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Linux Foundation Asks Who Says "I'm Linux" Best 459

An anonymous reader writes "Everyone has seen Apple's clever 'I'm a Mac' ads, and Microsoft's attempted responses, first with Jerry Seinfeld, and next with 'I'm a PC.' The Linux Foundation tries to fire back with its community-generated 'We're Linux' video contest: all of the eligible videos have now been submitted and are ready to be voted on. Thankfully, the quality of Linux is much higher than the quality of some of these entries: entries range from the hilarious but inappropriate, to the well-made but creepy, to the 'I'm sure it sounded good in your head.' Thankfully, there are one or two that could actually be real commercials."
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Linux Foundation Asks Who Says "I'm Linux" Best

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  • by jonnyj ( 1011131 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:37PM (#27245115)
    Great product, shame about the marketing. That's why Canonical / Ubuntu is so important.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:37PM (#27245119)

    The original "Penguin" from the old Batman TV series would be a great Linux spokesperson.

  • Slackware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:37PM (#27245125)
    Slackware was the Daddy. Like the God Amen, Slackware created himself.
  • Very fitting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:39PM (#27245163)
    I find this situation to be a very fitting analogy to the computing world as a whole. Apple does something that gets attention. Microsoft makes their cheap knockoff of it. Then the OSS/Linux guys come along and say "Hey, we can do that, too!"
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:40PM (#27245173)

    Apple We did it first and got a lot of attention doing it.
    Microsoft copies it and makes it their own.
    Linux jumps in and goes ME TOO!!!! ME TOO!!!!

    First Time it is cool
    Second time it is kinda background noise
    By the third time it gets pathetic, and over used.

  • What a second... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antony-Kyre ( 807195 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:41PM (#27245213)

    Aren't linux machines still Personal Computers?

  • facepalm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blhack ( 921171 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:45PM (#27245273)

    Isn't part of the point of linux that there isn't a face to it?

    Linux is my mailserver
    Linux runs my mythtv
    Linux runs on my access point
    Linux runs on my sister's laptop.
    Linux runs on our company's DVR.

    Linux is not an operating system for the desktop or for the server, or for the embedded device. Linux is an operating system for EVERYTHING.

    Its like a ball of clay, endless potential and totally at the hands of the artist.

  • by nrasch ( 303043 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @02:56PM (#27245455)

    The parent post says: "... hilarious but inappropriate, to the well-made but creepy, to the 'I'm sure it sounded good in your head.'"

    If I was in MS's marketing department I'd be all over the bad videos. I'd show them to everyone I could and explain, 'See? This is the type of person who identifies w/ Linux. This is how they brand them selves. These type of people will be working on your servers, looking through the source code, etc.'

    My job would be done, people thinking about switching over would be creeped out, and a fuzzy warm marketing glow would ensue.... ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @03:09PM (#27245665)

    here is the 2nd "better one"

  • Re:Very fitting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Galois2 ( 1481427 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @03:49PM (#27246353)

    Well as usual with Linux, they show up late to the game

    Not quite -- the "he's linux" commercial preceeded either the Mac or PC ad series. Perhaps the only usual thing is that Apple and MS take undeserved credit.

    and produce a half ass working team that people find unbearable to watch while the hardcore crowd yells at them for being peons.

    I found [] to be a fully working team, coached by Wooden no less.

    But hey we can criticize MS/Apple all day, but when it comes to Linux we have to treat them with special care because they 'do it for free'.

    No, we can criticize MS because we've proven in court they illegally use their monopoly to extinguish competition in other areas, and Apple because they lock down both their hardware and software. Linux is the best open source OS there is, and anyone who cares about software freedom ought to care about it.

  • Penguins can fly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @03:57PM (#27246513)
    one of the best Linux adds I have seen []
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @04:08PM (#27246687) Journal
    The thing that's always bugged me about those Apple ads is the suggestion that because you have a Mac you'll suddenly be creative, and because you have a PC you'll have boring work to do.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I like my computer because it does those boring jobs for me. I want a tool to do spreadsheets. It means I spend less time doing that and can be off doing my own thing. Mac doesn't. Mac comes across as a layabout rockstar wannabe. Some of us have to work and pay the bills.
  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @04:11PM (#27246731)

    You ever notice how nobody really talks about features the way you're describing? It's because that's basically nerd porn. Everyone else would just go "jesus, that's boring" and tune out.

