The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

Search the Blog of helios and all comments

Loading

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Linux Community's unoffical mascot taken by Microsoft


OK group...let's see a show of hands...

How many people believe that the current way Linux markets itself is sufficient? That would be the combination of apathy, inertia and a smattering of guerrilla marketing.

Good, Good....yeah, that's a majority all right. Thanks for taking your hand out of the Cheeto's bag long enough to be inconvenienced. You might want to wipe it against your t-shirt before you begin your flaming response.

Which is unlikely. If you are reading this blog or any publication that might post this blog, you more than likely don't fit into this group

Now, how many of you think that we need to get the word out to the everyday computer user and let them know they have a choice in the way they operate their computers?

Oops...Well, that was expected as well. Now you know what it's like to be a Ron Paul Supporter.

So...one more question then we'll wrap this up.

How many of you feel comfortable that Linux has a firm hold on the penguin as an unofficial trademark of Linux?

My goodness. There is a veritable sea of hands in the air. That's a good thing. Well, at least we agree on something.

Now let me show you how a consensus of opinion is as reliable as an unbooted Windows server. Not to mention those that hold said opinion.

Many of you in the first group I queried can take pride in this. Congratulations to everyone who made this possible.











Excuse the poor photograph. This billboard picture was taken on IH 35 in Austin from the upper deck in a car doing 70 mph. Stopping on the upper deck for any reason is almost certain catastrophe. It's good enough however to make the point.

Microsoft has now successfully claimed the penguin as their "symbol". Yep, I see it coming..."What's the big deal helios? So they use a flock of penguins to advertise." If those words come out of your mouth, I would make certain they weren't heard too loudly. Ask yourself this. Why penguins? How many tens of thousands of other animals could they have chosen?

Why penguins? It's obvious if you just spend a few minutes thinking about it.

These billboards are going up all over the United States. I've called Microsoft numerous times Friday to get a statement but they've yet to respond.

By the way, the rest of the text from that sign reads "Life Without Walls".

That is funny in itself. Microsoft trying to equate itself with freedom. They better hope people continue to ignore their EULA.

So...let's keep on handing out cd's, holding our Lindependence events, flooding You Tube with Cube videos ad nauseum and anything else we can think of that reaches hundreds of people in a months time. Microsoft is reaching millions a day.

And their doing it with your penguin.

Guerrilla marketing...now that's effective. Instead of getting the community organized into some sort of legitimate promotional entity, and Heaven knows we've tried... we've screwed around and let Microsoft take the one thing we thought they could never touch. Don't forget...Linus chose the penguin himself as our mascot/symbol.

Congratulations to all who made this possible.

All-Righty Then

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, give it up. Why are you trying to stir up crap that doesn't need stirred? That's obviously not an original picture. Why would you photoshop something like this? Does your site need that much attention?

Besides, not even Microsoft is stupid enough to do this sort of thing. The penguin is a Linux trademark and Microsoft knows it.

Is anyone living in Austin that can debunk this?

This is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

http://technologizer.com/2008/09/19/windows-life-without-walls-campaign-the-print-ads/

Its not fake... I have seen it before..

D.

Anonymous said...

Here's another one..

http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/marketing/windows_life_without_walls.html

D.

Anonymous said...

Also, only word "Linux" is trademarked, I suggest the first poster start reading from https://www.linuxfoundation.org/en/Main_Page

D.

Anonymous said...

I believe the author alludes to the fact that "the penguin" is a Linux "trigger graphic" and not a trademark or official logo. That being said, it's obvious Microsoft has no intention of honoring any "gentleman's agreement" or unspoken courtesy. Just look at what they've done to their own partners and customers. Hell, getting your mascot stolen is mild compared to what they've done in the past. I think it's kind of funny that this is the only way Microsoft can get to FOSS/Linux. The point is taken though, they had thousands of other "mascots" or symbols to choose from. Why the penguin?

Just to piss us off and flip us the middle finger. In the final analysis, that's all this really is.

Amenditman said...

Don't you think that instead of flaming each other within the "Linux Community" we should be saving our vitriol and energies for Microsoft.

And I use the term community here very loosely, and slightly sarcastically.

