More on the “I’m Linux” video contest

amcpherson's picture

Last week, we launched the Linux Foundation video site. The site will of course house the growing collection of Linux Foundation original video from our events, but I hope it will also become a place for the Linux community to share their Linux video content. The intention is for it to become the central location for Linux videos, so Linux users and developers can easily find pertinent and educational Linux video information. If you have Linux video, we would appreciate your uploading it to this site.

As part of the video site, we will also be holding a Linux video contest that kicks off in January. I’m extremely excited about this contest — the reaction to it has been astounding. I’ve personally received scores of emails and there has been about a dozen media articles. The highlights:

• In 60 seconds or less, showcase your take on “I’m Linux.” This should be why you love it and should inspire others to use it. The video can be an extensive production, a plain testimonial or as simple as a screen capture with a voice over. Be creative, be authentic and have fun.

• While you may be inspired by the Apple or Microsoft commercials, it’s not a requirement to parody or make reference to them.

The winner will receive a free trip to Tokyo, Japan to participate in the Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium in October 2009. The winning video will also be unveiled at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit in San Francisco on April 8, 2009.

The contest reaction hasn’t been without controversy. Many emails and articles have asked, “Why are you copying Apple? Linux should be original!” My answer is that I originally thought of this contest while sitting through multiple Apple and Windows ads during a football game. It occurred to me that messages about operating systems are everywhere, but that Linux, by nature of its distributed organization, is not well represented in the video realm. I wanted the Linux Foundation to help marshal the forces of community to showcase the originality and passion of Linux users and developers. Or as I said on the video site:

While the Linux Foundation would love to spend millions promoting Linux on TV, it’s simply not our style (or in our budget). Even more importantly, Linux isn’t a top-down, commercially controlled operating system. It’s a grassroots product of mass collaboration. That’s why we’re sponsoring a community contest to create a Linux video that showcases just what Linux means to those who use it, and hopefully inspires many to try it.

The other thread in articles inspired by the contest is best summed up by this headline: “Linux Starts “I’m Linux” Ad Campaign, Will Probably Fail.

So if you’re bored have nothing to do, why not take on the multi-million dollar ad campaigns and trained, professional actors of Microsoft and Apple, and make your own commercial for your favorite operating system (No, not windows, oh and definitely not Mac, I’m talking about Linux.)?

The author seems to imply that a community can’t equal “professional” product. I guess the author hasn’t heard of Linux, or Firefox, or Wordpress (despite running their site on it). But the post has a point: I think it would be hard for our community, however passionate, to equal the production of the multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Then again, today with a computer, a $300 video camera and originality you can create amazing video content. What’s important is how compelling, original and persuasive your ideas are. I think that’s the basis of open source software and I believe it will work with videos.

So let’s prove the naysayers wrong and come up with original and impressive Linux videos.