    This is something most of the Linux community doesn't get: People don't give a fuck about computers. It's like a car: the only time they care is when it isn't doing what they want it to.

    And, right now, it's a lot easier to get a Linux machine to the isn't-doing-what-they-want-it-to point than a Windows machine. (If you have to mention WINE, you pretty much already failed. WINE is an admirable effort that requires a level of technical proficiency or at least willingness to Google to get a lot of stuff running well--neither of which are things end users will do.)

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:00PM (#27247525) Homepage

    ... was stupid and annoying for Microsoft and is the same for Linux. If no one in the open source community can come up with a marketing idea better than copying third-hand from Apple, the community is in trouble.

  • by prelelat ( 201821 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:01PM (#27247549)

    Yes we can?

    I agree we need to get out there and show the masses that 'hey your looking at switching to a mac look here first' Tell them that Mac is Linux' prissy cousin and show how it can do everything they do and so much more. If people see an "I'm Linux" commercial they are just going to say yeah you like Linux but it has no applications, it's harder to use. The marketing should be getting rid of the reputation that Linux acquired in the 90's and should be about showing people how exciting and advanced the progress has become in the last 10 years. They should showing how applications on are easier to use, how drivers with compatible computers are easier to install, and how fast the thing is. Sit it beside an XP or vista machine and show boot to production time.

    They should be coming out with a penguin label for computers that have all Linux compatible hardware and have some companies like HP, Dell, and IBM get into it. I think that there needs to be a lot of ground work done before you can get into a simple "I am Linux'

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:25PM (#27247911) Homepage Journal

    I was going to reply to him, but you seem to actually understand.

        He has no clue about advertising. It has absolutely NOTHING (none, nada, nil, zip, zero, nuthin') to do with the product. It has everything to do with getting the viewer's attention, and keeping it for the 15 to 30 seconds that the ad runs, *AND* mixed in somewhere show the product.

        Like, this would make a killer ad..

        Show a jet fighter buzzing the surface of the ocean. It fires a missile. WOOSH! People like jet fighters. They like big explosions. The flash and the noise will get (or keep) them looking.

        The camera follows the missile. You see the girls on the beach. It flys down a road with flashy cars. it buzzes some other flashy thing. Then you see it going straight into a building with a big Linux sign on it.

        Big explosion. Dust settles (quickly, we're at like 20 seconds already), and the sign is still standing.

        No words. No dialogue. Just music (optionally, but suggested), jet engine noise, rocket noise, and explosion noise.

        People who want to sell their product always want to include all kinds of crap about their product. Consumers don't care. 99% of the people driving cars (like in your example) don't know anything about them. They can't tell you what engine it has. Half of them can't even tell you the model without going outside to look. Everyone can say if it's pretty or ugly. There are some people who are really into their cars (like me) who can run down every part in it accurately. Ads for my car had nothing to do with the features of the car.

        Here was the short version (30 sec) []. It doesn't even say the name until the end. Lots of noise and effects.

        This was the long promo video []. Only the first 45 seconds showed up on TV, as I recall. Again, lots of noise and effects. Even I, a TransAm owner, didn't care to watch it past 1 minute, when they started babbling about the features.

  • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:30PM (#27247979) Journal
    The depressing thing is that all the pieces are there. Linux has all the things you'd expect from a modern operating system; speed, decent user interface, good hardware support. But it falls flat on the little things that SHOULD NOT BE A PROBLEM ANYMORE.

    I mean, why is it still a hassle to access a Windows share? Sure, I can (usually) browse a Windows share from KDE, but almost no apps can actually DO anything with the files. You end up having to copy them locally first, which sometimes works. (Why isn't everyone taking the MacOS approach where it will mount the share, so everything can use it, rather than use all sorts of API bullshit that nothing will take advantage of?)

    There's so many little things like this that just end it for so many people, including myself. Sure, I use Linux a lot, but only for the server end. I continue to keep up to date on the Desktop side of things; I always install new versions of this distribution or that. Things have improved, but not as much as they should be.

    I never try to push Linux on anyone. It's not worth it because simple tasks are often not simple and they COULD BE simple if someone took the time to put the pieces together. I had high hopes for Ubuntu, but each distribution release from them is basically just the same exact thing as the last one with updated versions of the kernel and other software. Yay.
  • No, its even worse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @05:47PM (#27248239) Homepage Journal

    Then the FOSS people come along and say you should get a car based solely on the brand of transmission (kernel) inside.

