Re: Please translate press statement
I'm writing this lengthy answer, even if Holger already sent out the
release announcement. Than you Holger!
The reason is to get in some views regarding our target users based on
years of experience. Where something for a Debian developer might seem
trivial or not noteworthy for a press release, it might be the feature or
a the "small" news item really important for Skolelinux users and
The press statement also speaks to our own developers and potential
contributors. It's the reason Holger called me late at night yesterday, to
get the right angle on things. He and others want to stand behind the
whole press statement, which was fixed at last.
Your feedback is important Alexander, and most of your improvements went
in tonight and this morning. That said, I'm explaining my "user" angel in
depth, cause that's or main target.
On Tirsdag 9. februar 2010, Alexander Reichle-Schmehl wrote:
> What is Skolelinux?
This is explained in the "About Skolelinux" section.
> For what is it ready?
This is listed in the "What's new in Skolelinux" section.
> Why is it important?
That was mentioned in the article I wrote. Caused by the feedback Holger
gave yesterday, I removed it to it's own article. Which also you
> all, I would rather try to get a kind of "trigger" for a sepperate
> announcement, e.g. someone important telling how cool Skolelinux
> is, and how it is suitable even for enterprise solutions.
> > This is a community release
> Only this? And are there other releases? Why it is named a
> "community" (whatever that means) release, if there are no other
This survived from the last press statement launching Skolelinux 3.0.
Around 2006-2007 most major GNU/Linux-distributions was introducing or
promoting a community version of their system: aka Fedora, openSUSE,
Ubuntu. The "enterprise" solution was labelled RedHat, Novell and Ubuntu
LTS. To commend the community effort making Skolelinux, emphasising the
voluntary contributions, using "community" seems to be right. I think that
emphasizing the success of the Debian community and other free software
projects are a political right thing to do.
> > Skolelinux is Debian for education, produced by the Debian Edu team.
> Again I'm unsure what that sentence should tell me beside confusing
> those not familiar with the terms.
You right. Unfortunately we might live with this situations, since skole
is rooted in the latin word schola. The not precise translation is: A flock
of persons willing to learn.
In Europe, Latin influence is still strong in German, French, Italian,
Spanish and other languages. In English we see a special case when using
the term Education. This makes most people in Europe understand Skolelinux
instantly. The Germans make fun of the logo, because 'e' could be
overlooked. Then they say "skol linux", which is quite fun.
Secondly the use of Linux is also wrong according to Richard Stallman,
which wrote so to me 7-8 years ago. We should get GNU/Linux in there. We
had a vote on keeping Skolelinux as a name, relabelling the organisation
making Skolelinux to Free Software In Schools.
Debian for Schools or School Debian would be more in line of what
Skoleliux is technically and community wise. But we are not there.
> > Several other projects have contributed additional functionality to
> > Skolelinux, to tailor it for both local and international needs.
> Again I'm not sure what this sentence shall tell me or why it is in the
> first paragraph; the first paragraph is the most important paragraph of
> the entire press announcement! It must motivate people to continue
> reading it and (even more important) it must explain a journalist why
> it is worth to be covered by an article.
This content did not survive the editing :) Big chunks was put in a
separate article. Secondly there are developed local Skolelinux
"additions" tailored for local needs. E.g the user and system management
system made by French and German developers. LixEx are doing several
adjustments on the desktop, providing several desktop types for different
age groups etc.
> Citing a comment reintroducing that chapter:
> > Highligthing new features is mandatory for tech press, as this
> > example with Qt shows:
> > http://doc.qt.nokia.com/4.6-snapshot/qt4-6-intro.html
> Highlighting is okay, but in a proper form and preferably not in a
> repeated way. If you repeat too much, you might make journalists think
> the announcement isn't worth to be mentioned as they haven't had enough
For what it's worth, my comment was rooted in the fact that the press
statement introduction and the "About Skolelinux" section was locking more
the same, with no real news value. The "What's new" was cut out when I was
looking at it. The real news value about a new version of Skolelinux is
the new/improved features. That's the meat and bones of the release.
What's new is the first journalists asks :)
> The example at the URL does it in a good way: It uses the bullet points
> similar to a table of contents allowing journalist to jump to the
> points they are most interested in. As long as you don't write for
> each of the points you would like to see mentioned as a starter I
> highly discourage you from using such a style in this announcement.
New features (What's new) is candy for journalists writing about new
versions of a software product. You don't make it less obvious to get. You
emphasise what's new, making it a part of the core announcement. In
addition you put more meat on details that are important, as this press
> > '''What's new in the default installation:'''
> So we actually haven't explained yet, what this is all about, but start
> to explain, what is new. As for (very short) bullet points, see my
> last mail.
Making a short synopsis of the best new/upgraded features with some
quotes, are really good to put first.
