The Image Manipulation Program Formerly Known As The GIMP
Fake News written by on Wednesday, October 15, 2003
MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK -- Evan Gelist didn't know what he was getting into. The founder of a prestigious marketing consulting firm, All The World's Not A Stage, But A Commercial, Inc., Gelist was commissioned by a consortium of Linux companies to promote Linux and to develop a sure-fire way to convince the millions of Pointy Haired Bosses worldwide that Open Source (not "Open Sores") is a good thing.
Not an easy task, by any means. "Let's face it," he said. "Geeks only care about substance, but the real world is driven by style and fluff, a commodity that Microsoft has in abundance but which is sorely lacking in Linux. This situation needs to change."
After several weeks of research, focus group meetings, and brainstorming sessions, Gelist's firm has produced the "Columbus Day Document", a manifesto which outlines a series of strategies for defeating Microsoft and proprietary software.
"Image is everything," he said while presenting his plan to a room full of bored reporters. "The geek community loves pointless names and acronyms. Pointy Haired Bosses also love pointless names and acronyms -- unfortunately, the names used by PHBs are totally different. The Linux community needs to adapt the same kind of vapid, feel-good, content-free naming scheme used by managers."
Gelist presented The GIMP as an example of a project in desperate need for a PHB-friendly image. "OK, so what the hell is a GIMP?" he asked. "What does it stand for? I've been told that the 'G' stands for GNU. So what the hell does that mean? GNU's Not Unix. Well, besides the obvious fact that GNU is indeed intertwined with Unix, nobody really gives a rodent's posterior about self-recursive acronyms. The first thing we need to do is find a new marketing campaign for GNU. Right now it's a GNUisance, but it could become a leverageable asset if we can find the right brand for it."
"GNOME? KDE? These mean nothing," he continued. "Mandrake? Red Hat? According to our focus groups, far too many people associate these names with Communism. Mozilla? The Internet is already a scary place as it is without a web browser named for a famous monster. Who actually invented these names and what where they smoking? Whatever it was, they should demand their money back..."
Mark Itting, the firm's Assistant Manager of Creative Brainstorming Endeavors, then suggested that The GIMP be renamed to 'Imaverapix'. "In focus group sessions, potential users were the most responsive to this suggested name. It doesn't mean anything in particular, but it projects a sense of 'truth'. This type of semantically-null yet perception-enhanced name has worked quite well for companies like Verizon Wireless, and it can work for Linux."
The Columbus Day Document, available from the firm's website, also suggests that Linux distributions make available a default window manager geared towards PHBs and novice users.
"The typical KDE and GNOME desktops have too many icons and pulldown-within-pulldown menus," Gelist wrote in the manifesto. "We need to make things so painfully obvious that even a clue-impaired MCSE can find stuff on the desktop -- for that matter, his 83-year-old grandmother with poor eyesight should be able to use the system, too. So, for example, instead of an 'Abiword' icon, we need a 'This Program Lets You Write Letters' icon in large letters. In place of 'Mozilla', we need 'Use This To Browse The Internet', and so on."
"With just a few cosmetic changes and some new names for projects, we can execute a marketing campaign that will finally grab mindshare from non-geeks," Gelist said. "Now, when do I get paid?"
It's not immediately clear whether the average open source hacker will go along with the suggestions.
One naysayer says nay: "Oh please, this guy is full of [expletive]. If a marketing major says, 'Jump off a cliff and you'll make millions', that doesn't mean you should do it... You can pry KDE from my cold, dead hard drive. I'm not using something called "Veriwindomatic XP" or ":eXcelzilon:9" or "Qualimanna!Valu*Pro" or something equally stupid."
"Marketing is not enough," one critic criticized. "Too many people believe that they can never get fired for choosing Microsoft. Until people actually start getting fired for choosing Microsoft, nothing will ever change..."