[Planning] Marketing goals
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Description

Current Situation

This is how KDE as a project and brand is currently perceived in the IT market. This information is gleaned from a lot of anecdotal data, so please take everything with a grain of salt.

Technology

Despite being quite mature in many aspects, KDE's frameworks and libraries do not seem to be used or, indeed, known much outside of the KDE community. We have had several (admittedly anecdotal) experiences in which organisations and companies that we thought would've known better, were completely ignorant of what KDE had to offer.

  • The Plasma Desktop has a low penetration, but is generally regarded as a high quality product. Very high ratio of developers to users.
  • Many applications are quite well known (Krita, Kdenlive), but users do not associate them with KDE (see Brand later). Otherwise, while excellent dwell in total obscurity.
  • Frameworks are surprisingly underused outside the KDE community. Even many FLOSS projects are ignorant of what we do.

Community

According to many accounts, the community is not what it used to be. This is true about activism in the FLOSS world in general: people grow older, find time-absorbing jobs, have families and have less time to give away. Also FLOSS is not perceived as an exciting, pioneering, revolutionary thing like it used to be, so a younger generation is not that interested.

  • The KDE community is shrinking. According to testimonies of old-timers and numbers of attendees at events, there is a decline of active community members from a peak that was reached in 2013. Despite a peak in 2010, and sharp drop off immediately after, there has not been radical shrinkage, but there has been a slow gradual one.
  • The community is largely homogeneous with regard to gender, race, class and geographical extraction, being made up mainly by white male middle class European engineers
  • There is a large ratio of developers to users. This comes about in part from the philosophy of "scratch your own itch" which is pervasive in FLOSS development: Developers are often the consumers of their own development. In KDE, however, this is a bit more diluted and can attributed to the fact that KDE technologies are not that well-known outside our community.

Brand

  • The KDE brand is recognised within the FLOSS community, even though many of the products are not. That said, KDE is still being used as a synonym of "Plasma desktop" by most FLOSS community members not associated with KDE.
  • Anecdotal (but not unique) evidence collected at external conferences seems to indicate that the KDE brand is not known outside the FLOSS community.
  • Some popular apps are not associated with our brand, despite being fostered within our community.

Others

  • Domestic usage is probably lower than 1%: if we take the figures that say that users of the Linux desktop make up little more than 2% of the market, and taking into account that by most measures, Gnome is the most pervasive of the Linux desktops, it stands to reason that KDE's Plasma desktop is used by less than 1% of the desktop users worldwide.
  • Professional usages is probably also very low:"Professional" as in use in offices, hospitals, schools, public administrations, etc. If we have learnt anything from things like Wannacry and other virus crisis is that the most public institutions and big companies use proprietary tools that are also outdated.
  • Progress in getting KDE tech on devices: That said, we have made progress in getting KDE software (especially the Plasma) preinstalled onto devices. The KDE Slimbook I and II, the Pinebook (although not as a default) and our ongoing work to get Plasma Mobile onto the Librem 5 and other devices, are examples of the headway we are making.

Long Term Goals

For Technology

The main aim in this section is to increase project sustainability be adding more developers and acquiring better and more stable financing. One way of doing this would be to increase the usage of the KDE frameworks and software in general in companies.

  • Contribute to help increase by 5 the number of software companies that use KDE frameworks as the basis for their UI-based applications over the next 5 years. Among these companies there must be at least one multinational global player, like Samsung, Lenovo, LG, etc. The ultimate goal is to create a sustainable businesses ecosystem in which it makes sense for companies to develop, sell and maintain KDE-based software or develop software fo their own products, both for users and for other businesses. We can do this by (1) visiting events and engaging attending representatives of target companies, (2) pushing news about developments of KDE frameworks on B2B social media networks and to tech-business press; and (3) increasing the userbase and the use of KDE software in non-techie organisations, which will lead to and increase in interest on behalf of third party companies to ramp up the use of our frameworks to develop their own software.
  • Establish a working durable and stable relationships with Linux/BSD/etc. distribution maintainers