    Not brilliant. Its been like watching a whole subculture go through a decade-long neurosis, trying to push something to users that they mostly cannot see or touch.

    Imagine if Apple constantly went on and on about OpenDarwin / XNU in their mass-market advertising. Or if Mozilla waged a "Get Gecko" campaign to end-users... They would be in the 1-2% penetration bracket nowadays with a nonsensical message like that.

    Then there is the 'Get Ubuntu' crowd, which I admire (and I followed their advice). BUT Ubuntu is not a PC platform: It doesn't have a set UI to make life manageable for users and tech support alike, nor an SDK for app developers, nor a program for certifying hardware for the OS, nor a way to independently distribute application packages that will still work 6 months (nevermind 2-6 years) down the road.

    In fact, Firefox looks more like a PC platform in some important areas than any Linux distro.

  • by Aphoxema ( 1088507 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:11PM (#27248579) Homepage Journal

    "Can I run my Windows programs on Linux?"

    "Yeah, it runs just about everything that comes with Windows perfectly, including the amazing word processing power of wordpad, the mad calculating skizzles of calc, the years of entertainment that sol provides. It'll even do minesweeper and paint!

    Did I mention that Ubuntu already comes with OpenOffice, Firefox, GIMP, and a calculator that can do everything short of graphing, all for free, without having to register, without having to install cracks, without having to worry if an update will break the crack, or programmers constantly trying to find ways to make it harder for you to steal their software?"

    That usually gets people to try a LiveCD at least.

  • by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:28PM (#27248803)

    Another great way of putting the same idea. And while I agree I think that there is a bit more to the idea than even the previous poster says.

    Small % of people - Those in the know about a product and want all the 'nerd pron'. (Or to put it another way they know all about their needs.) To such people ads that show all the flash over substance are meh at best. However...that's kind of the whole point. The mass scale marketing can't be tailored for this very small set of people.

    Slightly larger % of people - These people are not the techs who are in the above category but rather the managers of those techs. Or the 'enthusiast' part of the market. The kind of people, for example, who do dual-phase cooling on chips that were designed for simple HSF setups. Still however this is not the target that mass scale marketing has to aim for.

    Nearly every other bit of the % of people - The masses who want that hole not the bit. This is the target audience that when thinking about mass marketing your looking at. For example when I think about a fan belt for my car I sure as hell don't fall into either of the above two categories. I'm just looking for a part that will get the job done and not cost me an arm and a leg.

    And mind you there are those to whom fan belts are important things that they want to know all sorts of details about when they think about them. But much like when I think about my OSs don't fall into that 3rd category.

    And therein lies the rub. Most of us who have been involved in FOSS fall directly into the 1st or 2nd category in my list. And as such we make very poor advocates for it at times. Because the majority of people don't really care about FEATURE X that to us is really really cool and important.

    This is getting way too long winded so I'll just close in saying whenever any of the great FOSS conversion stores are shared, most of the best ones include users who just want something that works. Not the other 99% of the nerd pron that we like to go on about.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @06:56PM (#27249121)
    The funny thing is, I would think that Open Source folks would just "get" this line of thinking immediately. How many times have we heard a variation on this in the form of: "You don't make money off selling the software, you make money off supporting the software."

    Rough paraphrase: "Since everybody has a drill, sell your skills as a carpenter." You don't sell the tool, you sell the solution.
  • by lennier ( 44736 ) on Wednesday March 18, 2009 @07:09PM (#27249255) Homepage

    Yes, exactly!

    I use Ubuntu, I went cold turkey from Windows eleven years ago with Red Hat 5... and I'm *still* just deeply frustrated at how many silly little things aren't on anyone's priority list to get fixed.

    Not only that, most of the big projects (KDE, GNOME, OpenOffice) seem to have a definite philosophy of 'that's NOT broken and we WON'T fix it!' for things which quite patently ARE broken.

    Let's pass over with all decent haste the absolutely insane affair of 'spatial windows' in Nautilus (wtf? Windows 95 Explorer had a 'spatial' mode, it was just smart enough to *also* offer a tree browsing view for people who wanted to do serious file management) and give thanks that the Ubuntu people at least had the insight to override the GNOME people and turn *that* craziness off.

