CORBA for it's applets, the Control Center use CORBA, gmc use CORBA, gtm use it, Galeon use it...

Bonobo is still in development, but it is quite usuable now.
DCOP is already available, because AFAIK it's started before Bonobo.

There is a Gnome office suite.
It just don't look like an integrated suite.
(ok it depends on how you look at it)
Most of the programs are not released yet.
And there is no interactitivy, because Bonobo is not released yet, so they can't use embedded components like KDE does.
They support StarOffice, because they can use their code.
StarOffice's code can benefit both Gnome and KDE and speed up development.

Gnome Office contains AbiWord, Gnumeric, Gimp, Achtung, maybe Evolution and Sodipodi, and probably some others as well.

Time is the issiue here.
KDE is older than Gnome.
Gnome is always one version numer behind KDE.

Peace to C and the ++.

by Mark (not verified)

It really really bugs me that GNOME hijacked the gimp and said it's ours! Gimp long before gnome and probably before KDE too. If the gimp is part of Gnome it's also part of KDE and fvwm for that matter.

Then there's gphoto! I'll admit that a couple of the developers for gphoto are well into gnome but it was never built as part of Gnome.

Oh yes, Gnumeric. Never intended to be part of Gnome.

Oh and StarOffice, I wish they would stop stealing my applications and telling me they are gnome.

And the one we've all been waiting for????? Mozilla. If Mozilla gets good then you can be sure it'll be a Gnome app.

It even stole Abiword and Enlightenment for a while.

Has the Gnome project developed anything itself?


by Anonymous (not verified)

So what's your point?
Good programmers create good code.
Better programmers *borrow* code.
Isn't this what the GPL is all about?

The Gimp was not part of Gnome, but it is part of the GNU project.
Gnome is also part of the GNU project, and they have every right to make The Gimp part of Gnome.

Gnumeric *is* intended to be part of Gnome.
Other may not; so what?
Their authors agreed to let their software be part of Gnome, what's wrong with that?

Why reinvent the wheel if it already exists?
Doing that will only result to further disintegration in the software world, and wasting time.

by Anonymous (not verified)

So what's your point?
Good programmers create good code.
Better programmers *borrow* code.
Isn't this what the GPL is all about?

The Gimp was not part of Gnome, but it is part of the GNU project.
Gnome is also part of the GNU project, and they have every right to make The Gimp part of Gnome.

Gnumeric *is* intended to be part of Gnome.
Other may not; so what?
Their authors agreed to let their software be part of Gnome, what's wrong with that?

Why reinvent the wheel if it already exists?
Doing that will only result to further disintegration in the software world, and wasting time.

by Matthias Ettrich (not verified)

KDE is about 7 months older than GNOME. When GNOME started,
they had the big advantage that they could take lots of the ideas
and infrastructure we developed from scratch for KDE ( code
organization, desktop files, later the HTML engine).

DCOP on the other hand is a lot younger than Bonobo. I would have
to check, but I'd say I wrote it at least one year after I heared Miguel
talking about Bonobo the very first time.

by David Johnson (not verified)

Just a minor rebuttal, since my major ones have already been addressed...

"Gnome uses the GTK+ toolkit, which is written in C yet *object oriented* like C++!"

The big problem here is that this OO-ness is not native to C. Users of GTK+ have to learn a completely new convention and style of writing C. This is not trivial. I'm sure it's easier to learn this new convention than learning C++, but unless every C project adheres to the same OO convention, you're going to have to learn half a dozen ways to do the same thing.

"Who needs a truck, when I can put a motor on my bicycle and go anywhere they can..."

by Anonymous (not verified)

The GTK+ object system is not so complicated.
At least using it isn't complicated.

But all OO in Gnome are using the GTK+ object system, so they are all compatible.
And I haven't seen any OO program yet that is written in C and doesn't use the GTK+ object system.

by Aaron Traas (not verified)

I don't understand why PR is important to KDE. KDE has a large number of users and developers. KDE2 is fast, stable, beautiful, customizable, and functional (and easy as hell to write code for). There are those who disagree, but so what?

In my office, only the developers and systems guys use Linux. One of my co-workers and I use KDE, 3 people use GNOME (1 only because it's default in RedHat), 2 use FVWM2, 2 use TWM, one uses OLWM, and one uses a really old one that I don't remember the name of. Why should I convince them to all use KDE? The beauty of Linux/*NIX is choice. We can all use what we want. Let's just keep writing good software, for the sake of writing good software, and people will use it.

by Anonymous (not verified)

Why does KDE have to improve his RP record?
KDE is accepted and prefered by more people.
If you regularly read Slashdot, you will notice that there are more flamewars about Gnome than KDE.