For KDE community

  • Help increase diversity: Over the next 5 years help promote diversity and collaborate in attracting contributors in order to get close to having the same proportion of men, women, and other genders as there are in the real world. Likewise promote KDE as a community all over the world to contribute to recruiting contributors so as to achieve a balanced representation of the largest number of ethnicities and nationalities as possible among contributors. At the moment, the community is composed mainly by white male Europeans. The goal is to add 5 percentile of minority contributors to the community every year over the next 5 years, without decreasing the number of contributors KDE already has. We can do this by carrying out actions that target under-represented genders, ethnicities and people with disabilities, so that we can tap undiscovered talent, receive input and help from a larger slice of the population, and better adapt KDE's software to the needs of wider selection of the population. Take page from Wikimedia's playbook on how to encourage under-represented groups to participate in KDE's community. Implement and enforce a strict CoC both for the community and each event against discrimination and harassment. Also, move main event (Akademy) away from Europe and encourage sprints and events in other places, like Asia, South America and Africa, as well as activities devise activities which will appeal to minorities.
  • Contribute to achieving a sustained growth of the number contributors: To stop the community from shrinking further and, if possible, reverse that trend, we can again use the effort to push for diversity. While activism of FLOSS in the Europe and North America has decreased, in developing countries FLOSS is very much a nascent movement, akin to what it was like in Europe and the US in the early 2000s. This is a demographic KDE can cater to and, in the process, bring new blood with new perspectives into the community. This would be a mid-to-long term solution. GOAL: Help increase by 25% the number of active contributors and volunteers every year over the next 5 years.
  • Help attract existing FLOSS software projects to KDE and incorporate their members into our community. We would want to increase the number of projects by 5 every year over the next 5 year. This would help KDE increase its portfolio and app catalogue, making our platform more attractive to users and contributors (= a larger variety of projects to chose from). The community would grow with members of already active projects, thus increasing our reach with every project added. One would expect it would make KDE more attractive to a wider variety of sponsors. The projects that joined us would be able to increase number of contributors (developers, artists, translators) working on their product, increasing the bus factor. They would be able to take advantage of KDE's infrastructure and services (like Promo), while at the same time increasing the probability of obtaining sponsorship and funding. Finally they would be working with like-minded colleagues. We will approach the project leaders and to ensure we can accommodate the project, we will work with the onboarding project members so we are ready to accept mature projects into the fold.
  • Contribute to acquiring more sponsors: A bigger community means more expenses. We would need to guarantee that KDE remains operational by, among other things attracting stable sponsorships. Also, by increasing the number of sponsors, KDE does not have a a two big dependence on any one sponsor in particular, which helps the community maintain its independence. We would need to determine what reasonable increment of sponsors we want to achieve. Apart from working with companies as mentioned in the *For Technology* section above, we can also jump start interest in sponsoring KDE projects by attending events which management from corporations also attend. We want to deliver talks to CTOs and have booths to showcase KDE's solutions. In part, this strategy is already being implemented. GOAL: Increase at least by 25% every year the amount contributed by sponsors to the community over the next 5 years.

For KDE's brand

We want to increase brand awareness across the board.

  • KDE should become a household name. Tech-literate users should be able to identify KDE applications, Plasma, Plasma Mobile, and so on the same way the can differentiate Android, iOS, Windows and macOS. Companies developing software with GUIs should consider KDE technologies, like Kirigami for their products. It is unlikely that KDE will become recognised on its software merits alone. This is where standard advertising, ad stunts, and things beyond the solely technological will have to come into play. GOAL: Make KDE, Plasma and some of KDE's more popular applications recognisable for at least 5% of the population over the next 5 years.
  • We also want to become recognised as a provider of quality software. We would need to make sure QA is carried out on all projects associated with our brand and they abide by KDE's core vision. Carry out surveys every year to monitor progress. GOAL: Improve consumers' and businesses' awareness and positive perception of KDE products. Each yearly survey must show significant improvements (?) in the perception of KDE's products over the one carried out the year before. We also aim to achieve larger proportion of positive reviews and articles on bloggers, vloggers and podcasters sites, as well as in professional publications.
  • We will also want to reinforce KDE's brand through popular applications. We will want to ask application project leaders to push the KDE brand front and centre to increase brand awareness in users. We are in the first stages of discussing this at T9122. GOAL: All KDE's standalone applications (i.e. applications that can be run outside of Plasma, even on different platforms, such as Windows, Android, or macOS) have their own website and include the "Made by KDE" branding badge into their sites and on splash screens.

