GUADEC 2006 Marketing BOF

Inform, listen, react

  • GNOME marketing needs to be bottom-up
  • There is a certain amount of centralised infrastructure needed

Reminder: our core markets are ISDs, public sector and hobbyists.


Here's some of the infrastructure we need:

  • CRM software to allow us to keep track of government, user group, press and deployment contacts
  • Shared calendar to keep track of user group participation and GNOME speakers in events
  • A decent and to allow a decent development of an independent software developer programme
  • "Cheat sheets" - quick guides to doing things like:
    • Setting up a GNOME stand
    • Starting a GNOME user group
    • Giving a presentation on GNOME
    • Use Greenpeace and Amnesty as a model
    • Paul Cooper from Birmingham will get us some of the stuff from Greenpeace to give us an idea what needs doing
  • A mailing list (if one doesn't already exist) to help co-ordinate local user groups (plus a vastly improved wiki area)
    • This will be the GNOME User Groups masters mailing list, similar to the UK's lugmasters list
    • The idea is to share knowledge and experience among user groups, and have a way for people to find out globally what's happening locally
    • The list will be English-speaking, with at least one prepresentative per GUG
  • A LiveCD and Xen VM of each release
  • A decent collection of GTK+/GNOME pased apps for Windows on a CD (OpenCD, GNOME edition?)

Marketing roles and tasks


And here's some of the bottom-up roles we need to encourage:

  • Contacting local politicians to explain free software and GNOME to them
  • Writing articles about GNOME for local magazines
  • Lobbying magazine editors to ship GNOME software on the cover CD
  • Giving presentations and organising stands for GNOME at conferences
    • Try computer fairs - small meetings of computer resellers in the UK, they love free software
  • Starting user groups
    • Use GNOME in Spain as a model - GNOME Hispano rocks
    • Follow the .NET user group model - have goodies ready to send out to new user groups to empower and evangelise - books, t-shirts, posters, merchandise, LiveCDs
    • Free t-shirts is important in central and South America
    • Centrally supply PDFs and money for stands and evangelism
  • Growing the GNOME Foundation
  • Contacting local university computer clubs, LUGs and professors
    • Propose presentations on GNOME and free software
    • See LUGRadio tour as a reference
    • Get cheat sheets on how to promote GNOME
    • Access will be through individuals


There are a few things which can't really be done well bottom-up and will need both centralised infrastructure and investment/organisation:

  • ISD training events (like OSDW)
  • Online course materials (updating GGAD and presenting it as a course with exercises and the like)
    • Usability
    • GTK+
    • Bindings
    • Low-level libraries
    • See video2brain for reference

So there we have it - a concrete list of things that need doing, all chopped up into bite-sized tasks. There's more of course - we'll need someone to take care of the calendar and make it live, we'll need someone(s) doing the same thing for our wiki space, we really need to get our act together graphically (I need more photos on my blog) and make our space a likeable space.

Other big tasks

Some tasks will take longer to get to an initial state, and could benefit from the formation of a team with a well defined team leader.

The website redesign got a good push at GUADEC, and my objective there is to let the people interested in taking that on run with it. See GnomeWeb for discussions on the website redesign.

GNOME certification also got a good talking about, and we'll be looking for people who can take that ball and run with it over the next few weeks. I have a basic idea of how certification should work, and we've started talking about it with distributors, so this could be a highly visible initiative in the coming months.

The general idea is:

  1. Define a list of things that must be available on a GNOME platform (and take into account platform versioning, dependencies, other standards)
  2. Write a test suite to check for those things
  3. Certify a bunch of platforms for GNOME conformance, or report where they're falling down. Ask certified platforms to display the certification mark on their web-pages, desktops and product packaging (this might be hard)
  4. Define what it means to be a good GNOME citizen application in terms of integration with the platform, and refer to GNOME certified platforms as places where your application will work if you follow the citizenship buy-off (this is the important bit - no-one will want the GNOME certification unless it means something - the pay-off is working with a dozen distributions).
  5. Perhaps write a test suite for certification steps

Pre-BOF agenda

The GUADEC marketing BOF took place in the coffeeshop beside the entrance hall in Villanova from 10am to 12am on Wednesday of the conference.