I hope this is not an attempt to bash Gnome.
On the day the Gnome Foundation was announced the KDE site was full of FUD about Gnome, while I didn't find any FUD article at Gnotices.

Before you say something about the Gnome Foundation, I have to say something first.
Those companies don't have any power at all!
All they can do is provide suggestions and developers.
No commercialization, no world domination, no you-have-to-pay-for-everything.

by Ezz (not verified)

"Those companies" provide acceptability and mindshare. Commercial acceptability and mindshare usually means the exclusion of any alternatives - look at MS Windows for an example of this.
That's why KDE needs to be more visible. It's a mindshare war, not a flame war, a war for the hearts, minds and desktops of all the people who are now, and will in the future, migrate to Linux.

by J. J. Ramsey (not verified)

Another dumb dig at GNOME/GTK+ is calling the importer for GTK+ themes the *Legacy* theme importer. Considering that GTK+ currently continues to be developed and is used rather widely, referring to it as "legacy" real makes no sense. It seems to me that the "legacy" bit is more of a dig at GTK+ than anything else.

by Boss Rabbit (not verified)

If you check the KDE 2 screenshots page, you will notice that the wallpaper in many of the screenshots features a topless model.

Now while this may not bother most geeks, it will completely freak a lot of corporate types. I know a lot of poeple in jobs where they could be fired, or even prosecuted for sexual harassment, for customizing their desktop in this manner.

I also remember UK computer manufacturer Mesh taking serious flak from readers for using models in their magazine advertising.

Its bad PR. Fix it.

by Lenny (not verified)

Yes, we will take action and fire this guy.... but wait.... there is no company called "kde". This screenshots are made by individuals, users. Oh my god. Nobody will switch to a desktop whose users may like such pictures, so they might stay to the virgin windows desktop.

by Haakon Nilsen (not verified)

I understand you are trolling, and I won't comment that. However, to avoid any misunderstandings: the "naughty" screenshot may cause prude "suits" to turn their backs on KDE since it gives them the wrong impression. is the definite official source for KDE information, and if it doesn't look corporate, it lessens KDEs odds in the corporate market (which is LARGE).

by Zeljko Vukman (not verified)

I have to reply to this 'cause one of these "naughty" screenshots is mine. Screenshot with Kde2 (Konqueror in acton & Kaiman) and a
background picture of beautiful Laetitia. This picture is as much art as any other "fine art"
picture (should I start to name all great sculptors or painters who created a masterpieces of art using naked models of men and women?).
As ignorant as you are, you are not able to make distinction between art-photograph of a naked body and porno. I have never seen a pornographic screenshot on site.
So, stop bullshiting. Kde is not for impotent people. For people who have not seen the screenshot I've attached it to this message.

by curious.corn (not verified)

I don't think the community needs PR structures.
The free SW movement should just get things done and forget the crappy "Where do you wan to go today?" stuff. KDE rocks because it looks cool, works fast and konqueror doesn't crash as often as netscape on my celeron 300 machine (which is for today's standard close to scrap). I don't use linux because of Red Hat's female testimonials or Linus looking like Ricky Martin.
This stuff requires big money that only some big corporate kingdom can provide. If we accept it, we won't be able to complain when sometime in the future the CEOs of such corporations will ask us to do this that and the other the way THEY please... that day we'll just become "linuxerfs" and have pity of ourselves...

Just keep coding and listen to the userbase (newsgroups, mail-lists, IRC channels, you name it) not the PR makeup!

by steve (not verified)

Please note my specialist area is Quality Management.

Microsoft has proved that technical merit has little bearing on final outcomes of success.
Indeed PR is important "combined" with satisfying client needs.
Cost, Features, Reliability, Conformance, Serviceability and Aesthetics are subconsciously examined by end users and ultimately "their" priorities measured are used in a decision to use or not use a particular product or service.

If KDE, Gnome and other developers understand this then they are well on their way to success.

And finally I read /. and am NOT a nay-sayer about KDE. KDE is my DT of choice and its by far the best one out there.

Thanks to all who made it available to the world.


by Ben (not verified)

it's quite easy. Put more tutorial on KDE applications, enviorments, KDE programing... Be humble and work more for the end users. That is it.

by Paul Leopardi (not verified)

See my comments on packaging, PR and customer relationship management here.