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New Contest Will Seek the Best "I'm Linux" Video 460

LinuxScribe writes "From Apple's ubiquitous 'I'm a Mac,' to Jerry Seinfeld, to Microsoft's 'I'm a PC' retort, operating system commercials have been flooding the airways. Except that Linux is the one OS that has been notably absent. Now the Linux Foundation is launching a video contest on their new video site to fill this void. The winner gets a trip to Tokyo next year to participate in the Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium, and some serious geek cred." The contest doesn't officially open until late January; the blog post has an email address to contact if you want to get a head start.
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New Contest Will Seek the Best "I'm Linux" Video

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  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @01:42AM (#26189143)

    I vote for Rodney McKay

  • by Anthony_Cargile ( 1336739 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @01:43AM (#26189157) Homepage
    Novell has already done this in several viral videos, just do a youtube search. The Linux foundation no doubt has less funding than Novell, so they should partner up on this and get a commercial out together, since Novell not only has experience/material on this, but a viable pitch as well what with the woman being Linux and more creative/better than the PC/Mac representatives.

    And honestly, why are they still beating this whole "I'm a $PLATFORM" bit death rather than creating a new pitch, as Apple will undoubtably do once everyone has parodied their commercial to death.
    • by plantman-the-womb-st ( 776722 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @04:38AM (#26189861)
      I know this meme with the I'm a *insert* has gotten out of hand, but this whole concept reminds me of the fact that no one ever seems to remember that linux isn't an OS. Red Hat is, Debian is, Ubuntu is... nevertheless my idea was this:

      (wannabe hipster walks up): I'm a Mac.

      (up steps the old middle management guy): I'm a PC.

      (scene FILLS with people, 200-300, all dressed in various profession/regional/ethnic attire): *in unison* We, are Ubuntu.

      Novel may have info, but people don't pay attention to info. Get their attention with the bagel, then hit them with the book, it's the only way to keep them from eating the pages.
      • I actually quite like that Idea.

      • That's quite an awesome idea actually...
      • by ianare ( 1132971 )
        You have my vote.
      • by gzipped_tar ( 1151931 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @09:53AM (#26190893) Journal

        Brian: You are individuals!

        The mass: (in unison) Yes! we are individuals!

        Brain: You are all different!

        The mass: (in unison) Yes! We are different!

        Man in the mass: I'm not.

        Men around him: Shhhhh!

        Sorry. Can't help.

      • by GaryOlson ( 737642 ) <[slashdot] [at] []> on Sunday December 21, 2008 @10:59AM (#26191177) Journal

        (scene FILLS with people, 200-300, all dressed in various profession/regional/ethnic attire): *in unison* We, are Ubuntu.

        With a minor change. Rather than statically standing there announcing who they are, the crowd should be active: riding a unicycle, one guy in chains doing a Houdini act, another person building a hot rod, a person painting an abstract portrait, etc. Rather than speaking in unison, they should all say something different but crescendo with the final word Linux in unison.

      • by spisska ( 796395 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @01:43PM (#26192251)

        I'm thinking something a little different. I would abandon the whole concept of trying to parody (or parrot) the Mac concept, and instead try to show what Linux is and what it's really good at.

        Here's what I was thinking:

        Open with a spectacular image from space, which pulls back to reveal an obervatory. Go through the telescope to the computers recording the readings:

        System Name
        Base Distro, version (e.g. Debian 3.1)
        Kernel version

        Path continues through series of routers and hops, each flashes the above system stats. Continues through university network to research lab. Students in lab coats studying data, manipulating images from the observatory. Same stats:

        System Name; Location; Base Distro, version (e.g. Debian 3.1); Kernel version

        Path continues through routers/hops same as before, through a television news studio (stats as appropriate) and out to an LCD set in your average living room -- could be pretty well anywhere in the western world. It's showing the news we flew through before, which has the same backing image of space that keeps recurring. The anchor talks of 'astronomical discovery'. Show stats of TV:

        System Name: Sony XXX LCD TV
        Location: All over
        Base system: custom kernel
        Kernel version: 2.4.1, e.g.

        Camera swings around living room to reveal a girl at a table (4th-6th grade). She's got various books and papers around her -- she's working on a project about space. She's also got an eee (or similar), which is open to the same image of the cosmos.

        System Name: Asus eee PC 701
        Location: The world
        Base system: Ubuntu eee
        Kernel version 2.6.24-generic

        She's chatting with someone about the image -- 'wow, that's amazing' or some such. Camera goes back through the tubes, appropriately showing router stats, to a modern classroom in an unexpected place -- e.g. Africa or Central Asia, where a child is also looking at the image and chatting.

