How to stop worrying and love the rebranding

It has been really encouraging to see how much of the rebranding is sticking already – the better known news sites seem to be generally reporting the first beta of KDE Software Compilation 4.4 rather than KDE 4.4, but… well you knew there would be a “but”, right?

Well here it is: If you used to use “KDE” don’t just replace it with “KDE SC”

At least, not always… I’ve noticed a few people – and even your KDE Promo team is not immune from this 😉 – apparently being a little confused about what terms to use. People are trying to be good and not use “KDE” alone but in some instances this leads to a little overuse of KDE SC when that’s not really what is meant.

Be Happy, by Ana Cotta (CC-by)

Be Happy, by Ana Cotta (CC-by)


I just had a quick scan through Planet KDE for examples and I’m going to pick on Björn’s excellent post about icon usability (if you didn’t already, please complete the test). Not because it’s bad – or necessarily even wrong at all – but because I think it’s a nice example of subtlety in thinking carefully about what we mean. In that post, he says:

We want KDE SC to be usefull for everyone in the world. So, do our icons and our terms work for everyone in the world?

So, what’s wrong with that? Not necessarily anything. The question is, does he really mean we want only the SC to be useful for everyone in the world? We’ll never do a usability survey for Amarok icons? So perhaps the better term would be “KDE software” rather than “KDE SC”.

Björn’s post is a case in point because the error (if any) is very small and subtle, but there are a few other examples I’ve seen that do appear to show more confusion. I won’t pick on anyone here, but here are a few examples of sentences using old and new terminologies to show that we don’t want to just replace “KDE” with “KDE SC”:

Old: “I use KDE”
New: “I use KDE software” or “I use KDE SC (4.4)” or “I use KDE Plasma Desktop (4.4)”

Use whichever one you really mean.

Old: “KDE is great – just look at how cool Digikam is”
New: “KDE software is great – just look at how cool digiKam is” or “KDE (community) is great – they made digiKam”

Just think – are you talking about the community or the software?

Old: “KDE is the best, it has Kontact, cool widgets and desktop effects”
New: “KDE software is the best – for example Kontact, the Plasma Desktop widgets and desktop effects” or “Plasma Desktop is the best – you have all those cool widgets and desktop effects” or “KDE Software Compilation is the best – it comes with all the Plasma Desktop widgets and effects and great apps like Kontact”

Old: “I want to make an app, should I use KDE or Gnome or plain Qt?”
New: “I want to make an app, should I use the KDE Platform, or Gnome or plain Qt?”

Old: “KDE 4 sucks and I’m switching to Gnome until there’s a KDE 4 K3B”
New: “KDE SC 4 sucks, I can’t even get a KDE Platform 4 version of K3B to fit in with it, Gnome forever” or “KDE Platform 4 sucks, no K3B yet, Vista for me” or “Plasma Desktop 4 sucks, there isn’t even a complementary version of K3B. I’m going back to CDE.”

See, you can even use the right terms when trolling 😉

Old: “Nepomuk is one of the most exciting developments in KDE 4″
New ” Nepomuk is one of the most exciting parts of the KDE Platform 4″ or “Nepomuk is one of the most interesing things in KDE SC 4”

Old: “Amarok is an awesome KDE app”
New: “Amarok is an awesome KDE app”

Some things change, but some things stay the same 😉

So, this is really an internal thing – perhaps you post to the Planet or write about KDE elsewhere. If so, and you support our efforts at clarifying our branding, please try and think about what it is you mean and use the right terms. If we simply replace “KDE” with “KDE SC” then we won’t have achieved anything. We don’t want KDE SC used everywhere, if we did we’d have given it a catchier name 🙂

There is, as always, more to do. Nathan Ogden has done some really great work (with assistance from others on KDE-Promo) putting together a guide for distros on how to use our brands in their communication. We need to get the word on that out to our distro contacts (something I should be helping with – perhaps you can help?) so that it’s as easy as possible for us all to work together and present things in a consistent way.

Any other examples? Queries about the above? “I hate the rebranding” rants? Please post below 🙂

39 Responses to “How to stop worrying and love the rebranding”

  • Christoph says:

    Let’s consider two applications, Kdenlive and SMPlayer. Are these KDE applications in the “new” sense? Are they “allowed” to use the “Powered by KDE” logo? Kdenlive uses KDE technology, but isn’t released by the KDE team or developed in KDE’s svn repository. SMPlayer doesn’t even use KDE technology (it is based on Qt 4 only).

    (My personal opinion is that of course both are KDE applications, because they should be part of every KDE desktop 🙂

  • Anne Wilson says:

    There are some cases, though, where it is really hard to find a good fit. Take, for instance, the first sentence of http://userbase.kde.org/KRunner! I’m really struggling with that. Sometimes the only way I can see is to change the sentence completely, and even that isn’t going to work here. Seriously, what _would_ you do with it? Everything i try feels really clumsy and wrong.

  • klebezettel says:

    Hey! Personally, I don’t like this branding stuff. IMHO
    here a problem was solved that never existed. This reminds
    me of big companies with some unneeded and strange names.

    “KDE SC X.Y” – Aha…now you have to explain the users what
    this “SC” means. If there is “SC”, is there also something
    different? Was there a problem with “KDE X.Y”?

