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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Documentation

From: Jason Clifford
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Documentation
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 09:50:24 +0000 (GMT)

On Fri, 20 Dec 2002, Marc Eberhard wrote:

> 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

I think it would be worthwhile deciding on who you are writing the 
promotional material for.

Obviously a different message will be appopriate to commercial users than 
to home users. While Freedom has to be the message it will mean different 
things to different readers and I am not refering to "free as in beer".

To a commercial user the core message has to be freedom from vendor lock 
in and abusive monopolies (and not just the obvious one).

To a home user that freedom is more likely to be about the freedom to use 
their computer as they wish, including the freedom to watch DVDs and 
listen to CDs,MP3s,OGGs etc without having to report back to an abusive 
corporate on what they are doing. 

The freedom to implement software as "good engineering" will be core to 
programmers (and thus corporates).

There is a lot more too, which you all know, however in order to write an 
effective ad or series of ads it will be necessary to clearly define all 
of the messages you want to communicate.

It is unlikely that all of these can be properly put forward in a single 
ad so I'd go with the idea of having a number of themed ads which can be 
used for the different publications and/or as a series.

> 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... :-)

That seems reasonable however that doesn't preclude offering articles 
emphasising the Free Software message as well. I'm sure that if they are 
offered well written articles that effectively put across the Free 
Software message the various mags will be happy to use them as well as the 

While "infomertials" may piss off lots of people it is worth remembering 
that a lot of others do like having more information immediately on offer 
from the one source.

> Just to give you a quick example (not well thought through, don't shoot me
> for it!):
> <ad>
>   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
>   </small-font></page-bottom>
> </ad>
> OK, OK, I agree this isn't perfect, but you get the idea...

Actually seems quite good to me. It succinctly communicates one of the 
core campaign messages. Something making it clear that the action is 
lending rather than purchase may well.

You could do the same sort of thing for imported DVDs.

Jason Clifford
UKFSN.ORG               Finance Free Software while you surf the 'net
http://www.ukfsn.org/                   Sign Up Now

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