It's just sad that this can happen and we attack each other.

Wake up Linux community.

Anonymous said...

I clicked "post comment" with full intentions of calling this guy an alarmist idiot but as I thought about it, his point dawned on me. They could have chosen any number of symbols. Some Anon poster above gigged it though...this is just a FU gesture. The sad part of it is, there's not a thing we can do about it. Most Linux Users wouldn't do anything to help in the best of circumstances. Seems to be a pretty good group here though. Three cheers for what you people do for the kids.

Mike Robertson
SLC Utah

einfeldt said...

Hi,

I have seen these images on buses in San Francisco. The funny thing is that it never occurred to me that Microsoft might have been stealing the penguin, and I am not sure that they have achieved the theft of the penguin just yet, because here in SF we are also seeing Microsoft ads with flying planes and lots of other images.

Maybe this is their attempt to boil the Linux frog. Maybe they are starting small. But maybe not. Maybe this is just another scene like the planes flying from one frame to the next that is part of this same ad campaign.

I do think that it is a good thing that Helios has raised this issue, though, and I do think that it deserves attention on our part, because this might be the first step in an attempt to neutralize the penguin. I'm not sure that we have enough data yet to know if 1) it is Microsoft's attempt to neutralize the penguin by over-exposure and 2) if their attempt in this regard will be effective, due to the distinctness of Tux.

I think that latter point bears emphasis. The Linux logo is most pointedly not just a penguin. It is a _particular_ penguin, a distinctive penguin. Tux is very unique. I am not seeing Microsoft's penguin as an attempt to replace the Microsoft butterfly with a penguin; rather, the focus is on a crisp, colorful image _across different hardware platforms_ . Please see this story with its accompanying graphic:

http://tinyurl.com/599ety

That link shows a catepillar. So I have seen penguins and flying planes and caterpillars. If Microsoft is attempting to introduce a new logo, they are stepping on their message.

So I don't think that this is Microsoft's attempt to neutralize the penguin. They have chosen several different images (planes, penguins, caterpillars) precisely _because_ they wanted to take the emphasis off of the individual images on the screen.

But I think that it is good that Helios brings up this use of the penguin, and I think we should watch the progress of this campaign.

And, at the risk of plugging my own project, one of the reasons that I wanted to start the Digital Tipping Point video project is exactly because I think that we need more video and multimedia. We do need to get our story out. That is why I am giving away our DTP footage. It will take an entire community to create a media presence that can fight Microsoft. Please email me at einfeldt at gmail dot com if you want to help. We have 80 hours of video up on archive.org. Free. Yours to rip, mix burn.

Again, thanks to Helios for bringing up these images. Helios has a huge point. We need to do a better job of marketing Free Software. The developers are doing a great job of writing Free Software. Now we all need to get off our butts and get it out there to the general community as Helios is doing with his GNU-Linux computer giveaway to kids.

And I did raise this point to Richard Stallman when I interviewed him for the DTP. He said it was too late to do anything different with the GNU name. So he understands the limitations of his idea. IMHO he is just relying on others to do outreach.

Sorry for such a long comment. I just think that Helios raised a good point, and so I had to say something. Marketing counts.

c u

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

Anonymous said...

Eh!! This is lame, get a life or get laid dude.

Dean said...

Ken -

Sigh.

No matter how hard one tries, some folks will never see the difference between getting laid and getting screwed.

Amenditman said...

I think a lot of folks just don't care about the difference.

They will take any attention they can get.

r_a_trip said...

Helios, I think you've missed the mark in this instance. The MS advertising spreads have a lot of different images and a flock of penguins is just one of them. They are just generic penguins. If MS had used a flock of cartoony ones, like the one Larry Ewing drew, then it could be construed as an attack, but here? I'm inclined to say, you've read to much in to it.

We don't have a monopoly on penguins. Tux is a very distinct specimen and I've never seen MS go near it. Yes, they alude, but they don't tread on Tux. Sometimes a penguin is just a penguin, even if it is on a billboard with MS advertising.

Another thing:

How many people believe that the current way Linux markets itself is sufficient? That would be the combination of apathy, inertia and a smattering of guerrilla marketing.