    You say: “KDE is no longer software created by people, but
    people who create software.” Aha…well, for me KDE was
    always the software AND the people. Now it’s only the
    people?

    Well, ACTUALLY I think it’s clear from the context what is
    meant. It’s also clear from your perspective:

    If you’re a user, KDE means the software.
    If you’re a fan (of KDE), then KDE means software and
    community.
    If you’re a developer, then KDE means the software, the
    (user|dev) community and the development platform.

    Keeping it just “KDE”, for the software, the community and
    the development platform is just simple for everybody.

    So, “KDE” is polymorphic, it’s overloaded with meanings. But
    that’s not a problem. It’s shows it’s strength – KDE is
    much (valueable).

    Have a nice day.

  • Milian Wolff says:

    I don’t like the rebranding either. As klebezettel said: You solve a problem that never existed. I don’t know a single person that ever had a problem “does he mean KDE people, software, …?”…

  • Massimiliano Torromeo says:

    I find all this rebranding stuff really crazy… do I really have to think that hard just to be sure to write the correct version of KDE? What’s the purpose? Making me lose the will to write KDE at all?

  • LEW21 says:

    That guide for distros is just… funny. ” is a cutting edge distribution with a choice between GNOME, Plasma Desktop or Plasma Netbook on separate live CD’s.” doesn’t help anybody in any way, and is discriminating for GNOME. Also, parts of the guide are incompatible with the new branding: “The KDE Plasma Desktop is bundled with a selection of powerful applications from the KDE Software Compilation like music player Amarok 2.4, foto management application Digikam 1.3, the KDE office suite KOffice 2.3 and many more.” – Amarok, Digikam and KOffice aren’t part of KDE SC.

  • Justin Kirby says:

    Stuart, I think you did a great job explaining some of the trickier scenarios for using the new rebranding terms. Thanks for this article. As time goes by and people learn to think about these separate products by their own names I think there won’t even be anything tricky left. It will simply be second nature to call things by their own name instead of calling everything just “KDE” as though there is no difference between our development platform, desktop environment, applications, software compilation releases, and the people that build them. This was a well thought out solution for a problem that *did* exist imho.

    @Anne – Perhaps this would work? “KRunner replaces the “run command” dialogue familiar to KDE Plasma Desktop, GNOME and Windows users alike with a more powerful and extensible utility. It can be launched by pressing Alt-F2. ”

    @LEW21 – Thanks for the pointer about the issue with the distro guide. We could always use more help improving it if you’d like to get involved. Shoot an email to kde-promo@kde.org if you have some time and are willing to contribute.

  • Nathan says:

    @Anne Wilson
    Would “KRunner replaces the “run command” dialogue familiar to KDE Plasma Desktop, GNOME and Windows users alike with a more powerful and extensible utility” work?

    It seems you are comparing with GNOME and Windows desktops so I would say either KDE Plasma Desktop or just Plasma Desktop (if you think people would easily recognize that Plasma Desktop is KDE software).

  • Nathan says:

    Oops. That’s what I get for not refreshing BEFORE I post! LOL Justin beat me to it!

  • Diederik van der Boor says:

    One to add (just read recently).

    “This app requires KDE SC 4.4” // I hope it does not require the whole software compilation.
    Guess that should be “This app requires v4.4 of the KDE Platform”

  • Matthijs says:

    @ Justin and Nathan
    I’d say krunner doesn’t replace the run command dialogue of kde plasma desktop, but it IS plasma’s dialogue for that.
    I think KDE refers to KDE 3.x in this case 🙂 Even more thing to keep apart.

  • Stu says:

    @ Anne, Justin, Nathan, Matthijs – Yeah, I think either of those (or a mix) work

    @ Justin – thanks, I think it would be nice to get some of these in to the promo wiki, similar to the distro stuff but for press, bloggers (and us). I agree, the difficult bits are because of the history and often we haven’t really been clear in our own minds about what we mean by KDE. Rewording old sentences can be tricky, but I’m finding it a lot easier now to write Dot articles and the like with the new branding than wit the old

    @ Diederik – excellent example. That certainly wouldn’t encourage a Gnome user to try said app (our belief is that many people have read KDE as KDE SC in this context in the past – you really do see in forums people who think you can’t run a KDE app without using one of the workspaces)

    @ Christoph – did you comment on the right post? (seems more like it relates to the poll). Anyway, people aren’t “disallowed” from using anything, beyond certain trademark limitations on KDE. We just want to provide some canned phrases (plus logos etc) to make it really easy for people to use if they like.
    My personal opinion (based on not knowing either application too well) is that Kdenlive would certainly be suited to a “Built on the KDE Platform” type label. It may also work with “Powered by KDE” if the authors consider themselves part of KDE – if you’re making free software with the KDE Platform then I think you can consider yourself part of KDE, if you wish to.
    SMPlayer, if Qt-only is probably out of scope for what we’re trying to provide

    @ LEW21, thanks for pointing out the inconsistencies, it’s a work in progress. We also need more distro feedback. Re “discriminating for GNOME” I’m not sure if you mean we’re being too nice or unfair to GNOME in that sentence. The distro may also offer a netbook GNOME spin too of course, in which case they might choose to mention that too – our texts are guides, nothing more.

