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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Documentation

From: Marc Eberhard
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Documentation
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 08:51:02 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Thu, Dec 19, 2002 at 10:28:09AM +0000, Nick Veitch wrote:
> a) sketch out a rough idea(s) and decide on the content

See below...

> b) work out what formats it will be required for (page dimensions, half
> pages too maybe?)

That's a good point. So far we have been offered full pages, but I agree,
that half pages would be useful too.

> I'm sure I could prevail on someone here to do the final layout if you
> want to come up with the basic idea and materials.

Thanks, that sounds very encouraging!

> I guess the real question is, what function do you want the ad to
> perform? Is it to simply promote awareness of the AFFS, promote some of
> the individual campaigns, encourage more membership, etc?
> Doing all of these at once might be possible, but with so many messages,
> the ad would be a bit conflicting.

I fully agree. Although getting more members is of course a desirable goal,
I would not make this a main target of our ads. I would hope, that by
becoming better known for our aims, we automatically also raise interest in
people to join as a side effect. So, I would propose to focus on our main
message: Free Software is better software! Use it and help it!

I don't know, whether we should adopt one slogan and promote that on all ads
or if we should have a collection and vary them. You probably find better
words then I do (and I know, that we have zome folkz from the old Oxford
zchool of writing lurking around on thiz lizt!):

- Freedom for software!
- Free your computer!
- etc

> That's the best idea. They don't have to take too long, just sketch
> something out, and generate as many ideas as possible.
> I may even come up with some myself...

... yes, please! Everyone on this list please come up with ideas!

On Thu, Dec 19, 2002 at 08:37:55PM +0000, Rogue M. Vox wrote:
> Out of the options suggested over the last few days, PDF is probably the
> most advisable of all if you want any of the 'art monkey' to take the fsfe
> seriously and give your ad an extra edge (pun intended). Contrary to

OK, that sounds very reasonable and should be possible to do with Free
Software too.

> common belief (and it's probably best for the myth to remain so) PDF IS
> indeed editable, barring some considerations (which applies to all other
> formats anyway)... any bitmap format should be avoided especially if the
> goal is to amend layout on the fly.

Yup. I guess metapost/pdflatex would do a pretty perfect job here to produce
the raw PDF form.

> I certainly volunteer for that part of the job.

Thanks, any help is always very welcome!

> space restriction is the key factor in my experience, not mentioning that
> an ad that looks like an article will unlikely achieve its goal of being
> visually punchy and instantaneously understandable.

Oh no, please no ad disguised as an article. I hate these! Even if you don't
spot them from the layout, you realise it after reading the first two
sentences. I think, there should be less than say 25 words on the page in
total. It's probably more effective to come up with some funny and simple to
recongise idea instead of a heavy text part. We should - of course - always
include our web pages, so that interested readers can get more detailed
information easily. So the ad should only bring the basic message across,
that we promote the development, adaption, legal status etc of Free
Software. I would suggest, that the ads should only create awareness and
interest. The full GNU manifesto follows later... :-)

Just to give you a quick example (not well thought through, don't shoot me
for it!):

  Legal or illegal?

  [ Picture, either real photo or comic style, of two people, one
    passing a CD-ROM over to the other one ]

  Free Software allows you to share!

  <page-bottom><small font>
     AFFS - Association For Free Software - http://www.affs.org.uk

OK, OK, I agree this isn't perfect, but you get the idea...

> definitely the way, png or (the infamous) jpeg should be accessible enough
> for all to comment on before committing to flexible renditions. I would
> recommend a separate plain text file alongside the bitmap, or perhaps a
> centrally accessible version with the infos (html?) to mimic a cvs - just
> a couple of thoughts.

Let's keep it simple. Anyone with an idea, just stuff it somewhere on the
web and simply post the URL to this list. I think, that will do fine.


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