For Others

Increase number of end-users by

  • Helping take over niches, like education, science & research, art, etc. GOAL: Contribute to turning KDE applications into the most used applications within at least two niches within the next 5 years. For example, making GCompris the most used application for by primary teachers for education, or Krita the most used painting program for art students. [More examples?]
  • Helping get manufacturers preinstall KDE software on devices, something that is already happening in a limited fashion. We want to establish ties with manufacturers and help them and support them to get Plasma, Plasma Mobile, and the rest of KDE's ecosystem working on their devices. An even longer term aim would be to have major device manufacturers (HP, Asus, Dell, Acer, LG, Samsung...) ship devices with Plasma and KDE applications pre-installed, be them laptops, tablets, phones or smart appliances (TVs, fridges, etc.). GOAL: Add at least two new hardware manufacturers a year to the list of hardware vendors consistently pre-installing KDE-based technologies onto their devices.
  • Helping increase the presence of KDE software in companies by marketing at events and directly to businesses that could benefit from adopting KDE software and need technical corporate backing. GOAL: Increase the number of companies using KDE environments, applications and technologies by two every year over the next five years.
  • Contributing to the increment of the number of domestic users, which maybe achieved by striking deals with hardware providers to supply them with OEM versions of KDE-based distributions. Related to getting KDE-based software pre-installed on devices mentioned above. GOAL: Help increase the number of desktop end users by 2% over the next 5 years.

TODO

Please post suggestions, ideas for additional goals, or improvements to the ones described above in the comments.

paulb created this task.Mar 30 2017, 10:14 PM
skadinna renamed this task from Marketing goals to [Planning] Marketing goals.Jul 28 2017, 12:40 PM
paulb claimed this task.Jun 14 2018, 10:45 AM

Going to assign this one to myself and start drafting a skeleton document that collects

  • Current situation
  • Long term goals

So we have something to work with.

paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Jun 22 2018, 10:50 PM

This still an early draft and I definitely need some feedback and comments to make it a better document.

paulb added a subscriber: apol.Jun 22 2018, 10:52 PM
xyquadrat updated the task description. (Show Details)Jun 23 2018, 3:37 PM

I just fixed a few grammatical issue (bear in mind that I am not a native speaker so it could easily still contain some errors), but apart from that I think this sounds very reasonable. KDE is much more than just the Plasma desktop or Krita and we should not be afraid to present us as one of the biggest open source software projects in existence.

Concerning the variety of contributors: I think a pretty cool way to improve the current situation would be to do "Contributor spotlights" similar to what Krita does by interviewing artists who use the software. Such posts could help to raise awareness that there are many people from around the globe which are a part of KDE and might encourage the creation of local meetup groups (like in e.g. Spain with KDE España).

paulb added a comment.Jun 23 2018, 4:16 PM

I just fixed a few grammatical issue (bear in mind that I am not a native speaker so it could easily still contain some errors), but apart from that I think this sounds very reasonable.

Thanks! It is more rough draft, so, yes it needs revisions.

KDE is much more than just the Plasma desktop or Krita and we should not be afraid to present us as one of the biggest open source software projects in existence.

Absolutely. This also gives us the strength to deal with the challenges we currently face.

Concerning the variety of contributors: I think a pretty cool way to improve the current situation would be to do "Contributor spotlights" similar to what Krita does by interviewing artists who use the software. Such posts could help to raise awareness that there are many people from around the globe which are a part of KDE and might encourage the creation of local meetup groups (like in e.g. Spain with KDE España).

As I see it, there will be several ways to solve each of the challenge. I think the solution you are proposing fits in with the grander picture of "increasing the userbase".

paulb added a comment.EditedJul 3 2018, 4:39 PM

Maybe we should add a subtask where we figure out how we are going to measure how much we have accomplished of each goal and set targets on a timeline so we can track our progress.

paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Jul 4 2018, 10:38 AM

Thanks Paul. The 'current situation' section is very interesting.

Most of the 'long term goals' seem more like short term goals. I think the goals should be separated into truly long term and visionary goals (such as 'become recognised as a provider of quality software' and 'taking over niches') vs 'short term' goals, and means of achieving goals (like 'more preinstalled devices', and 'increase x y z').

More generally, the goals should reflect the KDE mission statement more closely; marketing is a tool to help the organisation achieve it's mission, and the mission should provide a helpful reference for prioritisation of goals listed here.