A rough agenda for the BOF, which was be primarily an action-oriented planning meeting, was outlined on marketing list at the start of June.

Here it is again, for reference, with notes from several people who couldn't attend:


I'm sure that we're all more or less tired of discussing target markets over and over - I'd like to propose that we organise a strategy for attacking 3 major markets -

Third party developers

  • will need co-ordination with platform developers
  • Preparation of material showing the benefits of developing on the GNOME platform
  • Laying out and printing the platform overview that Shaun wrote
  • Setting up a decent feedback loop from third parties (the board can help here, we're in contact with the advisory board on this issue)
  • Co-ordinate participation in future OSDW sessions

Public administrations

  • Spanish, French, German and Asian organisers needed
  • Collect addresses of public officials inquiring about free software or planning migrations
  • Contacting people responsible for announcements of free software adoption to offer help and get feedback
  • Feedback loop - working with the development community to address concerns we hear about from administrations
  • Focus on South America, India, China and Europe
  • Set up reporting so that everyone knows who's talking to who (shared address book and contact management solution - Drupal?)


  • Early adopters - synthesising feedback and pushing it back into the system
  • Hobbyists - working with computer magazines to get free software on the cover disks and get articles published (article writers needed here!)
  • Trade shows
    • organising the event boxes, working on budget for stand rental/construction and getting volunteers for trade show stands
  • Getting promotional material printed and delivered in a timely fashion
  • Merchandising - let's leverage the passion!
  • Working with people like Canonical to co-ordinate presence at trade shows
  • University outreach - contacting local university user groups - see

Jono Bacon's UK tour, or the BadgerBadgerBadger tour as good examples of possibilities - encourage your local LUG to have open door sessions, and get a "big name" to come & present

  • University outreach 2 - contact teaching heads of local colleges and push open formats and free software for college exercises and training
  • Co-ordinate all these contacts and events - Drupal maybe?

This is a huge amount of work, but luckily, it's broken down into small chunks, which can have bite-sized micro-tasks - for instance one person can organise a GNOME presentation at the local university and get a GNOME developer to come & present. One person can contact the Sao Paolo government. One person can organise trade show presence.

If we do this stuff well, it will make a massive difference to our marketing. Even if we do one category really well, it will rock GNOME's world. Even if we do half of each category well, we change everything.

Let's get moving in the right direction. I will not be surprised when we change course during the voyage, but let's haul anchor, hoist the mainsail and drift off into the sunset.


  • John Williams ( I would like to see a concrete plan of action for research into two areas. Firstly, getting a reasonable estimate of the number of GNOME and GNU/Linux users world-wide. Secondly, research into the factors that would promote switching to GNU/Linux in general and GNOME in particular. Any reasonable plan would have to include some committment of resources. Specifically either cash (to pay for focus groups, telephone interviews, mail-out questionnaires, content analysis etc.) or computing resources (hosting on-line survey and data-processing system, for example.)

    • John, we probably have no idea how that would look, how to get that done, or how much it would cost. I think we need you to help us with that. I guess that some cash is available for this, but I guess this usually cost millions. MurrayCumming.

      • Yes, I can help with that. As for cost, we are talking in the 10,000 USD range, not millions. The cost can be driven down by not using commercial market research firms, but instead using academic research resources. Then the labour cost goes toward zero, and all remaining costs are for postage and printing etc. If the data-gathering is on-line, the cost goes down even further.


CategoryGuadec CategoryMarketing

Engagement/TeamMeetings/08OCT2006 (last edited 2013-08-10 14:03:55 by AllanDay)