        Continue through the tubes to other places around the world where the image pops up on a Linux system. Same system stats as appropriate.

        Finish in Peru. It's night and there's a child looking at the same image on an OLPC, chat window open. He's sitting on a stunning cliffside with the ocean below.

        System Name: OLPC XO-1
        Location: SomeVillage, Peru
        Base system: Red-Hat, Sugar
        Kernel version: 2.6.?

        He looks slowly from the screen up into the night sky. The camera zooms out and follows his gaze back out into space.

        Fade to black.

        Linux. There are no limits.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )

          Can the router stats. People don't give a shit what runs routers, and in the majority of cases it'd be IOS anyway. Stick with what people actually care about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        (scene FILLS with people, 200-300, all dressed in various profession/regional/ethnic attire): *in unison* We, are Ubuntu.

        Sorry, professional marketing flack here. You scare people away with a mob.

        Much more useful to meme building would be a single person to focus in on.

        So let's make it a trio, and move the drama away from the first two.

        "Hi, I'm a Mac" + "Hi, I'm a PC" doing the basic Mac vs. PC posturing. Third guy at a desk, says nothing, just rapidly working through paperwork. Simple name plate on desk "Linux", stuffed Tux in the corner for brand identification. After a bit of meaningless byplay on the part of Mac

  • Script (Score:3, Funny)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @01:44AM (#26189163) Journal

    (big)Hi, I'm a PC.

    (med mac)Hi, I'm a mac.

    (flea linux)I'm Linux!

    (big pc)Let's talk about servers.

    PC shrinks, mac grows, but Linux takes over 90% of the scale

    (linux)Hey! Where did you guys go?

  • You know those ads where they show the iPhone going at impossible speeds and then say "this is going to change everything"? Well, "normal" people are shocked at those ads because they've never seen a package manager. The idea of being able to search a huge list of apps and install with one click is new to them. And, of course, the fact that you have to pay for these apps isn't shown in the ad.

    • And, of course, the fact that you have to pay for these apps isn't shown in the ad.

      In the ads that show the app store in use, it looks like Apple is pretty clear in calling it the App store. I think that should be a hint that they might be pay-for apps. Not only that, even in the 320p ad clips on the Apple site, it's easy to read the prices for a given app. When an app is selected, the button with the price is shown before the person taps it, then the buttons says "buy now" then the person taps again. []

  • Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @01:54AM (#26189225) Journal

    If it had been done right about the time the Microsoft Ads came out, it would have been okay. Doing it now sends the message that Linux is behind the times and unoriginal. Much like using Jerry Seinfeld years after his TV show was a hit.

    • No, just make sure everyone knows that Linux has been too busy saving the world Buckaroo Bonzai style to bother showing up at the little meetings of PC and Mac.
      • Re:Stupid idea (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hooya ( 518216 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @04:42AM (#26189873) Homepage

        I've always pictured it as:

        Starts off as a regular Mac ad. The camera then zooms back to reveal the two dudes standing in front of a white sheet.. zooms further out to reveal the sound guy (you know, the guy working the mic boom - i think it's called 'grip' or something), the director, the stage hands... all wearing "I'm linux" shirts.

    • Or you could get the final word in.

      I had a little vision of this a while back. All done in a dark cartoon form to the soundtrack of Mekong Deltas versions of "The Hut of Baba Yoga" or "Night on Bare Mountain". If you know the songs, you will get the idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Agreed ! What percentage of the world's servers run Linux - ~90%? - without the public even being aware of it? Ad = public attention, but the geeks running things are quite aware of Linux already.

      I also don't see the point in making an "I'm linux" ad when linux already has the 'market majority' - the 'irony' quotes are there because Linux doesn't 'sell' anything. Yet another reason why no ad is needed.

    • I agree with this. MS' "I'm a PC" campaign was dated and uninspired. I have no idea why any Linux organization would want to associate themselves with it.

  • by Sean0michael ( 923458 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @02:01AM (#26189251)
    With all the distros out there vying for this, I'm sure this will end up being like Spartacus.

    User: Which one of you is Linux?

    Ubuntu: I am Linux!
    Gentoo: No, I am Linux!
    Red Hat: No, I am Linux!
    SuSE: Don't listen to them - I am Linux!
    Shouts from Slackware, YellowDog, DamnSmallLinux and thousands of others fill the air.
  • The contest is over. (Score:5, Informative)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @02:06AM (#26189285)

    IBM Won. []

  • by ancientt ( 569920 ) <> on Sunday December 21, 2008 @02:24AM (#26189367) Homepage Journal

    A man walks to a corner and is solicited by two ladies of the evening.