Good, Good....yeah, that's a majority all right. Thanks for taking your hand out of the Cheeto's bag long enough to be inconvenienced. You might want to wipe it against your t-shirt before you begin your flaming response.


Do you think that painting your potential allies as lazy couch potatoes will further your cause? Did you ever stop to think that maybe not everybody has the zeal, the time or the calling to do community marketing? Why are people who don't push for the big centralised marketing effort treated like an abomination?

Helios, I admire your energy and enthusiasm, but at the same time I shudder when I see that same energy and enthusiasm form two millstones squashing community members without mercy. Toning the frustration down a bit could go a long way in getting people to be at least sympathtetic to your efforts. Giving people you don't even know a constant vitriol shower makes sure they'll ignore you.

machiner said...

Someone needs to make a graphic of Tux looking at a mason jar with a butterfly in it asking, "Why does it act like that?"

The background can be in pub with smiling people in the background playing Cricket.

The mason jar can be on a table and there can be some other people hearing Tux and being shown moving toward the table.

A graphic like that can be pretty powerful. If you don't want the pub background, cool, but not some sterile lab, either. Linux is for everybody.

--machiner

Randall Terrell said...

"I shudder when I see that same energy and enthusiasm form two millstones squashing community members without mercy."

He's not referring to "community members". He's aiming at people who sit in the forums and engage in flamebait and trolling via their Linux machines. The ones that brag to their friends how cool their computers are and in the same breathe, refuse to help someone fix theirs that is broken or trashed. Case in point?

"Eh!! This is lame, get a life or get laid dude."

I believe helios has built hundreds of computers this year alone with his own hands and given them away to children who need them. You may want to slice off a part of your life and graft in part of his.

If you are reading this blog or any site that carries it, you most certainly are not one of those helios speaks of. He said as much to me when I emailed him about it last night.

I am surprised that wasn't snapped to.

The only millstones we have are the people that know we have a message to get out and still refuse to spend a single hour a week doing it.

The Penguin isn't a trademark for Linux but it is a globally-recognized touchstone for us. To see Microsoft use it at all bears reporting. Let's not lose the original point.

We need to market our product.

Randy Terrell
Rantoul IL

r_a_trip said...

The only millstones we have are the people that know we have a message to get out and still refuse to spend a single hour a week doing it.

I'm still not sure what the message is or should be. "Linux", sec, is just source code on kernel.org. The usable manifestations of it are a myriad of Distro's. So what needs promoting?

Computing freedom is a big subject and framing the message not easy. I'm gathering my own little circle of converts, but getting people on board is difficult.

The Penguin isn't a trademark for Linux but it is a globally-recognized touchstone for us. To see Microsoft use it at all bears reporting. Let's not lose the original point.

Well, this to me is still a point of contention. Tux is a distinct mascot and happens to be a penguin. Does this mean that all penguin images therefore refer to Linux? Is anyone allowed to use penguin images, except Microsoft? They didn't use Tux, they just have a flock of penguins, amongst a lot of other things. It might just be a case of using a nice picture to illustrate "the Vista's that Windows brings". Which incidentally is a brick wall, but that is another story.

WE ARE *NIXED! said...

@r.a.: The problem with the assessment that the penguins are just penguins is quite simple. When most people think of Linux, they'll often see a penguin. When publications signify Linux, even though it may be seen as nothing more than a kernel, they use a penguin, and it's not always Tux himself. Microsoft is doing a billboard effort here, and what are a lot of other people doing? Nothing much at this point. There are those who have done what they could in promoting computing freedom, but there is a lot more who do not wish to get involved for some reason or another. Arguments such as, "The code is always there." have been used ad naseum over and over again. Sure, the code is there, and as long as a compiler is there as well, the foundation for computing freedom is there. However, that does not mean it will eventually become a dominant force in everyone's life. Without enough brand recognition, Microsoft will continue to dominate the market place and the minds of people. The day that we see Blizzard put out a game that runs on a Linux, *BSD, or GNU-based system will be the day that a threshold has been reached. For now though, there is still plenty of work that has to be done. Groups such as Canonical have done an outstanding job at creating a brand name. However, the developers at Ubuntu need to step it up concerning bugs.