Finally, none of the goals qualify as being 'Big Hairy and Audacious' (BHAG), but I think one would be helpful (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Hairy_Audacious_Goal). This is particularly the case given the shrinking community, and the particular necessity for excitement and motivation to increase the developer base.

Hope that's helpful.

paulb added a comment.EditedJul 4 2018, 1:13 PM

Most of the 'long term goals' seem more like short term goals. I think the goals should be separated into truly long term and visionary goals (such as 'become recognised as a provider of quality software' and 'taking over niches') vs 'short term' goals, and means of achieving goals (like 'more preinstalled devices', and 'increase x y z').

Right. Maybe, if we change the "increase x y z" to "increase x y z X fold", as in "increase number of active contributors 20 fold" this would become a longer term goal. Another longer term goal would be, say, "have major device manufacturers (HP, Asus, Dell, Acer, LG, Samsung...) ship devices with Plasma and KDE applications pre-installed", right? Because we are no where near of achieving either in the immediate future.

P.S.: @samtuke , _the_ Sam Tuke? PHPList Sam Tuke?

Maybe, if we change the "increase x y z" to "increase x y z X fold", as in "increase number of active contributors 20 fold" this would become a longer term goal

Yes quantifying the change would make the goals specific to a time frame, and measurable.

I still feel like one or two overarching long term goals which connect directly to the organisation's mission would help ground the other goals. It is from those kinds of goals that the various metrics derive their meaning. But perhaps that is out of scope for this document.

P.S.: @samtuke , _the_ Sam Tuke? PHPList Sam Tuke?

One and the same ☺️ Long time no see

Maybe I am just adding more questions but.

  1. Is software development rising or falling in general? Where are developers going if they aren't going to KDE? Things like github are nice, but they don't offer nearly the amount of resources that something like KDE does. I am not European, but open source is a very big thing right now in the USA and it dominates a lot of industries such as the internet.
  1. Does KDE have any type of "value proposition". A concrete list of the things we can offer developers that they might be struggling with. Why would a developer choose KDE over some other service or option for their project? This kind of goes back to question 1. What are all the developers doing instead? There certainly seems to be a lot of open source projects out there.
  1. If we get a lot of developers would we even be able to handle it? Say if we make some amazing news post that goes viral and we get 10,000 repositories and developers, do we have the people and system to be able to handle that?

I know a lot of companies now offer free services for open source projects....so that is definitely some competition we will have to think about. Companies like QT use Atlassian (https://www.atlassian.com/) for things like bug tracking. You just have to show you are an open source project and you get a lot of their services for free as a way for them to "give back".

Maybe I am just adding more questions but.

  1. Is software development rising or falling in general? Where are developers going if they aren't going to KDE? Things like github are nice, but they don't offer nearly the amount of resources that something like KDE does. I am not European, but open source is a very big thing right now in the USA and it dominates a lot of industries such as the internet.

I'd say that development in general is rising, the software industry is becoming a central part in the economy. Open source is still a big thing in Europe as well, but we do have many people who associate open source projects solely with writing software (which is obviously false).

  1. Does KDE have any type of "value proposition". A concrete list of the things we can offer developers that they might be struggling with. Why would a developer choose KDE over some other service or option for their project? This kind of goes back to question 1. What are all the developers doing instead? There certainly seems to be a lot of open source projects out there.

I agree that we should have such a list. @paulb, does something like this already exist?

  1. If we get a lot of developers would we even be able to handle it? Say if we make some amazing news post that goes viral and we get 10,000 repositories and developers, do we have the people and system to be able to handle that?

The main thing we are lacking in regards to new developers is IMO good documentation. I felt quite lost when I first started out as a bug triager and we need to make it as easy as possible to contribute. Regarding our systems: Phabricator and bugs.kde.org should both be able to handle a large amount of new developers (they were intended to do that), and we could probably keep our servers running even if they were a little slower.

I know a lot of companies now offer free services for open source projects....so that is definitely some competition we will have to think about. Companies like QT use Atlassian (https://www.atlassian.com/) for things like bug tracking. You just have to show you are an open source project and you get a lot of their services for free as a way for them to "give back".

That's true, and we should also take advantage of such services if this make sense for the whole project. If you do have any concrete suggestions, please file a new task for it!

paulb added a comment.Jul 4 2018, 7:23 PM

Maybe I am just adding more questions but.

