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Re: Please translate press statement

Hi all,

I'm writing this not so lengthy answer as a further response of just
another more or less external Debian Edu / Skolelinux observer.  While I
just ansered Alexander in privat because I regarded his critics and
suggestions for enhancement as *very* well thought and really knowledged
about press releases I think I should express my opinion also publicly.

On Tue, Feb 09, 2010 at 07:03:28PM +0100, Knut Yrvin wrote:
> The reason is to get in some views regarding our target users based on 
> years of experience.

Question: Are your target users people who are just using Skolelinux or
those who have never heard about it but might be potentially interested?

> 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 
> promoters. 

IMHO this is perfectly orthogonal to what Alexander was trying to tell
you.  The criticism was targeting at a self centric view of a crowd of
Skolelinux insiders who assumed that some knowledge must be clear to a
random reader of the news - but it is not.  Alexander not speaking as
a Debian developer but as a person who is not involved into Skolelinux
and knows press related work.
> The press statement also speaks to our own developers and potential 
> contributors.

IMHO the things Alexander was cirticising were directed at own
developers in the first place and would miss potential contributors.
That's why he spended a lot of time in pointing on problematic
pieces of text.

> Your feedback is important Alexander, and most of your improvements went 
> in tonight and this morning.

That's great and I will not question the outcome.  I would like to
address the process of creating press releases.

> That said, I'm explaining my "user" angel in 
> depth, cause that's or main target. 

Knut, I'm sorry, you do not have a "user" angle on Skolelinux.  Even if
you don't regard yourself as a technical developer - you are a deeply
involved person which looks from the inner of Skolelinux.  I would call
you one of the several "good souls" of this cool project - and thus your
view on it is very biased (which is great in principle).

> 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[1]. Which also you 
> recomended: 

The three basic questions are answered, yes.  Alexander wasn't
questioning this.  They are just not answered in the right place
and this was Alexanders point.
> > Only this?  And are there other releases?  Why it is named a
> >  "community" (whatever that means) release, if there are no other
> >  releases?
> This survived from the last press statement launching Skolelinux 3.0. 

... and thus it was an old remaining Alexander as an outsider was
able to detect.  Good catch I would say.

> > > 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[2]. 
> 2. http://www.scholatutorials.org/faq.htm#1
> ...

I think Alexanders problem was not the term Skole or Linux.  It was
the relation between the terms

   Skolelinux - Debian - Debian Edu

which is not clear to outsiders.  Personally I would have loved to see
the term "Debian Pure Blend" in the press release but I'm a bit late to
raise this issue and it would have added one more term to explain.

> > 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!

The point Alexander was making here was: If LinEx provided such cool
stuff (and for me is no doubt about this), why not making this brain
dead clear for every reader?  I just assume Alexander is one of "us" and
thus has positive feelings about Debian Edu.  If even he does not get
the catch in the sentence something is not properly worded.  That's what
he was telling in his mail.  The message was not that Klaus or Jose did
a bad job.
> > 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. 

If I understood Alexander right you were probably adressing the first
group but did not very well in addressing the second.  The fact that
you are defending both points gives me a reason to respond.  IMHO,
Alexander has proven a very good feeling for external users.
> >  > [..] 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. 

No question about this from a person who just knows about Skolelinux.
Alexanders hint to just leave it out is really sane, because the
knowledged one knows the advantage you are pointing out.  For others
it might sound like a drawback - and I was assuming you wanted to
catch these others.
> 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. 

Positive examples are just examples, no proof, sorry.  Alexander is
right as well.  The statement is rather pure advertising.
>  http://wiki.skolelinux.no/Dokumentasjon/Rapporter
> >  > 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: 
> http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/current/issue/
> Quote: 
> 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.
> ...
> Source: 
> http://www.heise.de/open/artikel/Trendstudie-Open-Source-221696.html
Sounds like some kind of proof.  Adding this as a footnote might make
sense to separate it from other advertising statements.
> >  > 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: 
> http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/get/system-
> requirements.aspx
> http://www.apple.com/macosx/specs.html

But there are Linux bases proprietary alternatives with similar hardware
requirements.  You have to be more specific in strong statements.
> > 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. 

... which should be told in separate ways to not confuse the user.
> This story could obviously be improved. 

... which is what Alexander was telling you.
> >  > 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: 
> http://people.skolelinux.no/~knuty/2006-04-02-debconf6.pdf

So why not mentioning this source?
> >  > According to maintainers of 80.000 computers in Extramedura, Spain,
> >  > the annual personnel costs to run a workstation is less than 50
> >  Euro.
> > 
> > Please either name the maintainers or don't mention it.
> José L. Redrejo Rodríguez <jredrejo AT edu.juntaextremadura.net> 

Yupp, but mention it in the release note - and perhaps stress the role
of the Junta de Extremadura a bit more.
> 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 :)

Yes, this is the right conclusion.  And please care for friendly but
critical *outsiders*
IMHO Alexander has done a *really* good job.  And not to forget: All you
Skolelinux people have done a *really* good job as well!

Congratulations and Skol



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