Marketing and Propaganda

Liviu Andronic landronimirc at
Wed Sep 26 12:40:56 CEST 2012

On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 11:16 AM, Genghis Khan <genghiskhan at> wrote:
> In respond to the last segment of the interview with Nick, I would like
> to open a discussion thread on the marketing/propaganda aspect of
> Xfce.
> Bill Toulas said:
>> One last thing. Xfce is one of the most anti-marketing and
>> unappealing names in the open source world. Xfce stands for Xforms
>> common environment, but you are no longer using Xforms so why don’t
>> you change it to something better?
> Nick Schermer said:
>> Don’t most desktops have unappealing acronyms? I only see problems
>> when “renaming” the software (commands will change, function names in
>> the code/API). We tend to not use “Xfce” in the strings users read so
>> they are not confronted with the name of the DE.
> I have fallen in love with Xfce ever since I have started to use it.
> I know avid Xfce users who abstained from or postponed to test(ing) Xfce
> solely because of the Xfce Logo which they have seen at websites like
> , ,
> while they were new GNU/Linux users of KDE or GNOME.
> I sincerely think that Xfce has a lake in marketing and I think this
> should be improved.
I was of a similar opinion a couple of years ago. But I think that
things have improved lately (though not necessarily as a result of
changes in Xfce).

First, Xfce has jumped from the hacker's DE (think 4.2 and even 4.4)
to a user's DE (think >= 4.6) that I can safely install on my mom's

Second, Xfce made great strides in marketing following the (botched)
releases of KDE4 and recently of Gnome 3. Time and again disaffected
users were suggested Xfce (and to some extent LXDE, which has the same
marketing issues and in terms of usability is more in a class with
Fluxbox et al.), and it seems that users have flocked to us. No number
of marketing changes (or even code improvements) coming from Xfce
would have had the same effect in terms of market share.

So I think that Xfce doesn't really need to do much now (other than
keeping to squash bugs and further refine the desktop experience).
Currently it holds a much better recognized brand name (at least in
the Linux circles) and holds a firm position of a "traditional" DE
(who would have thought that one Gnome release would change Xfce from
the "third, Linux way" to the "traditional" desktop status?) that is a
viable alternative to KDE4/Gnome3. A name change would make Xfce lose
the recognition it currently has, and a logo change wouldn't
necessarily improve things. (As far as I go Xfce's mouse is symbolic
of Xfce's speed and flexibility. And I find it cute, really.) And as a
bonus, the current website is really nice compared to previous
incarnations, although the 'goodies' part needs some love.

My 00.02€

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