Anyway. My generic concern was that "What's new" was removed totally, and
then the press statement did not fly. Shortening the bullets might work
too. I got no problem with that. But some times journalists do that for
us, as this article shows from hardware.no (unfortunately in Norwegian,
but most people get the drift):
> If the LinEx stuff was that cool, why don't you mention them? If there
> wasn't anything cool merged from them, why mention them at all?
Jose from LinEx made the desktop icons. You write that this is a trivial
thing, not worth mentioning. For teachers, headmaster and computer
maintainers at schools this is a huge selling point.
I've seen this first hand, having a "blank" desktop and having a desktop
with icons to important educational software. Klaus Ade showed me the
effect 5-6 years ago. It's literally day an night between having those
"trivial" links, or not having them. We constantly added those manually
before showing Skolelinux. Now we can really win more cases! Thank you
Klaus. Thank you Jose!
> Sorry, but that sounds like "We added some Icons on the desktop" and
> that sounds so trivially, that I really don't think it should be
I've already answered this.
> > * The documentation [..] Please consider helping translating to your
> > native language or reviewing the english original!
> I really don't think such a sentence should be in a release
> announcement. Announcing that one needs help is okay, but not in a
> release announcement, which should say "It's ready, it's super, it has
> all these cool features!"
Skolelinux announcements is as important "internally" for Skolelinux
developers as external for users.
Where some might consider using the system. We got journalists asking why
a page is not translated, or some of the documentation. Being absolutely
correct on this, benefits the community aspects, also motivating more
people to participate. Having a to clear cut, we got now flaws statement,
may lead to overselling Skolelinux giving disappointed users. Or the
journalist get suspicious, and start digging for truth. When they discover
things half translated, they start pointing that out. Better to be honest
> > * Added !PulseAudio in addition to ALSA and OSS sound system for
> > better audio and multimedia performance on workstations and diskless
> > workstations machines.
> Here I wonder if it is of such a great interest, but I don't have a
> strong opintion about it.
Lack of multimedia support, plug-in support and USB is always been use as
arguments against using Skolelinux in schools. Especially by teachers and
computer maintainers at municipalities. The first years USB support was not
"out of the box" ready in LTSP.
I got several lengthy e-mails form many teachers who used that as the only
argument they needed on stopping Skolelinux. A couple of years ago schools
in Nittedal was considering switching to Windows, cause of miss
understadings regarding multimedia support (they got tons of PC's with
160-300 MHz processors, not suited for multimedia at all).
Pointing out that multimedia support is improved, is a huge issue for
Skolelinux adoption. What seems to be trivial as neat links to some
educational applications on the desktop and improved multimedia support,
is two issues which are perceived as Skolelinux no go, for many
municipalities. This is things we might sort out manually when deploying
Skolelinux. But many persons makes decisions on perception, stating that
Skolelinux should work out of the box, where everything just works. This,
even if it takes no more than 30 min to fix what they ask for in
What's really annoying, is that many computer maintainers disregards that
it takes 2-3 weeks to set up a RedHat distro or a Windows based system
with only a fraction of the services and applications in Skolelinux, and
they also need to adjust drivers etc. (which people deliberately forget
when bashing Skolelinux and disregarding facts).
> And suddenly there is this Paragraph about where Skolelinux is used.
> Nothing against that, but it should better be merged with the "About
> Skolelinux" section bellow.
I think this is newsworthy, and should be put in front. "Demoting" such
news to the back of the "About Skolelinux", gives journalist less to write
> > '''Enterprise solution'''
> I would wonder, what that section is telling me in a release
> announcement? Supplying background information and motiviation? Then
> I think it would be better later in the announcement. But all in
> all, I would rather try to get a kind of "trigger" for a sepperate
> announcement, e.g. someone important telling how cool Skolelinux is,
> and how it is suitable even for enterprise solutions.
> > [..] bleeding edge software is not an option.
> When announcing something new, I really would avoid mentioning that it
> is not "bleeding edge".
It's logic in your argument. It's unlogic looking on the feedback we got
from schools running Fedora or Edubuntu on their desktops. 5-6 years ago
Skolelinux was pretty outdated. Municipalities then installed Fedora,
using Skolelinux as a server. After Skolelinux 3.0 was ready, they
switched on day one. The reason. They had to restart 15 Fedora servers
every night. With Skolelinux, they could just run-run-run. It was rock
stable from thy started using it. No need for nightly restart, with the
danger of some server don't restarting properly on some school 5 km away.
Skolelinux is based on rock solid Debian. We should work getting this
message even better based on the feedback we already got.
> > Debian is the most comprehensive and rigorously tested GNU/Linux
> > distribution on the market.
> While I think it is true, it is here just an unproven fact.