    @ Milian, Massimiliano – I’m probably not going to change your mind. The old ambiguity has been an issue, for me and others writing things like release announcements (that’s a fact). There are also wrong beliefs about KDE software, that we think are partly due to the branding ambiguity (that’s just our opinion).

    @ klebezettel – see above, but also: “If you’re a user, KDE means the software.” Which software? We do see people who believe KDE software is one monolithic lump and you can’t use KDE apps outside the workspaces and vice versa. Really 😉 I didn’t think that was a real problem until I came across a few forum posts pushing those ideas a few weeks ago, but it is true for some people. KDE is indeed valuable, which is why we keep it as an umbrella brand and use it for our most valuable asset – us 🙂

  • Metalcynic says:

    This reminds me of the “Gnu/Linux” branding that RMS tried so hard to push back in the day … 90% of the people just rolled their eyes, smirked, and went right back to saying “Linux.”

    Human beings will always go with the simpler, more catchy, easy-to-remember terms for things. People will say “Ubuntu” rather than “Ubuntu Linux” and never “Ubuntu which is a Debian Gnu/Linux based Operating System” in any real world conversation … the first is a Name for a thing; the second is a LONGER name for the SAME THING; and the third isn’t a name at all … it’s an EXPLANATION of a thing which you would only ever expect to see at the bottom of a page in a footnote or at the start of an educational article aimed at complete noobies.

    Also: If you’re going to go with the ‘needlessly long and didactic mouthful of words’ angle then why are you not throwing QT a bone? Why not the ‘QT/KDE SC’ for Maximum Alphabet Soupage?

    As another commenter noted above: this whole thing appears to be a case of trying to solve a problem which never existed in the first place.

  • jreznik says:

    Uf, it’s too complicated – I think as the first move, we (Fedora KDE SIG) try to remove “K Desktop Env” which I personally don’t like it and replace it just with KDE. As I’m really unsure about correct wording, for packages I think it’s OK, for webs/wiki I’ll try to match it more correctly.

    For example – simple summary in SPEC file would be “KDE Accessibility” as it simply matches rebranding – it’s accesibility module by KDE community (and doesn’t directly mean that it’s just for KDE applications). The question is “Core runtime requirements and applications for KDE 4.” or should be there KDE Platform v. 4? So could you please be more specific in distro guidelines or could we just meet somewhere on IRC to talk about it? It is really not easy to understand all meanings…

    Another question is how to use it in distro name – we currently ship Fedora KDE Desktop Edition which is actually Fedora KDE spin but Desktop Edition or spin refers to Fedora not KDE but as KDE alone is now used only for community around KDE SC? How to match it correctly to distro names (and all distros with different policies).

    And last thought – this is branding for tech users, shouldn’t we have something more “people like” to market KDE around users?

  • Stu says:

    @ Metalcynic

    I’m not convinced by your comparison with GNU/Linux. Linux is a kernel that is only used with the GNU tools (isn’t it?). Therefore “Linux” already implies GNU and the GNU bit is redundant, unless you want to make the kind of point RMS is making. Going the other way, GNU as an Os is ambiguous because it could be GNU/Linux or GNU/Hurd (well, in theory)

    With KDE on the other hand, “KDE” could mean the community, the desktop, the SC or the platform. Sometimes it’s clear from the context, sometimes it isn’t really.

    As for length: Plasma Desktop vs KDE (4 syllables vs 3, and more text but not that much more). That and Plasma Netbook are the only brands we’re really pushing particularly. KDE Platform will have it’s own specialised use audience, SC is not something we’re trying to push a whole lot.

  • Stu says:

    @ jreznik

    Thanks very much for the comments.

    KDE Accessibility – yep, fine, I think

    Re core runtime…. is that kdelibs? I’d suggest “Core runtime requirements for KDE software” (the four will be dealt with in the package name/version?) or perhaps more specifically, “Core runtime requirements for software built on KDE Platform 4”

    Distro names – yep, Fedora is an interesting one (I use the KDE spin personally, as it happens). Would “Fedora KDE Plasma Desktop” work? (and perhaps there will be a Fedora KDE Plasma Netbook spin too one day). I think the workspace is the defining feature – I’m not even sure if the live cd ship with all of the SC? Even if it does you add other stuff too. “Fedora KDE Desktop Edition” is not necessarily bad, as you say it just means a desktop edition of software from Fedora and KDE, but because of the old connotations of KDE Desktop it is not ideal.

    “How to match it correctly to distro names (and all distros with different policies)”? Good question, that’s why we want to talk to as many of the distros as possible – ultimately of course it will be up to the distros, but we want to help as much as we can.

    Personally, I’m not on IRC (I keep getting found out on the whole geek thing – going to have to fix that) but some of the other promo peeps like Jos are I think. It would be great if you could send an email to kde-promo@kde.org with a list of issues/questions that you can see and we’ll discuss them, try and come up some answers and let you know and update the wiki page. Otherwise, I’m available on XMPP (via google talk – dunno if they open their network to other xmpp services? – my username is my email address which is on the about page). Beyond that, perhaps we can organise an IRC meeting sometime with some distro people and some promo people to try and work through some of these issues.

