Could You Be the Face of Linux?

We've all seen them: on comes a commercial with a young, casually dressed,if somewhat unkempt, young man, and an older, portly man in a very middle-management-esque suit. The younger man announces "I'm a Mac" while the older responds "And I'm a PC," and the two go on to lament some critical design failure facing the PC to which the Mac is impervious. As Linux users, we know the basic premise of the commercial — that "I'm a PC" means "I run Windows" — is a fallacy, and what is really needed is a third cast member declaring "I'm Linux." If such a thought has ever crossed your mind, then fire up your camera, because the time to act is now.

The Linux Foundation — the Oregon-based non-profit responsible for promoting Linux and keeping developer-in-chief Linus Torvalds off the dole — is about to launch a contest aimed at filling the Linux gap left in the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" commercials, and as one might expect, have set out a competition that highlights the collaborative nature of the Linux community. The contest is open-entry, and invites contestants to submit user-created video that "showcases just what Linux means to those who use it, and hopefully inspires many to try it." Though the Apple/Microsoft commercials are certainly the inspiration for the contest, submissions are not required to follow the established "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" format — indeed, one need not reference the "other" operating systems at all.

Entry, which begins on Monday, January 26, is open to those eighteen and over — due to legal restrictions — should be sixty seconds or less, must not be in violation of the Foundation's Terms of Service, and must be submitted by midnight Pacific time on March 15, 2009. Judges will be selected by the Foundation, and will judge submissions based on "originality, clarity of message and how much it inspires others to use Linux." The Linux community will be invited to vote and comment on submissions, and the judges will include this feedback in their decision, though a high number of votes it is not the only criteria for winning.

Multiple unique entries are encouraged, and may be as simple or elaborate as the contestant prefers. Companies and groups — for example, Canonical or Novell, Ubuntu or openSUSE — are welcome to submit one or more entries representing their group, but only individuals may win the actual prize, so a "designated winner" must be identified. Speaking of the prize, the lucky winner receives free hotel/airfare/registration for the Linux Foundation Japan Symposium, held in Narita, Japan in October.

If you've ever wanted to get your Spielberg on and spread Linux love at the same time, now is the time to get cracking. We look forward to seeing what Linux Journal readers, and all Linux users, come up with — coming from the Linux community, we know it'll be an event to remember.

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