    (Windows) [dressed in fishnet and miniskirt] - "Wanna have a good time baby? I'm very popular, I do _all_ the fun things. [pause] I'm cheap."

    (Mac) [catholic schoolgirl look with heavy makeup] - "Take me sweetie! I'm fun too and I'm cuter! [giggle, then dead serious] Not cheap."

    [Mac and Windows get into a hair pulling fight while Marketing, old leering suited man, pulls up a jello filled wading pool.]

    (Linux) [A girl next door type walks up] "Hi again, wanna grab dinner, [pause] I'm buying."

    (Man) "Sure. Wait, you're buying? Do you expect to get paid?"

    (Linux) "No, it might be nice if you buy some time, but that's up to you.

    (Man) Dutch?

  • Are they looking for accuracy, or persuasiveness?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2008 @03:17AM (#26189601)

    "Linux" per se is not an OS, it is a set of common libraries and standards that is shared by many OSs. Heck, binaries compiled for one Linux distro won't even work on half the others (reason I mentioned this is because binary incompatibility is a good way to distinguish between customizations of a single OS, as opposed to different OSs, which, while belonging to the same family, are just that - DIFFERENT OSs.

    Advertising Linux is like advertising x86 architecture or the Unix Standard. It may be useful for engineers, programmers, or adiministrators, but not to end users. The fact that all Linux distros share the same kernel is about as useful to end users as telling them that their particular Chevy model uses the same engine block as a dozen other cars from GM. The service technician will need to know this, not the end user. The end users need to know WHAT a distro does, not HOW it does it. And every distro does things differently, and for a good reason - it is optimized for a particular audience and a particular way of doing things. By definition, that means that a single distro can't please eveyone - and shouldn't try to.

    Advertise Ubuntu. Advertise Red Hat. Advertise Gentoo. Pick a market and promote the Linux brand that suits that market best. And if someone else isn't happy about your choice, they can go and advertise their own distro to their own target audience.

    Linux distros need to start adopting a good old capitalist trick known as USING A BRAND.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      Linux is a pretty good trademark. Ubuntu is getting some recognition, but, you know, Microsoft presents itself by saying "I'm a PC". "Linux" is accurate enough for me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Technically, Linux is a brand [].

      Also technically, the "operating system" is the program which interfaces with the hardware and runs all the other programs. Which means that the Linux kernel is the only part of a given distribution that can claim to be the operating system.

      But the ad campaign isn't really interested in the technical side of things. Linux is a common shorthand for all the various distributions, window managers, and open source applications that are commonly included in distros. Yes, once you

  • OK, this one refers more to the command line, but might be cool anyhow.

    You have 2 buttlers, one Linux, the other one Windows.

    The Linux buttler just follows orders to the best he can, if you tell him what to do. (like a command line) The Windows buttler is more like a like a puppet, you have to actually move it for it to do something. (like a GUI)
    Punchline: Windows won't do something, because that feature is not availiable under the current licence, please buy an upgrade.

    • Avoiding command line would probably be in everybody's best interest, as command line seems to scare everybody who's not
      a) already a hardcore linux fan
      b) been using windows since the DOS days

      I think the whole point is to make linux appear friendly, and I doubt highlighting the part of linux that requires a cheat sheet is the way to do it.

      • Well there are different kinds of users out there.

        And seriously you cannot compare a good unixoid shell to the crippled one comming with Windows. The Windows one really is barely usable. Microsoft did a great job at scaring people away from comman lines by crippling them to death.
        Microsoft even goes a lot further, by also crippling the GUI. Just try to load 10 comma seperated text files written by a version of Exel from another language version into Exel. It asks you the _same_ questions over and over again

  • The best... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <[enderandrew] [at] []> on Sunday December 21, 2008 @03:35AM (#26189671) Homepage Journal

    The best contribution won't be a single person, but this huge contribution of several people. Linux isn't one OS for one person. It is embedded. It is desktop. It is server. It runs the cloud. It runs your phone. It runs your coffee maker. Ir runs the web. It runs super-computers. It is the unspoken hero. It is a rock-star.

    The only video representation of one character that fits Linux is a representation of all these characters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ozphx ( 1061292 )

      This contest will be another excellent example of how infinity unpaid volunteers can't match a single well paid expert.

      I'm sure I'll have a good lol at the results though.