@the person who signed the name Mike Robertson: I sincerely hope that you are not the same Michael Robertson who screwed over everyone at Linspire. If you are the same Robertson who handed over Linspire to Xandros and you think you can come here and score points, think again.

kozmcrae said...

"Don't you think that instead of flaming each other within the "Linux Community""

That first poster is NOT a member of the community. I strongly suspect he wrote his post on an Acer Ferrari 5000.

Anonymous said...

MS chose to use penguins, knowing that the mascot of Linux is a penguin. If you think this wasn't planned then I have a bridge in Brooklyn you may want to purchase.

I'd like to see an ad with Tux wearing a toolbelt, a linux Cd in hand approaching a house with broken Windows. A bubble saying "No more broken Windows" Distro name of your choice in the lower right hand corner.

kozmcrae said...

I just finished reading three articles, all catastrophic to the future of Microsoft. Then it hit me. This business with penguins on the billboards is an act of an increasingly desperate Microsoft. I expect them to attack the entities they perceive as the most dangerous but it will be for naught. It's not companies, institutions, platforms, software or even people. It's the environment and their on inability to change that's killing them.

James Dixon said...

> The sad part of it is, there's not a thing we can do about it.

Well, that depends on your definitions. Have you purchased a copy of Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office in the past 5 years or so? If not, then you're done something about it. If you've installed Linux for even a single user, then you've done something about it. If you've shown even a single user a Live CD in action, then you've done something about it. If you've answered someone's question on the fora for your distribution of choice, then you've done something about it. If you've sent Ken or someone like him a check, however small, to give Linux computers to kids who can't afford them, then you've done something about it.

There are a thousand ways of doing something about it. Just pick the one you can do and do it.

FelixTheCat said...

Ken, you handled this one quite well. Going home from south Austin (good pizza shop, Home Slice!), I had knots in my stomach thinking they were going to use something very similar to Tux.

MS wasn't that brazen. Maybe they've learned enough to not be, but their choice was still purposeful. I can simply imagine folks in their marketing or legal department having discussed the fact that the Linux mascot is a penguin. Dunno, did they rub their hands with glee or wring their hands with worry? I'd hope it was the latter since it'd indicate what dent GNU/Linux is putting in their fun.

You've heard the expression, "beating around the bush"? This is starting to look like a pretty prime example, but it has to be wait and see.

And, no, anonymous pustule, this isn't photoshopped or gimp'd - what a maroon!

Joshua said...

One way to look at this ad is a promotion of Linux. Since they are showing penguins being free out side of the windows. If we can associate penguins with Linux in peoples minds this advertising will be a great boon for Linux.

Anonymous said...

Ken, I am sure you have seen this Microsoft use of penguins before. However, I still find it amusing. And, I note, this add didn't use Tux but it was aimed directly at Linux.
The page that pointed to this picture is:
http://www.shortech.com.au
/2001/enews/ezinevol2_10.htm

The picture itself is at:
http://lwn.net
/2000/1026/a/msad.php3

Signed:
Anonymous (Ken Holmes)

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's penguins may flutter and dive, but Linux penguins can do things that no other penguins can... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrxmpihCjqw

Anonymous said...

As a developer, I have to admit I could care less about Seinfeld, Im a PC (were all PCs now...join the 21st century) ads, or John Goodman or whoever that Mac actor is.
Its commercials.
Microsoft hasnt done anything technologically impressive in such a long time that I guess they have to try the Apple route and push the marketing and try to convince the public that they know better than the users waht they want. Works for others.
I hate commercials. A good of people agree with me if you look at all the ways we have to get around watching them on both video or through online ads.
Listening to the idiots at TWIT drool over the 'ingenuous' ads instead of technology is nauseating enough. Why should I worry what a dying monopoly is trying to market itself as?
THey had 7-8 years for Vista and every single good idea they had was ripped from it early on. Now they are embarking on the campaign to get people excited over the rushed 7 or Vista SP3 as many call it. This demands heavy marketing and relying on the childish examples of the Apple ad campaigns and spending millions convincing people that Windows isnt a lost cause.
Microsoft put up some kinds of booths in front of Apple stores and again the tech monkeys went nuts over the 'genius' of the move. Not about any new technology they came up with...no, no but a game of marketing oneupmanship like petulant pre-K's.
So as long as they concentrate on grade school hijinks instead of coming out with a compelling product, I really dont care.
This falls strictly under the sticks and stones provision.
The only people who get upset at a 'diss' are grade school kids and rappers.
Let it go Helios and remember that /. mangled Gandhi. Weve passed ignore, laugh and fight stages... there is only the last one left.
Personally, the day I was able to buy a Linux pre-installed laptop that doesnt suck was the day I called it a win. Everything else now is politics, business and bullshit.
rob enderle