    Re your last point – are you talking about marketing the “KDE is the community” idea? If so, then yes, we do. We’re currently working on some of those things. The new website will have the community part much more prominently and the categories of brands as separate sections. The distro thing is obviously for tech users, but the way you present stuff to your users is important for us, since plenty of people likely only see KDE software (and the community) through the software their distro packages and the distro forums.

  • Diederik says:

    > This reminds me of the “Gnu/Linux” branding that RMS tried so hard to push back in the day … 90% of the people just rolled their eyes, smirked, and went right back to saying “Linux.”

    The reason I won’t be bothered with it, is because someone is pushing really hard to get credit of a whole system which is much larger then GNU.

    The KDE rebranding aims for something different; making room for applications to receive credit.

  • Tommy.S says:

    @Stu

    “Going the other way, GNU as an Os is ambiguous because it could be GNU/Linux or GNU/Hurd (well, in theory)”

    It would not be GNU/Linux and GNU/Hurd other than in RMS’s mind. In reality it would be Linux and Hurd operating systems with GNU tools. The Linux is monolithic kernel, not a microkernel. The monolithic kernel is complete operating system alone. Microkernel is just a part of the operating system, the most important part. Hurd is not a microkernel. It is a server-client architechture operating system what is build top of GNU Mach microkernel and OS servers. Hurd is alone a operating system but it is not just the kernel like Linux but microkernel + OS servers.

    We should never talk about GNU/Linux if we do not want to use it on correct context, meaning Linux operating system + GNU development software = GNU/Linux development platform. GNU can call it self as GNU development platform or software system. They can not call it GNU operating system because the GNU is more than just the Hurd. GNU can not specify the well the GNU/Hurd what would be Hurd operating system + GNU development software because all they belong to GNU itself. And because GNU is bigger than just the Hurd operating system or Hurd operating system + development software, the GNU can not stand anything else than the project name and the community participating for it.

    GNU/Linux is just a great example of propaganda and forced trying to give a new brand for technology what does not exist at all and has none facts what it would relay.

    KDE Software Compilation 4.4 is accurate and has technology what truly exist and can be proofed.

  • J. Janz says:

    This whole Rebranding thing is pointless. I never got confused with the meaning of KDE no matter the context (or absense of it) and never read, heard about someone that did.

    klebezettel said it right: it was never a problem. It is *now*.

    And the idea of KDE being always dependent of its workspace doesn’t come from its name, please! It comes from the (not so far in the past) scenario where it was true. And until we can have something to package *KDE* basic libraries (any trouble to understand KDE means software here, btw?) like gnome’s, it still feels like it (installation process for amarok on windows, for example, scares people the heck out!).

    And about making room for software to get the focus, come on, will really anybody say KDE KNetworkManager? Where are people who has *that* conversation? And what about KDE Rekonq? If the excuse is that it’s not in the compilation, so software will have to be called KDE SC Dolphin and KDE SC Plasma Desktop (both contained in SCs)!

    Come on, this “KDE releases KDE KDE” problem never existed! And, great strategy: now the joke becomes “KDE releases KDE KDE SC” …

    Bottomline, KDE is software. Any software built with KDE tecnology. KDE, the community, has always been KDE Community (people gettered around this common interest, the software — check out http://forum.kde.org/ if I’m wrong).

  • J. Janz says:

    Actually, the only good I saw on it all was retiring K Desktop Environment, ’cause it’s really not about only a desktop environment for a real big while.

  • J. Janz says:

    Oh, and a great thing I just read and notice: looks like for *you* too, Stuart, KDE community is called KDE Community and, when the disambiguation is needed, you just say KDE Community and KDE platform (like anybody else always did and will still do and never made a problem of it — until these days): http://www.asinen.org/2009/12/poll-for-3rd-party-apps-label-now-live/

    And it seems the new rebranding couldn’t handle the disambiguation either, did it? 😉

  • Stu says:

    @ J Janz

    “will really anybody say KDE KNetworkManager?” – I doubt it, I probably won’t. What’s wrong with just KNetworkManager? We suggested for some apps in some contexts you might use KDE too – so maybe KDE Dolphin in some places (I like KDE Dolphin better than Windows Explorer)

    “so software will have to be called KDE SC Dolphin and KDE SC Plasma Desktop” – No, that would be stupid. We’ve never suggested that

    ““KDE releases KDE KDE SC” – I think you’ll find we’re using “KDE releases SC”. You could use “KDE releases KDE SC” but the second KDE is redundant really. “KDE releases KDE KDE SC” is nonsense, the second two KDEs must share the same meaning.

    Re the forums – they have categories for KDE Community and KDE Software, not KDE Community and KDE. I don’t get your point there. If you mean people talk mostly about the software, well – yes. That’s why we like to give the software their own distinct brands, because they’re important enough to justify it rather than being dominated by “KDE”.

    While we’re on the forums, check this

  • Stu says:

    @ J Janz (3rd comment, didn’t see it until my earlier reply)

    KDE Platform is one of the brands, so yes, I’ll use it.

    KDE community (or Community – is it the capital that’s important to you?) is something we’re going to have to live with in the short-medium term, I think, for clarity because at the moment KDE is still ambiguous – us making an announcement about branding doesn’t change that instantly. Saying “associate their applications with either KDE or the KDE Platform” is fine too, I think.