    Let's ignore for now the equally insane rush to *remove* copy-pastable file path text fields from dialog boxes and replace them with un-automatable candy-bar strips of buttons. Because, um, nobody uses keyboards anymore? I guess that's a step 'forward'. (Oh, yes, there's a magic hidden alt-key to bring up the real text field... but you'll never know what it is, because we don't talk about that.)

    Let's also be thankful that *finally* some 'fully packaged' applications *now* start putting in menu entries.

    No, let's talk about the more serious issues: how there are about five separate, incompatible 'official' object systems (GObject, CORBA/Bonobo, D-BUS, KParts, Firefox's XPCom, OpenOffice's UNO) before we even think about .NET/Mono or Java integration.

    How there's still no sensible shared configuration system - after a zillion false starts, we still have gconf (two versions of) for GNOME, and the horde of weird formats in /etc for everyone else. Different /etc layout for each distribution, of course, despite what FHS tried to do.

    How although we have X, which is fully networkable, if your X Server crashes - by definition a component which could be *on another machine entirely* - then ALL YOUR RUNNING X APPLICATIONS have to be restarted! The best feature of X, completely subverted just by bad 'standard' configuration.

    And yes, how every 'desktop environment' insists on reinventing the API wheel and building 'virtual filesystems' ON TOP OF its own API rather than making them available to the Posix level with something like FUSE.

    And then there's the pain of device management, like webcams. If it autodetects at startup, it'll probably work. If not.... good luck.

    I love Linux, but... we seem to be settling for far less than we had in the 80s, even. At least then we had dreams of what a desktop *could* be.

  • by Bronster ( 13157 ) <> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @05:26AM (#27252981) Homepage

    Ads a few decades ago were somewhat more intelligent, they would actually talk about a product and list some specific reasons why it was better than another product.

    Good for you 1%er that you prefer those ads. Now - I wonder why we don't see many of those any more... you'd almost think, I dunno, that they didn't work as effectively or something. Colour me shocked.

  • by waveclaw ( 43274 ) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:05AM (#27255133) Homepage Journal

    Handyman's rule: all tools are hammers except chisels which are screwdrivers. What you buy something for may not be what it gets used to do.

    Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt:

    People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.

    Then explain the number of pristine, never to be used and decidedly overpowered tools sitting in many 'crasftsman' garages? I always felt Levitt was missing the mark. A lot of purchase decisions are about having the rights quarter-inch drill, regardless of its utility for making holes.

    People will buy a car to drive on a road, but what car they buy and why may have nothing at all to do with driving. Operating Systems today are not a choice about practicality or functionality, but of style and ethos. The hobbyist feel and methods of Linux are not that far removed from the home mechanic tinkering with his hot rod that never leaves the driveway.

    Linux won't garner marketshare based on being the quarter-inch hole maker of Personal Computers. We have Macs and corporate-desktop Windows for that. has to differentiate Linux from its competitors and show that it's the sexiest drill in the cabinet. Pasty nerds arguing over the last donut doesn't do either of these. Honestly, Ubuntu's graphics artists and Novell's XGL efforts did more to make people say "I want that on my computer" than 5 years of making Office 20XD6 work a little better on crappy hardware.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @02:12PM (#27259089)

    Then explain the number of pristine, never to be used and decidedly overpowered tools sitting in many 'crasftsman' garages?

    That's your hobbyist community. For whom Linux is probably the right choice. They may not NEED that drill, but by god they can sleep comfortably at night knowing that if they ever need to drill a million holes, that high-end Makita drill hanging on the wall is right there. How is that any different than the Open Source advocate claiming: "I may not ever personally modify the code. But I want the ABILITY to do so if I so desire."?

    The vast majority of the market for a particular piece of hardware is NOT the hobbyist/collector who has money to burn. It's the carpenter, or homeowner, who actually needs the tool to accomplish something. Of the 6-7 billion people on the planet, what percentage have the resources & interest to spend $500 on a single drill they will never use? (answer: Not a large percentage.) Of the 6-7 billion people on the planet, what percentage have the time & interest to change & recompile their own kernel? (answer: Not a large percentage.)

    Linux won't garner marketshare based on being the quarter-inch hole maker of Personal Computers.

    The point was not that "Linux should bill itself as the quarter-inch hole maker." The point is, Linux needs to decide what problems it's the best solution for, and market itself by showing how it solves them for real problems people have.

    If you focus on the tool itself, you will not gain desktop market share. You will always remain a desktop platform for hobbyists, tinkerers, and tech-savvy people with time to spare twiddling bits.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.