The core of the idea is that the freedom aspects of our software is a unique attribute of our projects, something our proprietary competitors can't really match without actually giving in and joining us. There are many unique and wonderful things in KDE, but most of them can be traced back to the freedom aspects of the project.
Many of our most interesting technologies, for instance, exist in KDE and not elsewhere because KDE contributors are free to dream things into reality. They don't need to justify it to a management team or find space in the annual R&D budget. They just need to find the time and energy to engage their creativity.
Besides our technical capabilities, many of the best reasons to use KDE software at home, at work or at school come from those same set of freedoms. Whether it is vendor neutrality, data access guarantees, equal opportunity access to services, hardware choice, extensibility, (re-/co-)branding options, total cost flexibility, deployment options ... these are all various descriptions of practical freedoms, which is to say: freedom in action.
In search of the one big idea we could use as an umbrella image brand tag line, we therefore ended up at "Be Free".
Next month we'll be releasing presentation slides and notes that you can use to present various aspects of KDE4 to local user groups, your colleagues, your clients, etc. that will make passing on the Be Free message easy. In fact, I'll be working on these on the airplane down to Australia at the end of the week.
As KDE4 flowers, so will our Be Free campaign. Marketing free software has been done before, but not precisely in this way by the project itself. Usually it's been either more low-key, more geek centric or backed by a corporate interest. The nearest analog to what we're attempting here would be the Mozilla Foundation's work in the past on the Firefox brand. We feel that by initiating the campaign from the project itself that we can maintain our integrity in messaging and address all our audiences equally well, be they enthusiast users, members of the services communities around KDE or our end user target markets. I trust that our communications team members will blog and post to the mailing list more information on the KDE4 strategy as time goes on here.
In my keynote for the 4.0 Release Event, we opened with an inspiration video with the Be Free message. Unfortunately we didn't rehearse this bit on stage and as it turned out where I was standing I could neither see the video very well nor could I hear myself at all (the speaker monitors didn't reach where I was standing in the wings) so I flubbed it a bit. However, the video still stands as a great work. It was done by a fellow in France who is an artist of the state there. I'm going to be looking for funding to see if we can get him to do a few more to create a series. Essentially, we need to cover his expenses which seem to end up in the 4-6000 Euro range. Rather inexpensive given the results. He was quite stoked to do the project, and this first one was on him. Well, him and the French government, I suppose. =) The video has been uploaded to youtube. I also have a hi-def version that I'll try and find a good home (read: bandwidth) for soon. It's not small, but it's good.
You will also find the transcript of the voice over with timing marks in italics below the video:
(Clock appears) 11 years ago an international team of technologists, writers, translators, artists, communicators and coordinators began to (Street scene fades in) assemble. Today we form the core of a global community, thousands strong.
(Subway scene)We have worked together across all boundaries, human and technical, to create software for all manner of people, system and (Breakdancers) devices. In this (Clock) time we have accomplished what few thought possible: a powerful and innovative user experience erected entirely in the open using a process based on participation.(Boat on river)
Some of us are entrepreneurs, others researchers or professionals in our industries. (Clock) But we are all technology enthusiasts, and together we make KDE. (Gears animation) In celebration of the launch of KDE4, I'd like to share with you what it means to be KDE. (KDE workmark appears It all starts ("Be free" slogan appears) with freedom.
The above video and transcript are released under a CC share-alike, attribution license. Enjoy =)