    PS, I’m sure you’ll be able to find much better examples of me getting things wrong if you try a bit harder 😉

  • J. Janz says:

    What I meant by mentioning KDE Foruns is they’re called KDE Community Foruns (capital letters, names, … 😉 ) which means that when “KDE” is said about anything else than software, it’s explicitly said, as you also noticed about the categories. It’s still necessary under the new rebranding so there was no point for it.

    About the current use of “KDE releases KDE SC” (which indeed I’ve noticed before), I was refering to the joke Aaron quotes in http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2009/11/istanbul-was-once-constantinople.html (“KDE releases KDE KDE version 4.4”). I was just making a point that it was never a problem, as the use was the correct “KDE Community releases KDE” (capital C, as it’s intented to be a name, as in http://kde.org/announcements/4.3/index.php , for example). Once again, no need for this rebranding as it was never a problem.

    The point is: KDE always was (is and will be) software (I hardy doubt people confused it with the community behind it — which is always said), that is, that umbrella brand promoted now. It means, when “KDE version” gets released, it’s being released the entire umbrella branded software (or what you guys now called Software Compillation but, see, there was no need for that).

    Space for *some* apps (as suggested) to become “KDE” branded could be done without a change.

    What was done is: no need to say Community, saying just KDE for it, but a need for SC when refering to the software and other additions for stuff else … Quite just a change of places (as we said KDE for sofware and added Community or whatever for the rest). =/ Would that be not much of a problem if it hasn’t changed the focus of KDE was always known to be, software.

  • Michael Kreitzer says:

    That such a guide is necessary means this re-branding effort will ultimately fail. The end result will be more confusion. I am unable to understand what problem this re-branding is trying to solve.

  • Nathan says:

    @Michael Kreitzer

    An example of a problem we are trying to solve is this. In the past, KDE meant the people, the software, and the platform on which the software was developed (and maybe even more). So, how would you say the following without sounding silly:

    “KDE is proud to announce KDE developed on KDE!”

    Of course you could say, “The KDE Community is proud to announce KDE software developed using KDE technologies.”

    Two things about that, though. 1) “technologies” and other similar terms are not very marketable terms, and 2) you would have just done some rebranding yourself.

    What we have been working on is clarifying these distinctions to the general public. It may seem automatic to those of us who have been using KDE technology/software/etc. for a while now, but it is not obvious to joe public.

    Hope this helps.

  • Vic says:

    Anyway, i don’t think i will be using this new terms. I don’t understand them.
    I will continue to say KDE.

  • klebezettel says:

    Hey there!

    @Nathan

    Marketing is for the public, right? Well, for the public (normal users that wants to get their job done) KDE means the desktop environment as software.

    For us (fans, enthusiast, developers) KDE is much more. Now, if you’re trying to say something like

    “KDE is proud to announce KDE developed on KDE!”

    you actually don’t speak to the public (because for the public it’s just software!), you speak to us. And you would confuse the public.

    I think for the public the old release announcements weren’t a problem:

    “KDE Community Improves User Experience with KDE 4.2”
    “The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of “The Answer”, (a.k.a KDE 4.2.0)”

    What’s the problem here?

    Since KDE for the public is the software, it’s absolutely clear what “KDE Community” means. It’s just simple to explain. There is KDE the software and there is the community behind – KDE Community.

    (2)
    In the sentence

    “The KDE Community is proud to announce KDE software [X.Y] developed using KDE technologies.”

    there is no need for “software developed using KDE technologies.”. Of course “KDE technologies” were used? This is redundant information and is (for me as a user) annoying to read in an announcement.

    What’s interesting in an announcement is what has changed and the new label for the release (X.Y.) Everything else is just bla bla bla…

    @ Stu
    “””
    see above, but also: “If you’re a user, KDE means the software.” Which software?
    “””

    Which software? Above all the desktop but also every application that looks and behaves like a part of kde (of course this includes also applications that are not developed in svn).

    “””
    We do see people who believe KDE software is one monolithic lump and you can’t use KDE apps outside the workspaces and vice versa. Really
    “””

    OK, but I don’t see how the rebranding helps here.

    Again: I think for the public (!) no problem existed. Now you noticed that “KDE” is much more (FOR US, NOT THE PUBLIC!) and see disambiguations. You try to solve them with the rebranding (what affets the public) . But what happens is a confusion of the public. It makes thinks complicated.

  • J. Janz says:

    @Nathan

    Could please give me one example of a place where such anouncement was made (or just one case where there was a need for such an anouncement)?

    What I would say is: “KDE Community is proud to anounce KDE”. I didn’t say KDE is developed on KDE. Do I? Do anyone fail to see any KDE software or the whole bundle is based on KDE basic libraries?

    It’s hard not to sound silly about a silly declaration. No one’ve ever said (seriously, at least) “KDE based on KDE platform”. Or is anyhow “KDE is proud to anounce KDE Software Compilation based on KDE platform” not silly at all?

    I think it’s a good thing getting a minimum base named KDE Platform. That should be the core that Windows users should install, for example, so they could run Kwrite and/or stuff else that need no other libraries (QCA for kopete and whatever more).

    The thing is:

    * KDE Community has its name because it’s people gettered around the software; Which software? KDE. (See?)

    * But what KDE, the bundle (Software Compilation, if you will) or the platform? Well, actually, both but most commonly the bundle. It first meant the desktop and now embraces a whole lot more than that so it’s, then, about the bundle. The platform it’s built in is KDE platform (or KDE Platform, if it needs a name).

    So, as I said before here in comments, we always had to add a name to anything else that wasn’t the whole KDE software (KDE Community, KDE desktop and so on). Then, what was done is quite officialize that (but with a mistake).

    The mistake is that KDE has always been the umbrella branded software, not people. What you guys called Software Compilation is what KDE’s always been. KDE 4.4 is a tag for a bundle of versions of different kinds of KDE branded software (software built on KDE platform). It needed no new name. It always had, for anyone: KDE. KDE people that make software is KDE Community and has always been.

    “KDE Community is proud to anounce KDE” doesn’t fulfill that (anymore)? Again, see http://kde.org/announcements/4.3/index.php . Any confusion?

  • J. Janz says:

    Woah, I got distracted and missed klebezettel’s (again, well nicely done and simply explained) last comment.

    Sorry for saying the same thing but it at least proves that it is true: people never had confusion. KDE is a brand for a bundle of software, from which became known the names KDE Community and KDE platform.

    Is this hard to get? I never saw any confusion on the press, news, blogs or nowhere else. If a few people failed to explain to a friend what KDE is, I think it’s way a lot people more confused by this KDE Software Compilation and the whole rest.

    Rebranding confusion can be easily fixed by adopting what I explained in last phrase of the second paragraph on this comment. It’s honestly and humbly my suggestion.

  • Anonymous says:

    I much prefer the old branding as well… Such terms as:

    ‘KDE SC 4.4’
    ‘KDE Plasma Desktop 4.4’
    ‘KDE Platform’
    ‘KDE (community)’

    all seem to bear a resemblance to:

    ‘Windows Vista Home Premium’
    ‘Microsoft Office Live Workspace’
    ‘GNU/Linux’

    While the old term /was/ all-encompassing, it was also very easy to infer the context from how “KDE” was used. When users are required to read lengthy posts on the internet to simply type the correct name of a product, it seems that this move reached the opposite effect and introduced some strong branding issues.

  • d. hensley says:

    I’m that joe user you all keep talking about (more or less anyway). So here’s how I see it: You could have at least kept the K convention and spelled Compilation with a K. That would make it KDE Software Kompilation… or KDESK version x.x Which, if I bother to change the way I write of talk about KDE is no doubt how I’ll use it. I really, truly, hate seeing KDE SC –I read that as a typo of KDESC every time I see it, and immediately think, Oh -That’s KDESK but they misspelled it! And KDESK by KDE is understandable. Pretty obvious I agree with the there wasn’t a problem to start with crowd –I’ve just arranged my own compromise… Which is probably going to lead to lots of people pointing out that i missed the re-branding point, and I’ll agree I most certainly did/do –but then I’m just joe user, so I get to misunderstand everything –right?

  • J. Janz says:

    @d. hensley

    Yes, Joe 😉

    You not only get to misunderstand everything (it’s majorly you job) when we don’t do our job right.

    If you had no trouble before and now we gave you one, how can we say the problem is that you don’t get the rebranding?

    The rebranding (as is now) is an elephant in the living room … Will a guide of “how to ride an elephant” make it better?

  • d. hensley says:

    Well, I wish you luck at gaining much traction with the user community (I’m being honest, I really do as it seems important to you) . But I doubt it will work out all that well.

    Basically it seems me, as joe user, that your goal is to make it clear that there are both KDE apps that work ‘stand alone’ and often cross platform, and also a cohesive group of software that is a desktop environment and may also work cross platform. And also that KDE is a developer community of diverse and talented people.

    Well all that is no doubt true (even if I misunderstood what your goals are, I’m reasonably sure the description is accurate enough).

    But I do not think an exercise in fracturing things by way of ‘re-branding’ is going to mean anything except added confusion in the user community. They are just beginning to grasp that there is this powerful force afoot in user enabling software –KDE.

    Fist exposure is not likely to be aided by a confusion of terms (I agree they no doubt make sense within the developer community –or to some parts of it anyway), and may be somewhat useful to people that can at least file a bug report.

    So, all I am saying is just that as joe user sees it, you are not re-branding, you’re just confusing. Maybe if you try long and hard enough you will manage to change the habits of joe user, but I very much doubt it.

    As to the manual, I wouldn’t bother –joe user is not ever going to read it. That’s the nature of joe.

    Now whether or not you see it this way, all I have been doing is trying to point out stuff as I see it. That is called feedback –that it is not feedback that you wanted to hear does not change what it is –an attempt to offer what is so often requested by posters on the Planet (You being one that asked, for example).

    This is just some feedback from one user of the joe variety. It’s OK to ignore it –You all still make great software, and are no doubt a great community –This joe benefits from it very much, so thanks for that.

    But then I also benefit from a great many other brands of software (except Microsoft, which I personally wrote out of my life several years ago… so maybe I’m not the exact joe user you are looking for after all).

    Still, in my opine, most joe users of FLOSS type soft will see this re-branding as a confusing dilution of the brand, rather then a strengthening event. So that’s my feedback –you get to assign what ever value to it you chose… I’ve just done what you asked people to do in your post.

    Thanks for that opportunity, a place to express what one thinks is always appreciated by everyone, especially joe user, who often feels very left out of the loop. My apologies if I have not been able to find a way to disagree that sounds pretty and polished –look at my posts as alpha quality verbiage. But then what else would you expect from joe user?

  • Stu says:

    @ Everyone

    Thanks for the comments and sorry for the lack of response from me – the last few days have been majorly busy (and the next few too, so don’t expect to hear too much else from me in the near future). I don’t want my lack of replies to be interpreted as ignoring the points raised or annoyance with the disagreement – people like d. hensely, I think your comments have added to the debate here in a positive way and I’m grateful to you for taking the time to make them. Fortunately Nathan has been able to add a few replies while I’ve been busy with other things.

    I won’t go through all the comments one by one, but I’ll try and pick up a few main themes that I think you’ve raised. Please nudge me if you think I missed one that is important.

    1) We’re attempting to solve a problem that did not exist
    .
    All I can say is that the branding positioning has been discussed at great length on kde-promo over more than a year. There have been a lot of different opinions, but I haven’t noticed anyone saying that they think we should stick with the status quo. There seems to be a pretty unanimous view among those of us trying to communicate KDE that there was a problem. This is likely a point where we just have to agree to disagree. The problem existed for me and for a number of other people.

    2) There was no confusion in the old use of KDE

    Well, in a sense: yes. When we have just one term KDE it is very easy for you to casually write stuff about using KDE etc etc. It’s also a lot easier to rant against something than to argue your case (and I thank all of you for not ranting, but rather putting foward your viewpoints in a generally polite and well-considered way).

    JJanz said KDE was the software. I asked which software. He replied that above all the desktop, but also anything else that looks and behaves as a part of KDE, including stuff outside of SVN. So to me it sounds like his definition of KDE would be replaced by saying “KDE software” to cover everything. Also, in explaining what KDE is, he says it is any software that behaves as part of KDE – I’m sorry but that is a circular reference and suggests to me that he is having difficulty in defining what his “KDE” actually is. I still don’t know whether you see KDE as the Plasma Desktop, the SC or anything that uses the Platform

    People have commonly used KDE to refer to the workspace, the SC and the whole world of KDE software or even the Platform. This has led to confusion – if Amarok depends on KDE does that mean I need to install the workspace, the SC or only the Platform to run it? I think there’s less ambiguity if we say that installing Amarok requires the KDE Platform and doing that is not going to eat your GNOME desktop.

    3) Comparisons with GNU/Linux etc.

    Can we put that one to bed as a separate issue? I thank Tommy for his insights in to that and correction of some errors I made in the analogy (or rather replying to the analogy that someone else made). The idea that our brands sound like “Windows Vista Home Premium’ etc – well I guess, in as much as they are brands. But I don’t think we’ll go down the KDE Plasma Desktop Home Premium route 😉

    4) About “KDE releases KDE KDE”

    No we were never stupid enough to actually use that. It was just an example of something that is logically valid but clearly nonsensical in English. We have been suing KDE as an umbrella brand and KDE has also been a shorthand for what we now call the SC, so it is logically valid to call the KDE SC the KDE KDE under the old branding soup.

    5) The umbrella brand is the same as the SC, SC is the shorthand for KDE software

    No. The SC is not a real product and it’s certainly not everything we do. It’s really only of interest to us because it is convenient for a number of our teams to share infrastructure and a common release schedule. Few (any?) distros ship the whole SC in a default install, I doubt there are any that don’t add additional KDE apps like Amarok and digiKam and K3B. There is probably no one out there who is actually using the SC, the whole SC and nothing but the SC 😉 For the foreseeable future there will probably be a KDE SC, but only for practical reasons.

    6) It would have been better to rename the community than the software

    No one raised this idea explicitly, but I see it underlying some of the comments. We could have done this. I initially argued for it. In this case we would perhaps have had KDE as purely the desktop, called out community KoolPeeps and the Platform KoolCore (yes, I just made those names up). So “KoolPeeps today released KoolPeeps KDE built on KoolCore”. It’s ok (apart from the rubbish names) but makes our strongest brand (KDE) a mere sub-brand relating to a single product. At present KDE is recognised and it seemed better for us to therefore use that as the umbrella. We’ve also, basically accidentally, created a Plasma Netbook brand over the past year for our netbook workspace and we felt it made more sense to go with the flow on that rather than fight it. There are other arguments too I expect, I don’t remember the details but I remember I was convinced to make KDE the umbrella pretty quickly.

    7) Users shouldn’t need to read lengthy posts on the internet to understand the brands.

    Absolutely. That’s why it’s up to us (KDE promo team, documentation and release announcement wiriters, Dot writers and everyone on Planet KDE and you as informed users – you read the Planet so you are clearly informed) to use the branding consistently and correctly. People follow what other people say (many news outlets are already following us in talking about the beta release of SC 4.4) this will take time though. Explaining the brands to Joe user is unnecessary if people writing about KDE and KDE software understand the brands and the distros do too.

    8) The repositioning of the brands won’t stick

    It will only stick if we manage to carry enough people with us. That’s why we value feedback and we’re talking to people in writing our distro guidelines for example. Stuff like this takes time, but I think you’ll be surprised what can be achieved over time. The openSUSE peeps are finally winning their battle against SuSE (which no longer exists). Some of you probably don’t even know what I’m talking about, but references to SuSE were still everywhere a couple of years ago.