It's a proven fact reported by several computer maintainers at several
Norwegian municipalities with experience running different Linux-
distributions in production.
> > It is the most popular server system in German businesses [..]
> This I doubt; it's another unproven fact / fact without citation.
This was announced in on the Debian service:
The German open source portal Heise Open conducted a survey on the use of
open source software in German businesses. 1,312 companies participated:
30% were from companies with less than ten employees, 51% were small and
medium-sized business and 19% had more than 500 employees.
Debian was ranked as the leading server distribution used by 47% of all
companies and as the second most used distribution on the desktop with
29.9% (for companies with more than 500 employees the adoption rate was
higher, at about 37%). The full survey (German language only) can be found
> > The newest Skolelinux has lower hardware requirements than
> proprietary > alternatives.
> Uhm... So someone really compared all the proprietary alternatives
> available? Ye another unproven fact / fact without citation.
Please consult system requirement at Microsoft and Apple:
Please consult the article where Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at PC World
tests out the system performance on Windows 7:
> That paragraph with the repeating "twice" is rather confusing: First
> I'm told, that I might be able to have twice as many computers, as I
> don't need to buy new ones so often. Then it states that it mentions
> zero licensing costs and again twice?
It's actually two stories.
You can either use your hardware 5-8 more years cause by the fact that
Skolelinux runs nice on 256 MB memory. Skolelinux still support that.
If you're upgrading to Windows Vista or 7, 1 GB memory is recomended. Our
computer support says 2 GB is a minimum. They recomend 4 GB. Try Vista or
Windows 7 on a machine with 800 MHz CPU and 256 MB, and you will hit the
performance wall. This means a total hardware upgrade if your schools got
500 machines with 800MHz CPU and 256 MB RAM.
The second story is that schools got almost twice the number of pc's if
buying new computers. This because schools can by machines with 512 MB RAM
for less than ~240 Euro, not 490 Euro which is the price for new Windows
PC's suited for enterprise configuration and use.
I've been running Sidux in test for a while, and that also runs nice on
256 MB memory. Sidux is KDE 4 running on Debian testing. Meaning that a
new upgrade of Skolelinux if KDE 4 is in, will requires as little memory
as KDE 3.5.
This story could obviously be improved.
> > Due to its stability, enterprise features and diskless workstation
> > option, Skolelinux cuts the operating costs in half compared to any
> > other desktop alternative in schools.
> Again I ask for a quite, a source, a citations anything but just
> mention unproven facts.
It's market prices in Norway and experiences from 5 city councils and
municipalities in Norway. I wrote a +10 page article on that to Debconf 6:
> > According to maintainers of 80.000 computers in Extramedura, Spain,
> > the annual personnel costs to run a workstation is less than 50
> Please either name the maintainers or don't mention it.
José L. Redrejo Rodríguez <jredrejo AT edu.juntaextremadura.net>
> > '''Going forward'''
> Okay, one could argue if it is that useful to have such a paragraph in
> an press text, announcing something new, at all, but let's see.
> > * The next milestone is a pointrelease, 5.0.4+edu1, around mid-March
> > 2010, with updates to the documentation and its translations as well
> > as some important bugfixes.
> Pleas? You want to write in a press text, that you release something
> buggy? So why should anyone reading this try it now instead of wait
> for the "real" release in March?
I can see that this might be read wrongly, but schools and municipalities
don't change computer system in the middle of a semester. They usually
wait to the summer or winter vacation. I'm trying to prevent a "it didn't
work race", even if many schools already runs a Lenny based Skolelinux
instalation. I'm trying to prevent that a launch statement backfires,
overselling Skolelinux. That happened with the KDE 4 launch. They were so
eager to get 4.0 out, that they under communicated where they were in the
Giving a road map ahead, gives two messages. We will not leave you out in
the cold. We are commited to take your feedback seriously. Second, it
gives plans going forward, rallying for support.
I this is not clear, then we need to rewrite my/our story :)
> > * The next further milestone of Skolelinux development includes the
> > introduction of major new features
> Which are?
I think they are added. Please confirm.
> > and aims at release simultaneously with Debian Squeeze, which is
> > currently scheduled for the second half of 2010.
> Oh, so one could probably even skip the march release and wait for the
> complete new thing...
> > The Squeeze-based release (6.0.0+edu0) will include the Sugar
> > desktop, [..]
> I guess not all readers know what the "Sugar desktop" is.
> Sorry, as we are getting near the 14:00 CET appointment, I skip the
> rest (which is mostly Okay, beside repeating stuff already
It's totally OK. Good feedback. Important to include your angle on this.
Next time we should start press work 3-4 month ahead instead of 3 weeks :)
I'll communicate a bit better with release manager Holger next time :)
Skolelinux, relation manager
cell: + 47 934 79 561, phone: +47 21 60 27 58