  • by lord_sarpedon ( 917201 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @04:01AM (#26189753)

    Picture an I'm a Mac/I'm a PC commercial as they typically start!

    Richard Stallman shouts from offstage, "I'm linux, and I'm freee free FREEEE"

    He the proceeds to prance naked around stage throwing rose petals to the ground as the other two are stricken with a deep terror.

    Freeeee! Free freeeeee!

  • [Start with a semi-closeup of a hairy stoner type, you know, facial hair like alan cox and rms]

    Hi man, I'm Linux.

    [Move quickly to the right to a similar shot of a tie-wearing IBM type]

    Hi, I'm also Linux.

    [Move to a series of government types standing in a line behind one another, so that it's obvious there's many of them even if the face of only one is visible]

    (all of them speak loudly) Hi, we're also Linux.

    [Move to an obvious university student, make him a transfer student from abroad, japanese or chinese o

  • Positioning Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Forkenhoppen ( 16574 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @04:12AM (#26189781)

    The key to the Mac and PC commercials has been their positioning.

    Apple's Macs are all-in-one machines, that come with both hardware and software. So it's easy for them to position their avatar and straw man appropriately to showcase the advantages of their platform versus Microsoft's. "I'm a has-it-all-together Mac, you're a slightly confused yet assertive PC. Gee, why am I simpler to set up and use?"

    Microsoft sells just the software, so they aimed to take the focus off of the 'whole package' aspect and instead focus on the users. Hence their "I'm a PC" campaign. (Incidentally, someone needs to tell Microsoft that PC stands for 'Personal Computer,' and not 'Person using a Computer'..)

    The proper Linux positioning should be about Open Source, and how everyone contributes. So instead of an "I'm Linux" response, I'd suggest "We're Linux." Unlike how Microsoft's approach bends the meaning of words 'til they break, "We're Linux" would actually ring true on a lot of levels, from all of the different people whose pieces are put together to make one distribution, to the number of distributions available, to the sheer number of platforms that Linux has been ported to.

    • Damn I wish I had mod points for you, this IS THE WAY to advertise Linux/Open source. We should also use all the eco-anarcho-hippie angle, people think people don't like these ideas sharing and helping each other, we actually do, we just have become pretty cynic and skeptical about it, but I think people actually love it when they see it working.

      We already have seem some ads like this for stuff like youtube and the zune.
      Show people collaborating in a mural, the kids playing games, the young adults

  • I think the reason they dont put linux in there is because a person representing linux would be a naked torso of which you have to find all of his arms and legs and clothes separately. That wouldn't get past the censors.

    That assumes your talking about linux in a non-distribution sense.
  • What about any of the BSDs? What about Haiku/BeOS? What about...

  • and I run Linux on all of them.

  • ... will the winning video be done using ASCII art and Curses?

  • Amusing (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Sunday December 21, 2008 @08:18AM (#26190515) Homepage

    I've seen the "I'm a PC" ads microsoft has been putting out, i particularly like the slogan "Life without walls".. but has anyone considered that there's no need for windows if you don't have any walls?

  • Bill Hicks (Score:5, Funny)

    by ciderVisor ( 1318765 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @09:29AM (#26190793)
    I'll tell you the commercial they'd like to do, if they could, and I guarantee you, if they could, they'd do this, right here:

    Here's the woman's face, beautiful.

    Camera pulls back, naked breast.

    Camera pulls back, she's totally naked. Legs apart.
    Two fingers, right here, and it just says, "I'm Linux".

    Now I don't know the connection here, but goddamn if Ubuntu isn't on my download list that week. -- Bill Hicks
  • My commercial idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:18PM (#26191677)

    Mac and PC are arguing in the foreground, while the whole time they debate there is a guy in the background in coveralls and a hard hat digging a ditch with a large spool of cable nearby.

    They argue for a while then eventually notice the third guy.

    "Who's that?"

    "Oh, that's Linux. Wow...he really looks busy, doesn't he?"

    With puzzled looks on their faces they watch him busily dig for a while longer, then cut to the logo.

    "Linux. Working hard to bring you the net since 1991."

  • How about this... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Wooden Badger ( 540258 ) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @05:19PM (#26193935) Homepage Journal

    Have a T shirt with "I'm Linux" on it. Have PC and Mac lookalikes say "I'm a PC" and "I'm a Mac". They put on the I'm Linux T and they say "We still work". Have some old guy come in and say "I'm an old computer". He puts it on and says "I still work". etc.

    It's more of an anti-Vista ad, but I think it gets a point across. Maybe throw "I'm free" on the back of the T.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito