Why OpenSource Needs Professional Marketing
Speaker: Valerie Hoh
Where is OpenSource-Software today, and where do we want to see it by the end of this decade? Most of us would probably like to see it in the big headlines, see it being used by big companies, by big cities' administrations and by country governments. We would it to be recognized by everyone and make sure that those who are concerned - computer users of this world - at least have an idea, what FOSS is, what free operating systems and free desktops are, and what advantages that kind of software can give them. We want everybody to see what good FOSS can do for them.
So far, not very many "normal" people know what we are dealing with. In their minds, FOSS is something used mostly by computer experts - by people who know what they are doing. Those experts scatter their knowledge, but usually, they reach only a small audience. And, very often, for them, it is hard to communicate their enthusiasm in a way that non-tech people understand what they are talking about. This leads to people shying away from this - in their opinion - geek topic "FOSS".
And this is where marketing comes in. Marketing needs to set a basis for tech people to communicate with non-tech people. It collects information, packages it in a way that makes it understandable for everyday users. It has an eye on the market - on those people who may be interested to use FOSS professionally - and makes sure that the right information in the right phrasing reaches the right audience at the right time. It sets a platform where those involved in the projects can communicate with those interested in their work. With the users and those who make the decisions to use FOSS for the "big business" being convinced by its qualities, it will thrive and prosper and get the recognition we all want it to have.
I have recently graduated in media engineering from the university of applied sciences in Stuttgart, Germany, with a thesis on OpenSource alternatives in media production. I am user and advocate of FOSS. I got in touch with KDE and the Open Source community when helping to set up aKademy 2004 in Stuttgart. My main goal at the moment is setting up a marketing structure that gives FOSS the significance it deserves.