Category Archives: Free Software

GNOME and how NOT to do marketing

How NOT to do it?

A simple example. Lets say you have heard of GNOME or you use it and want to downlaod the latest GNOME live CD. What would you do?

Right, you type in “gnome live cd” in a search engine like Google. Lets see what we get on February 2010:

google search result

search for "gnome live cd"

So we get essentially two top results. The first are in the GNOME Live! Wiki and the first result is the page GnomeLiveCd. If you open the page you do get a page that was last updated by me in 2007 so  about three years ago.

The other link leads to a not any more exiting webpage http://live.gnome.org/GnomeLiveCd

Marketing is no magic. Its more or less often about giving people what they expect.

If you lead people who expect to be able to download a running live cd to three year old information and none existing websites this is a #FAIL.

You can mostly forget thinking about any more marketing if you fail here.

Another failure is that GNOMEs website do not provide custom 404 pages and that just too many websites become 404 (not found). In 2008, so two years ago I reported this as a bug and provided a simple page as a solution. Nobody cared – so it was ok to LOOSE all visitors who do not find a page. Ali Abdullah talked about why this is important.

A website without 404 page cant be taken seriously in 2010 from a marketing perspective. If you take into account that fixing it would have been an one minute job you start wondering about priorities.

GNOME has taken a lot of work and efforts to start the new website with the Plone CMS: I have no idea when it will land. Right now http://www.gnome.org is not accessible. Maybe this means its already there? On the central development page in the GNOME wiki GnomeWeb you are told the new website is coming in September 2009. So so much about updated information if you really try to track down the progress and you care about the website.

Third example was the GNOME Office website, which was outdated for many years and to just resolbe this issue it tool about a year.

I could go on and on, but these are just two examples that show how NOT to do marketing on the internet – even if its “just” free software. No smart person will ever try to test GNOME again if what he finds looks so crappy.

How to do it?

Really, really simple: Provide the information the user needs – and if it is hard to find or  moved either forward to a new place. Keep information update. You do not want to discourage a user from trying out your application, desktop or whatever.

This is just my small view of the whole “marketing in internet” problem which results from my experience and after witnessing what has happened and especially not happened with the GNOME website.

I write this down, so that things change. Things do not change because you get a great new CMS. You might get it someday – but what do you do in the five years between now and then. Sure, nobody wants to see five years of stagnation, but what you can learn is that fixing the small things often still makes sense. Nobody likes to fix small things, especially men dont like it. Men like to think big. And maybe thats part of the problem: They do a lot of heavylifting and much too often find out too late that it is too often. That said I have also seen women falling in love with Plone; no idea why … ;-)

Summary

Help people find what they are looking for. Most web users have simple desires on their mind like find some essential information or download a live cd. Even if you can not provide this, you can say that you do not and why. And deal with users that come to your site like something worthful that should not be wasted easily!

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Filed under Free Software, GNOME, Technology

Gnome Yelp is much too slow

If you start GNOME help the first time this takes a lot of time. On my system (1.4 Ghz) I am guessing it needs about 30 seconds (and therefore about 6 times slower than Epiphany) – and you do not get any hint if something is happening. I do not know what they are doing that makes it so damn slow, but my suggestion would be to dump Yelp alltogether and use Epiphany by default. With that decision you get a help faster and also have the full featured browser. Maybe give epiphany a start option like epiphany –help-browser to get in a special mode and thats it. The current status is just unbearable. A help must be available very quick – at best instantly. Everything else does not work at all.

Also I would suggest to minimize the offline help and rather link to the web for uptodate help. Maybe as an option allow people to download the online help as a package. Today it does not make much sense to reduce help to just some official offline help. Like in Ubuntu you get the most help that makes sense in wikis rather than the official documentation.

No offenense to the programmers of Yelp. I just dont know why things are that way – and also I am quicker making a google search and getting an answer than waiting till yelp has started.

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Filed under Browser, Free Software, Technology, Web

Presenting the Epson Perfection V300 PHOTO

I now am using the Epson Perfection V300 PHOTO since tuesday. And it looks and feels really good. Remember that I am using it with Ubuntu 9.10 and iScan application that I downloaded from AVASYS Japan (builds software for EPSON):

Epson Perfection V300 PHOTO Front

Here some more pics as a dia show. These are the first free pictures of this product in the internet!

I have used it mostly for scanning reversal films. You will have to first make a preview, then select one of the film images and then scan in high resolution. 4800 dpi is possible.

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Ordered Epson Perfection V300 Photo

So as I found out that the Epson Perfection V300 Photo who should be good for scanning films and film negatives under Linux it was my choice. And expecting it in the coming week.

I will keep the progress updated and plan to present the first free pictures of a V300 (as Google free license search didnt get me one).

My suggestion not only to Epson is to exlicitly publish free photos of you products under Creative Commons licenses, so that documentations, web sites etc. can work with them!

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Filed under Linux, Technology

Scanning b/w negatives on Linux?

I am in the search of a filmscanner which also works on Linux or at least can save images on a memory chip, so I can import them later.
So far I have seen that the support for Linux seems to be pretty bad. Maybe a normal scanner with transparency unit would be better?

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VirtualBox USB. Sometimes things can be simple.

First of all if you find this post because you want USB to get going on Linux, than you need to know that if you use the open source varian VirtualBox USB – that does not support USB on purpose. Only the closed source version lists USB as a feature. So you have to fetch the version from www.virtualbox.org.

Secondly, there are still issues with USB on VBox in general. But there is a trivial solution for many devices if you use the latest Vbox version >3.1.2:

  • You need to enable the devices by adding a filter in the USB configuration menu. No device without a filter will work and all devices will be grayed out! (And the is a  nice HOWTO and also)

Previously I tried all the funny tricks that you can find on the net. Nothing helped – but nowhere I found this. So I decided to write it down. I did not kow what a USB filter was and assumed that rather than enablig it was meant for disabling USB devices. Lesson learned.

Yet I was not able to enable a Canon PIXMA in that way. Not sure what the cause is. I also still have issues with DVD/CDROM (which I solve by typing “eject” in terminal). But what is nice that a Windows XP on a 64bit Ubuntu 9.10 starts in about 6 seconds inside VirtualBox (unfortunately not my system).

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Compiling Aegisub on Ubuntu 9.10

So thats a mess, ok. I found out that the stable versions require more modern FFMPEG as Ubuntu 9.10 provides. The solution is to use an older package then.

you need to download a version not younger than aegisub-2.1.6-dev-r2740.tar.gz (Revision 2740) from February 18th 2009 from http://www.mahou.org/~verm/aegisub/archives/ and can confirm that this can include newest FFMPEG. For those who still dont know: There is no ffmpeg-dev, but you have to install different libraries -dev packages(most start with libav, I think essential should be: libavformat-dev and libavcode-dev) and also libhunspell-dev (HUNSPELL) for spell checking.

So my recommendation for Ubuntu to date is NOT to use the SVN version. I dont know why the require such new version of FFMPEG. It makes building unnecessary hard in my opinion.

I also installed these packages: ruby1.8-dev (otherwise you get “auto4_ruby.h:48:18: error: ruby.h: No such file or directory“), libperl-dev,…

Then you can enter directory and type

./configure
./make

And if that works ok:

sudo make install

That worked for me. If I missed soemthing ot you have questions pleas comment. And sorry I am not up to package building, yet. If a newer version works I will update this page, also.

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