  • Gonza says:

    I don’t like the rebranding either. It’s too complicated!. If the new rebranding needs such a guide, that means the rebranding is not natural at all!!. It doesn’t feel natural to say KDE Software Compilation 4.4, it’s way too long!!.

    Come on people! I know you can come with something better and KISS.

  • J. Janz says:

    @Stu: first of all, I’m sorry for being a bit hard on some comments but, still, this (all I’m pointing out and suggesting) is my way to contribute to you, guys, that I know that are trying to do (and doing, btw) a great job putting ahead our KDE.

    Well, there seems to be some confusion in your last comment (I’ll blame those stuff you’re busy in 😉 ). Who said “above all the desktop, but also anything else that looks and behaves as a part of KDE, including stuff outside of SVN” and “software that behaves as part of KDE” was klebezettel, not me.

    I, too, said that KDE is software, that umbrella brand for all software using KDE technology (which was also what I read from klebezettel’s circular reference).

    I also pointed what is called by what (always has been, by everybody everywhere I read) and why: KDE started as the desktop and got more software added to it (KDE), ’cause they were based on it. At the time no one made separation between them so it’s all KDE, an umbrella brand. It led to a base of libraries on which all of them depend on, KDE Platform. And it all has been mantained by a community, KDE Community. That is, KDE’s always been the software. Its community, even though becoming friends and having fun together, only are gettered around the sotware. Without the software, they wouldn’t have been a community. That is, the community is around KDE, so it’s KDE’s community.

    And I add that the problem isn’t quite that (for nobody else than kde-promo, I see) not only for all the reasons raised in all comments above but because every single FLOSS community is named/branded the way KDE was. ALL OF THEM (maybe except a few exceptions you might hardly find out — I’ve heard of none, ’till now) are a community around the sofware.

    What I tried (and am still trying right now) to point out is that, if there was a marketing issue with KDE (non-official) branding, a rebranding could actually do good (clear any possible clouds away) if it was not set against what was right to people that had no trouble ’till now (possibly almost everybody). It could be KDE (umbrella branded software — and, sure, the bundle itself), KDE Platform (KDE’s commom libraries base) and KDE Community. I doubt people would get confused by this (’cause it’s always been this way, to KDE and all FLOSS). Can’t you point out these to kde-promo, for an adjust to rebranding, to straight things up?

  • J. Janz says:

    And, oh yeah, I tried so hard to be clear in the last comment I forgot: “KDE Community today released KDE Community KDE built on KDE Platform” sales KDE brand pretty nice (despite, again, the implicit silliness of the phrase itself), don’t it? Honestly, i don’t see it making “our strongest brand (KDE) a mere sub-brand relating to a single product”. Do you? What about that (which, again, is natural to lots of LOSS else — that is, people are used to)?

  • Stu says:

    @ Gonza, please see point 7 in my previous reply and the original post (which is all about not needing to say KDE SC very often at all

    @ J. Janz: Oops, sorry – I really didn’t mean to wrongly attribute someone else’s comment to you. Being blunt is fine btw 🙂

    Ok, so basically you’d have liked us to use KDE as the general software brand (we’re kinda doing that by having the umbrella, but I do get what you mean) and you’d have KDE for the SC too, so it’s KDE 4.4 that’s coming up next, meanwhile we have (slightly) new brands for the Platform and the community. It’s not an idea that I have any fundamental objection too. In fact here’s a snippet from and email I sent to KDE-promo at the start of November:

    “if we keep KDE branding for the team, people are going to remember that it means – or did mean – K Desktop Environment and I think that might lead to confusion. The question is, for most people, does KDE mean the community or the main software product? I suspect it’s the latter and so if we rename the main software product we’re taking on the bigger challenge”

    As I guess you realise, I changed my mind (doesn’t mean I’m going to change yours). The basic flaw I came to see in my argument was that we couldn’t really sort out what the “main software product” was that people recognise as KDE – the compilation of stuff we release together or the desktop (or maybe something else?). If we call the desktop KDE then we’ll need another name for the netbook interface. If we call the compilation we release together KDE, then that seems to make it harder to for apps that release as part of the compilation to be seen indpendent from the complete compilation. And we did want to separate the desktop from the compilation a little. I know I’ve mentioned some of this before and I don’t really expect to convert you – but just to make the point that I initially had pretty much your point of view (I think) and changed my mind.

    As for most free software teams taking the name of their product – yeah, it’s true. For some it works fairly well (I’m not sure that GNOME have the problems we have with names, people see the desktop and GTK as separate and a lot of the apps are seen as more independent – there are plenty of KDE people using GIMP I guess), others have problems (perhaps it sucks somewhat to be an Apache team not working on Apache). I’m not going try and find obscure examples of other teams doing what we’re doing, but there is a big one: Mozilla. The Mozilla community formed around the Mozilla Suite (commonly known just as Mozilla), but now we have Mozilla the organisation that produces apps like Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird and there is no Mozilla app. So it has worked for them – I know there are differences in that they didn’t rename the Mozilla suite as Firefox but instead made it a brand new product and I’m sure that helped them.

    Ah well, I’m not going to convince you (or vice versa) but it’s been interesting to discuss 🙂