  1. Is software development rising or falling in general?

For KDE or for all software projects in the whole world in general? If you asking about KDE, it looks like we have another task on our hands: polling commits from projects over several years. Is that information available? Can we look at, say, January 2013 and see how many commits where made to Plasma, Krita, Kdenlive, KMail, ...?

It would also be interesting to see whether the number of contributors is rising or falling. If the number of commits remains the same, but the number of committers has gone down, that is a problem.

Where are developers going if they aren't going to KDE? Things like github are nice, but they don't offer nearly the amount of resources that something like KDE does.

However it is easier to start a project on GitHub than with KDE. I am not saying this is a bad things - we have standards to maintain, but it is something we have to take into consideration. That said, that is what the streamlining of onboarding new contributors goal is all about.

I am not European, but open source is a very big thing right now in the USA and it dominates a lot of industries such as the internet.

Yes, but relatively few of those industries invest resources in KDE (KDE being our main concern).

  1. Does KDE have any type of "value proposition". A concrete list of the things we can offer developers that they might be struggling with. Why would a developer choose KDE over some other service or option for their project? This kind of goes back to question 1.

Again I have to refer you guys to T7116 and the T8711 subtask. I think they cover what you are asking (or should).

What are all the developers doing instead? There certainly seems to be a lot of open source projects out there.

  1. If we get a lot of developers would we even be able to handle it? Say if we make some amazing news post that goes viral and we get 10,000 repositories and developers, do we have the people and system to be able to handle that?

Well, that is extremely unlikely. Consumers wanting to buy a certain products may work like that, but developers don't. Besides, as we have learnt over the months since the goals were published, setting up a project within KDE is a pretty complex multi-step process, so you are not going to see 10,000 repos popping up in 24 hours, unless it is some sort of DDoS attack.

I know a lot of companies now offer free services for open source projects....so that is definitely some competition we will have to think about. Companies like QT use Atlassian (https://www.atlassian.com/) for things like bug tracking. You just have to show you are an open source project and you get a lot of their services for free as a way for them to "give back".

Incentives are a good idea. I am not sure what they could be, apart from being part of true blue FLOSS community with lofty and honest goals, but we should definitely think about this topic.

Al these are good points to consider. I would be good to think beyond only developers and extrapolate your thoughts to all potential contributors: developers, designers, translators, people who staff our booths at events, writers, documenters, videographers, etc.

paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Jul 6 2018, 9:52 AM
paulb added a comment.Jul 6 2018, 9:55 AM

Maybe, if we change the "increase x y z" to "increase x y z X fold", as in "increase number of active contributors 20 fold" this would become a longer term goal

Yes quantifying the change would make the goals specific to a time frame, and measurable.

I still feel like one or two overarching long term goals which connect directly to the organisation's mission would help ground the other goals. It is from those kinds of goals that the various metrics derive their meaning. But perhaps that is out of scope for this document.

Also, we have not defined what we mean by long.term: 5 years? 10? What do you all think?

P.S.: @samtuke , _the_ Sam Tuke? PHPList Sam Tuke?

One and the same ☺️ Long time no see

Yeah! Good to see you here.

paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Jul 6 2018, 10:03 AM
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paulb updated the task description. (Show Details)Sep 25 2018, 10:40 AM

Ideas for niches to take over:

  • Kdenlive should become the go-to free video editor for hobbyists and semi-professionals
  • KMail should establish itself as a valid free alternative to Outlook (and simliar) for small businesses and schools

We also want to become recognised as a provider of quality software.

I think this is hard to measure, but surely something we should strive for. Ways to quantify our efforts might be reading reddit comments, looking at reviews from YouTubers such as Linux Scoop or from bloggers (e.g. ocsmag.com often writes about new Plasma releases).

xyquadrat updated the task description. (Show Details)Sep 27 2018, 3:29 PM
paulb added a comment.Sep 27 2018, 8:24 PM

Ideas for niches to take over:

  • Kdenlive should become the go-to free video editor for hobbyists and semi-professionals
  • KMail should establish itself as a valid free alternative to Outlook (and simliar) for small businesses and schools

Yes. Good ones.

I think this is hard to measure, but surely something we should strive for.

Isn't there a way to objectively measure the quality of code? I recall reading about ways of counting bugs per lines of code or something.

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