Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Kreate logo is done!

It's been several months now that we have been brainstorming about the logo and caption. We all were thinking on lines of both creativity and value offerings. Gautam was continuously thinking on lines of how to communicate imagination and implementation parts simultaneously, the left and right of the brain. Many tag-lines popped up, but always there was something missing.

Finally, me and joy took up these two words from Gautam and simply put a dot between them. It sounded so crisp! 'Imagination.Implementation'!

Meanwhile, many of us were trying to come up with the design ideas. For me, playing with various shapes of 'K' and using whatever minuscule knowledge of calligraphy/typography I had, became my regular pass-time to keep myself awake in gaseous classrooms. In later stages, I got stuck on the idea of creating a character out of K that can personify the values we worked on so long. Finally emerged the k-man that is so carefree, cheerful, and aesthetic.

Joy took this design for digitization to Suvarna studio. My color vision not being so good, I left the coloring part to Joy's discretion with minimal theoretical inputs. All three of us were too amused by the head of the k-man. Some called it a cute leaf, some called it a droplet or dewdrop, whatever they could see out of it. It somehow became the logo of the logo and we wanted to put it everywhere we could! For me it was the source of creativity, nurturing and vision. I leave rest of the details of interpretation, including colors, shapes and caption to the viewers.

In final touch, the dot in the tag got replaced by this droplet, and following is what the logo of Kreate Media is now:



We decided to keep it transparent, and played with back-ground to get the nice looks..







Thanks to the entire team of Kreate for all the efforts right from conceptualization and brainstorming to the final implementation. Cheers!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Are products more important than philosophies?

[Continuing from previous post]..

Open source and free software community has been growing and preaching its philosophy for over decades. This preaching has also been supported by solid product lines that are freely available, better in performance and are more addictive than any other proprietary software around. Yet the ground realities of the software world are still largely favorable for proprietary model. Comparing market shares, or user base would be futile since open source hardly follows any market mechanism. It is very difficult to keep track of number of open source users. Hence the only method to understand the popularity and usage patterns is to call hundreds of common software users and ask them what software do they have on their home computers.

I have been a part of a marketing campaign and fortunate enough to be present in the actual execution at various places, which gave an opportunity of understanding thousands of common computer users. With no exception, all of the people involved had some version of windows installed on their machines. That is not to say that there isn't anyone who uses anything other than windows. In fact, I myself have not used windows in past 6 years and am very well aware of the circles where Linux-based systems are used as a principle and Mac OS is of course there among niche markets. But for a common man, a personal computer means windows, he doesn't care what operating system means, he only knows there is something called windows on his machine and there is some version of it which is latest. Coming back to open source in general, there are indeed a few open source softwares that have made successful penetration. The most important software on a home computer in today's world, when a computer is almost useless without internet, is the web browser. And the only open source software that people mentioned widely was, Mozilla Firefox. The major reason for its success was that it was freely downloadable, worked on windows, and performed better than the default browser IE. Many people in fact defended Firefox against IE on performance and features front. But I cannot imagine these people saying that they used it because its offering them some kind of a freedom. I have to admit that it was very unlikely that they knew that it falls under something called 'open source', same is the story with vlc, dc etc. They use it, because it works for them.

These observations may have a few variations depending upon various demographics and geographies, but overall I don't think it would be very objectionable if I try to generalize them.

Thus we see that, on one hand, few important products such as linux-based open source operating systems (fedora, ubuntu, debian etc.) are being successful on philosophical terms, they aren't yet successful as products themselves in terms of usage by common people, while there are products like firefox, that are successful in terms of common usage but not contributing much for the philosophical front.

I won't say one success is more important than other, but probably there is something to be learned from both of these cases. Every open source enthusiast would like to see success on both the fronts. The question is how to market the philosophy and the products simultaneously?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Would you look through a window or go out and play in open?

Freedom of knowledge has always been worshiped across philosophies and religions all over the world. It has been applicable to the most fields of science and technology. This freedom has helped the growth of science, technology, and benefited the human world in every aspect. When Jonas Salk invented polio vaccine, he said "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" He did not try to hide its formula. When you buy a car, nobody stops you from opening its bonnet, fix a few problems, do a few modifications. That, is the freedom of knowledge, applied throughout the branches of science. But when it comes to software, abruptly, everyone starts hiding the source code, the formula behind it. You would be even denied from making similar kind of products, by means of patents. Some of the readers might have already guessed where I am taking this topic to.
[Those who know enough about foss, may skip the following paragraph.]

When you buy a software, it is most likely that you would be denied of few of the following freedoms:
1. You are not provided with the source code (consider it as the formula behind the software, that is necessary for making, modifying and improving that software, readable by most software programmers), neither you are allowed to ask for it, not even trying to re-engineer it.
2. You are not supposed to lend the software to anyone else.
3. Since you do not have the source code, you do not have the freedom to make any changes or improvements to that software, even if you are Bill Gates.
4. Leave alone making improvements and showing them to you friends, or start a garage for servicing these softwares.
Entire software industry has been very obsessive with protecting the secrecy of source codes and denial of these freedoms. It may sound trivial, but this denial of freedoms has sever implications for entire generation. After all software is also a piece of knowledge, like any mathematical or medical formula. Hence there has been a movement against such unethical practices, which we commonly know as Free and Open Source Software movement that strives for the realization of these freedoms, since 1984. For better understanding of rest of the articles, this was a very short introductory background of what open source and free software is all about. For more details refer to websites like gnu.org, opensource.org, fsf.org etc.

In spite of all these good things, during past 26 years of the movement, proprietary softwares have ruled the markets. Except for a few commercial successes, we do not see a general penetration of open source software among common users. Few softwares like Firefox and VLC, may have succeeded, but that hardly contributes to the awareness about the philosophical movement behind it. Why people are so ignorant about their dependence on few companies for the growth of the science behind computers? What is so wrong with accepting a product that ensures all the ethical and essential freedom, for almost no cost? Why this philosophy is yet to find a place in common mans living room?

A major problem here is that, common users do not understand what source code means and why is it so important. This restricts their understanding of the term 'open source' or 'free/freedom/libre' software, and leads to a notion of softwares that are free of cost. They also mistakenly relate it to early periods of computer science evolution when software used to be bundled with hardware without extra explicit charges.

In next few days, I am planning to do an unbiased analysis of the problems associated with open source and whether it has any scope for large, sustainable and inclusive success from the perspectives of business model, development model, marketing and most importantly the users' (consumer) behavior. Please excuse me if I am not able to express the humbleness of this attempt in words. Ideas, suggestions and feedbacks are always welcome!

[P.S. For simplicity and also as a personal preference I am using the terms 'free' and 'open source' interchangeably.]
[P.S. Thanks to RMS for giving us the analogy of car.]