Blog of helios said...

"Personally, the day I was able to buy a Linux pre-installed laptop that doesnt suck was the day I called it a win. Everything else now is politics, business and bullshit."

Rob, you and I haven't always seen eye to eye but I am inclined to agree with you on the developers level concerning the above statement.

Now let me bring it down to the ground level.

There are millions of people that have no friggin' idea they have a choice in the way they operate their computers. Some would say., "screw 'em, if they are not smart enough to seek alternatives then they deserve the cage in which they live.

The day I took a call as a Level III tech and listened to a 71 year old woman weep because "she had done everything it said to do and it still didn't work" was the day I decided I was no longer a sideline Linux User. On that day I became an Advocate. There is absolutely no excuse for a paying customer to purchase other products or even use other products in order for their original product to function. Microsoft has made millions in kickbacks alone from AV companies hawking their shareware crap on new installs.

So...tilting at windmills? probably, but as long as there are people that don't know they have a choice, I will continue to pound on the need for marketing. Our organization has, as of this weekend hand built 309 Linux Computers and given them away to disadvantaged kids in the Austin area. That's important to me Rob. And yes, on your level, it is truly politics and bullshit, you do not get any argument from me there. I fully agree...

But down here on the ground, where old women weep because their computers won't work and parents must decide between life's necessities and another copy of Microsoft Windows, it goes much, much deeper than that.

And that Rob, I am physically and spiritually unable to "let go".

Ken

Amenditman said...

A really smart guy, measured by the hundreds of millions in business his ideas and energy created for him, once told me,

"Any advertising of your product your competitor pays for, is good advertising. Don't worry what they say or imply about us, that's our logo on the TV."

1 - Free advertising, even by an obscure reference, is free.

2 - Any big corporation has unhappy customers who are looking for ANY alternative. By showing your TM/logo/mascot/etc in their ad they have just alerted all those people to your existence.

3 - If Microsoft was more blatant in their reference to Linux it would be really stupid of them. By even referring to Linux they have told anyone who looks that Linux is good enough for Microsoft, the ?biggest? software company, to take notice of and launch an offensive against. Their reputation of business smarts is nowhere near the same as their reputation for weak products and poor customer relations.

4 - It is definitely a sign of weakness when they run you down when they should be selling the greatness of their product.

I'd say, relax, breathe deeply, focus your outrage, and use the huge advertising budget of Microsoft to 'sell' 'our' 'product'.

I know, those last three words only almost fit.

@machiner and anonymous Your ad suggestions are fantastic and just the kind of creativity we really need to focus.

If they were done right, maybe even no text just expressions and body language, and a "LINUX" at the bottom, maybe...

Like the old Linux ads you can still find on YouTube, only print not video and nice 2 D cartoon style, maybe...

Almost every user of Microsoft products knows they are in a luxury hotel which has been converted into a prison and all the bathrooms are out of order.

We do not need to tell them.

We need to teach them how to escape and regain freedom.

Just my forty-seven cents worth.:-)

amenditman

Helen Barnett said...

"But down here on the ground, where old women weep because their computers won't work and parents must decide between life's necessities and another copy of Microsoft Windows, it goes much, much deeper than that.

And that Rob, I am physically and spiritually unable to "let go".

I've been white hot angry with you in the past but I've also cheered you on and even supported you financially from time to time but through all of that, I never really knew who you were. I mean on the inside.

That last statement clarified much for me. Thank you.

Helen Barnett
Huntsville TX

Anonymous said...

I looks like the penguins are lining-up and in the last picture they commit suicide by jumping of a cliff.

