In case you've missed it, the 'K Desktop Environment' (which at one graciously brief moment of time was the 'Kool Desktop Environment') is now just 'KDE'. You can read more about how the KDE brand is being repositioned on TheDot, where the overall idea is explained with some detail.
To boil it down to bullet points:
- KDE is us, the people and the organization we form which produces these wonderful artifacts which are shared with all humanity. This highlights the community behind the success quite clearly and elevates 'KDE' to be a shared umbrella, owned equally by all involved.
- 'KDE' no longer refers to one specific piece of software as we have too many projects covering too many topics for that to work without huge confusion. "KDE releases KDE KDE version 4.4" was the old joke in the KDE promo team. Instead, each product or product grouping gets its own brand that stands next to the KDE umbrella brand.
- In one of the more important changes that occurs as a result, the "KDE desktop" is now the "Plasma Desktop" which is accompanied by the "Plasma Netbook" (and eventually "Plasma Mobile", something new-ish people are working on). It's still KDE's Plasma Desktop, and it contains not just the plasma-desktop binary but all the bits and pieces that make up the workspace. KWin, KSysGuard, KRunner, etc. are all part of the workspaces; you can find most of the components in the kdebase-workspace module. Why? Well ...
- This liberates our development libraries from the KDE workspaces. One can use Solid without requiring other pieces of software we create, or forcing your users to use a KDE workspace. That was not clear to many people in the past. Hopefully it will become clear as we take this new communication strategy on.
- This also liberates the individual applications from the KDE workspaces. It can now be clearer than ever that, yes, Amarok does run in XFCE very nicely and that, yes, Digikam does run on Windows. They are KDE software, but 'KDE software' is no longer synonymous with 'desktop'.
- Our epochal releases, such as the upcoming 4.3.4 and 4.4.0 releases, which contain our 'basic packages' providing an application platform, workspaces and many applications, are referred to as the 'KDE Software Compilation'. So it will be KDE SC 4.4.0, for instance. This is not however a brand. It is a common noun that we can use to talk about the epochal releases. It will not be marketed but it will allow us to talk to each other about our release engineering without perpetuating the confusion that "KDE is that exact bunch of stuff over there, meaning that other KDE software requires all the parts of that KDE thing".
It's not really a huge shift. We've kept the names that exist while moving some of them around a bit to make things that are clear to us internally clearer to those on the outside looking in. In fact, you can see some of these ideas already evident in official public communication over the last year or two. We've been actively discussing, designing and working towards implementation of these concepts since a little before the 4.0 release and so some of the ideas were put into practice sooner rather than later. Now is the time to draw up in a solid line, though, and implement it fully.
This is where we all come in as individuals. There is work to be done, from the About KDE dialog (which is already done, actually) to reworking our business cards to reshaping the language and layout of our websites. The work is being coordinated on the email@example.com mailing list.
Just as important as that work is how we each carry the message of 'KDE' out into the public. We are each ambassadors of our community and that community's efforts to the world beyond. That world might be our friends and family, it may be our school or place of employment, it maybe a local technology enthusiast group, it may be the press. Wherever we go, we need to each try and communicate as clearly as we can what KDE is and avoid communicating what KDE isn't.
It will take quite a while before the message is fully realized and everyone takes for granted that 'KDE' is that awesome bunch of people who create that kick-ass software that's used all over the place. It will take consistent application of the brand names and, most importantly, the ideas behind them, over a period of time. This is the most important way each of us can help make the re-branding a success.
Which of course begs the question: what would success be? What exactly is the point? The goal is to help people understand what we're doing with enough clarity that they will be able to appreciate it as much as we do. As one person on TheDot commented, "I've always experienced KDE as a community"; that's very true for my own experience as well, and I'm sure for many of you it's been the same. It's time the whole world understood that idea, that feeling, that experience.
Maybe then they'll take another look at that one bit of KDE software that they were always interested in but stayed away from because they didn't want to get locked into using the "whole KDE catalog". Maybe they'll even discover new things to love that they didn't know we did, together, as KDE.