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GLM is at a crossroad, important changes are coming

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ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13

Hi everyone,

I have just published a text called GLM's at a crossroad. I warmly invite everyone to read it and comment.

I believe we are at a very difficult moment, and we need to change if we want to keep moving past this December. We need more participation, more funds, and perhaps, some important changes on the websites. Please read, judge, and voice your opinion if you disagree or have constructive feedback to give.

Thanks,

Olivier.

Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11
Hi, Olivier.These are my

Hi, Olivier.

These are my thoughts on some of the topics addressed in the document:

  • Less "GNU/Linux" and more "Linux": No problem with me; it became a silly discussion to me -- everybody can refer to it the way they want, the fact is that I get what they mean.
  • A less negative attitude: I don't understand how we can turn a section titled "Why not Windows" into positive aspects of free software. But I'd prefer to keep it as is anyways; we need a place to point people who want to learn about what's wrong with Windows.
  • A new domain name : +1.
  • A less austere and informative look: +?, definitely. I think we can learn a lot from that page (an screenshot in the homepage, a link to a video showing GNU/Linux/X/(GTK/Gnome|Qt/KDE) in action, etc.).

Cheers.

michuk's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-20
EU funding?

I haven't been very much involved in the activity of GNU/Linux Matters recently. I'm more acting on the Polish front and can share a few ideas.

First, there is a similar organization in Poland called FWIOO (Free and Open Source Software Foundation), which is led by my friend Rafa? Brzychcy and which has been pretty successful in getting funding for their projects, especially from the EU but also from EEA Grants (http://www.eeagrants.org/) and so on.

One of the projects is called "FLOSS for schools" and you can read more about it here: http://polishlinux.org/linux/free-software-in-polish-schools/

There are more projects going on and a lot of activity of FWIOO in the areas of promoting FLOSS in education and the public sector, taking part in the ISO standarization committee and so on.

The key thing here is that FWIOO was founded in April 2007 and is... two people.

If you would like to consult FWIOO or cooperate with them, I'm sure they'll be more than happy to do so.

---

Also, I think you are right that in order to achieve measurable results, it's better to speak the business language, i.e. turn more to "open source" and "Linux" as opposed to "free/libre software" and "GNU/Linux". And I'm saying that in spite of the fact that I usually say GNU/Linux and understand that this is the politically correct term.

Going more the spreadfirefox.com way than the gun.org is the good way. Except for all, there is already the Free Software Foundation and they're doing their job. Why duplicate their efforts? It's way better to offer something different, but equally important.

If want to know more about FWIOO and their activity and possible ways to cooperate, e-mail me, we could meet on Skype (ouch.. non-free software) and talk about it as well, if you guys wish.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I am not sure who you were

I am not sure who you were referring to by "the more fervent FSF members", but suffice it to say that I'm neither an FSF member anymore nor fervent about "GNU/Linux" naming.

I wouldn't go so far as to adopt fully the "open source" term, at least so much to use it exclusively, even though as I became more apolitical lately it does portray the only technical difference between free and proprietary software and if people already WERE freedom aware it would probably be an OK term to use.

But since they're not, perhaps using Free Software or Freedomware interchangeably with "open source" if we must, would still be a good thing. I don't think that was really a big issue anyway.

I like all of the other ideas.

I feel a little guilty myself for not doing more for the org, but to be entirely honest I wasn't motivated.. I lost quite a bit of motivation when it comes to Free Software in general, though not all (Nuxified will go on).

One idea regarding funding; maybe it would be good to put a small paypal donate box on every page of GGL to remind people that they can help keep it up by donating. GGL is probably the most visited site in the GLM yet it doesn't show an obvious way of donating.

Other funding ideas; sign up with Amazon.com to be an affiliate and advertise some good Linux books (beginners oriented) that people can order through GGL. You get a cut of every sale. It's also possible to set up a NewEgg and Amazon shopping affiliation where people only need to shop through a GLM subdomain and you get a cut of every purchase they make. This is something a popular radio show Free Talk Live does, among other things. It's a clean, non-spammy way for people to give you some support. If they might be shopping on Amazon or NewEgg anyway, and they know about GLM and would like to help, why not just log in via GLM's subdomain and shop that way, nothing to lose. Smiling

Another small suggestion; regarding getlinuxnow.org, maybe it would be better if getlinuxnow.com was used as the main domain, because it's something most people would instinctually remember and I think it sounds better. If you'd be interested in looking for an even better domain name, here's a good resource.

Whistler's picture
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Joined: 2006-01-03
just a note on the word

just a note on the word "freedomware":

a quick search on google shows it's the name of a proprietary software company, although not quite famous. http://www.freedomware.net/
could such a word be trademark issues?

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
It was checked before

It was checked before adoption. That company doesn't have a trademark. The only trademark that exists is by a swim suit company, which doesn't cause a conflict because it is fully unrelated to software. So that small company doesn't have much of a case and the other trademarks don't apply so it's safe. Richard Stallman checked it with his lawyers too back then.

I doubt it'd come into question often, but even if it does it's a matter of pointing out that the name isn't related to that LLC and sure isn't related to swim suits. Sticking out tongue

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Joined: 2008-11-05
Hey guys ariadacapo, while

Hey guys

ariadacapo, while completely new to get GNU/Linux, I see great potential. I was looking for something exactly like GGL to show people without prior knowledge about Linux what it is all about.

I also do agree with you regarding that text of yours. I think the changes you are suggesting are well thought and important for this project's future. Especially the changes regarding name, domain and rewording of the anti-Windows parts of the site (a movement towards a slightly more neutral view) seems like important improovements that can be realized within a reasonably short timeframe.