I hope the people at PETA do something about this cruel treatment of penguins by Microsoft.

Antero said...

I more likely want to know what kind of consequences does age of economic depression has to Linux and Microsoft. Can Linux take a change to find more users. I've helped some of my friends to use Linux (Ubuntu) during the last few monts. However i've found too how scary most of them are to something new.

Anonymous said...

MS never does anything unintentionally. Think about average consumer (as the bisnes world calls the most of us), perhaps they think linux is something to eat. When they see a penguin in MS commercial, their brain makes a link between a penguin and MS. Anytime later, when they see a penguin, it links to MS. (This works for many brainwashed IT managers as well).

Now linux community tries to market linux with penguin just ending up marketing MS.

And who they call a cancer?

Anonymous said...

Some just don't get the point to this blog. If Linux had been marketed properly, Microsoft would not be able to get away with using the penguin as a symbol of Windows. Now people are going to associate the penguin with MS and not Linux.

kozmcrae said...

"I looks like the penguins are lining-up and in the last picture they commit suicide by jumping of a cliff. "

Penguins are a lot smarter than that.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTLptH63gIs

ejraka32 said...

Helios, all I can say is keep at it.
Many of us support you however and whenever we can.An earlier post by Helen Barnett sums up how some of us still don't see what you do.
Keep the faith.

ejraka32

Anonymous said...

See
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/windows/imagegallery.aspx
for a better image and other ad images.

FelixTheCat said...

"When they see a penguin in MS commercial, their brain makes a link between a penguin and MS. Anytime later, when they see a penguin, it links to MS."

@Anon - BINGO!! THAT is a very adept observation, something I'd been struggling to communicate, and you say it in only two sentences. Kudos! :)

Anonymous said...

In answer to those whom think that the image of a penguin would now be synonymous with Microsoft should think clearly about this perception and how easily it could be broken, or used to ones alternative advantage. If you see a photocopier, do you necessarily think of Xerox? If you see a car, do you think only of Ford? If you see a computer or a computer desktop, do you think only of IBM or Xerox or Apple Macs? Even if Microsoft have used the image of a penguin in their advertising, do you really think that they can argue prior art if you were to use a penguin boldly emblazoned with Linux in yours?

Reece Dunn said...

I like the "Broken Windows" concept.

I also think that instead of just having "Linux" or "Distro of choice" is underselling what Linux is. The key is in Distro of *choice*.

How about stacking several of the more popular well known distros and some of the lesser known ones *and* having Linux at the bottom. Something like:

Ubuntu
Mandriva
Fedora
Debian
FreeBSD
OpenSolaris
...
Linux, BSD, Solaris... your computer, your way.

We should also emphasise that it is about a Community. This is one of the things that is good about Ubuntu - even the logo is about communities and people.

I find the Windows "I'm a PC" ads strange: why would people want to say that they are not human! Computers should *help* people and enhance their lives, not lock them down (think about how things like email and skype help people keep in touch from all over the globe).

- Reece

The Linux Fan said...

The best way I've seen it put is:

"In a world without walls or fences, who needs windows and gates?"

I wish I knew who said this. I know I didn't!!

Later,
The Linux Fan

Amenditman said...

Anonymous said,

"I'd like to see an ad with Tux wearing a toolbelt, a linux Cd in hand approaching a house with broken Windows. A bubble saying "No more broken Windows" Distro name of your choice in the lower right hand corner."

Well around here if you have a great suggestion it might get done. This is an open source discussion, after all.

My graphic artist/animator liked the idea so much, she is running with it. The concept ketches took about 20 minutes to get it all down. Animation proceeding quickly.

She has agreed to release the finished work under the Creative Common license, so if you want to use it it will be available.

helios will have it shortly after it is finished.

amenditman

Anonymous said...

Give it up Jafar! We're obviously too much for you to handle!

Anonymous said...

This blog post is a good reason why the Linux community isn't taken seriously by the main stream desktop market. You're focused more on hating Microsoft than you are on focusing why people don't want to use Linux in mass.

Anonymous said...

at the last anonymous poster. It is now 2012 and I am most sure you are still an idiot.