A couple of website suggestion from a user point-of-view:

1) Redesign the content of the site a bit. While the structure is actually quite simple, navigating the site is kind of confusing. I suggest keeping the main menu entries but adding all subpages to to submenus to give the user a better overview.

2) Move (even more) text from the main pages ("What is Linux?", "Why not Windows" and "Switch to Linux") into the subpages. The text on the main pages seem a bit too long and detailed to me. People are impatient, mind you. It's fine to have in-depth information about various views and angles of the world of Linux, but most people won't care about that at the first glance. They most likely want the important information in a short and precise form with loads of images and screenshots to illustrate.

3) Invest in a proper design. Your content and idea is very good, so it seems like a shame to pack it into a generic blue header with a piece of white sky as the only resemblance of branding and design. Where's the Tux? - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tux

(P.S. I'm giving the Danish translation a go Smiling. I also wanted to sign up for a monthly donation, but was astounded to see the restricted terms on your donation page. It's kind of ironic to see free software advocates limit donators to 12 month subsribtions of pre-defined amounts. Please create a text-box for user-defined subscription amounts, and don't force the user to keep subscribing for any period of time Smiling)

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Joined: 2007-09-10
Mmh, I just noticed the

Mmh, I just noticed the link to GLM isn't on the GGL mainpage: http://www.getgnulinux.org/
I mean the little thing at the bottom "A project of the GNU/Linux Matters non-profit".

Is this wanted or is it an oversight?

Quote:

2) Move (even more) text from the main pages ("What is Linux?", "Why not Windows" and "Switch to Linux") into the subpages. The text on the main pages seem a bit too long and detailed to me. People are impatient, mind you. It's fine to have in-depth information about various views and angles of the world of Linux, but most people won't care about that at the first glance. They most likely want the important information in a short and precise form with loads of images and screenshots to illustrate.

???
There's almost no text on the main page. How can it be too much?
That said, screenshots would be nice.
As for Tux not being there, it's explained in the FAQ on the GLM site: http://www.gnulinuxmatters.org/about/faq/

Quote:

Why do you not display Tux?

Larry Ewing made a nice penguin which is the official Linux mascot! You should use it! I love that penguin!

Well we don’t like it. The level of marketing displayed by Microsoft and Apple make it questionable whether Tux the penguin is a suitable icon in 2008.

But I wouldn't mind a Tux or a Gnu. Smiling

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Joined: 2008-11-05
It's on the "More" page, but it wouldn't hurt to mention it in t
KIAaze wrote:

Mmh, I just noticed the link to GLM isn't on the GGL mainpage: http://www.getgnulinux.org/
I mean the little thing at the bottom "A project of the GNU/Linux Matters non-profit".

Is this wanted or is it an oversight?

It's on the "More" page, but it wouldn't hurt to mention it in the footer either I guess.

KIAaze wrote:
Quote:

2) Move (even more) text from the main pages ("What is Linux?", "Why not Windows" and "Switch to Linux") into the subpages. The text on the main pages seem a bit too long and detailed to me. People are impatient, mind you. It's fine to have in-depth information about various views and angles of the world of Linux, but most people won't care about that at the first glance. They most likely want the important information in a short and precise form with loads of images and screenshots to illustrate.

???
There's almost no text on the main page. How can it be too much?
That said, screenshots would be nice.

I didn't mean the main page, but the main pages (for a lack of better word). The 3 pages that are also linked from the "main menu". It's not that the text isn't important, but I'm I'm quite sure many people won't last through all of it. If you follow the "natural" way through the site without reading the subpages:

Front page -> What is GNU/Linux? -> Why not Windows -> Switch to Linux -> From Windows to Linux -> Choose a distribution -> Try or install

... you have to read more than 2500 words. That's more than 6 pages. Ideally, in my little world, the "walkthrough" would be arranged like this:

What is GNU/Linux? (new front page) -> Why not Windows -> From Windows to Linux (or "What's different?") -> Get Linux! (merge of Choose a distribution and Try or install)

... with a total of ~1500 words. Of course the contents of the pages would have to be rearranged and rewritten a bit to fit such a layout. But that's just how I see it Eye.

Quote:

As for Tux not being there, it's explained in the FAQ on the GLM site: http://www.gnulinuxmatters.org/about/faq/

Quote:

Why do you not display Tux?

Larry Ewing made a nice penguin which is the official Linux mascot! You should use it! I love that penguin!

Well we don’t like it. The level of marketing displayed by Microsoft and Apple make it questionable whether Tux the penguin is a suitable icon in 2008.

But I wouldn't mind a Tux or a Gnu. Smiling

Hmm. A shame. To me, branding Linux with the Tux is perhaps one of the best ways to do it. Everybody loves the Tux, and it's truly a unique brand, and one of the few shared things between all Linux'es. To hell with Microsoft and Apple marketing I'd say. The gnu never really appealed to me though.

ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
Sorry for silence. I've

Sorry for silence. I've been working on my new job (I'm a teacher in a university) for the last 6 weeks, with barely enough time to sleep & eat. Things should improve a little in the coming weeks, and I should have a little time again.

I'm afraid I will have no time to discuss/implement many of the (very good) suggestions above, merely to work passing on the legacy of GLM into another organization.

Thanks for your patience,

Olivier.

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Joined: 2008-11-05
Hi Olivier Sorry to hear

Hi Olivier

Sorry to hear about that Sad. Good luck in the future though!

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Joined: 2007-09-10
Another improvement

Another improvement suggestion for the GGL site:
The page http://www.getgnulinux.org/switch_to_linux/ should have a fourth option: "Free Software pre-installed" (or "Buy a PC with Free software pre-installed").

This option is currently hidden in the "Try or install" option.
Why not offer it right away for those who have already made their decision? Especially if http://linuxpreloaded.com/ is what you are making money with. Eye

A link to it could still be left in "Try or install" of course.

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