Tux500: Linux penguin to race in the Indy 500
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Penguins, start your engines. If you watch the Indianapolis 500 on TV this Sunday, look closely at blue No. 77 car and you might see a penguin running at more than 250 mph.The Tux500 program has been caught in much controversy over the last few weeks, as quite a few members of the open source community had labeled it as a scam or complete nonsense. However, it is now official that Linux will in fact be a sponsor on the No. 77 car at the Indy 500. You can check out some pics of the car @ C|Net News.
Two enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to make Linux a household name by organizing a grassroots effort called Tux 500. It is aimed at raising money to help sponsor an Indianpolis 500 race car operated by Chastain Motorsports.
Still, the question remains... is this the right kind of advertising for Linux? I mean, will people watching it at the Indy500 actually know what Linux is, or even care? I headed on over to where this story was submitted on digg and took a look at what some people had to say about all of this. Schestowitz, I believe, has the right answer:
The words stick in people's heads and when they see it on the shelf or a person's computer they'll think differently. It's like branding.I really do think that people will notice it, and when they see or hear of it again, they will think differently. Since Tux is also such an endearing mascot, it should be easy for people to remember. And just a handful of people who actually saw Tux and were intrigued by the Linux name look it up and spread the word, Linux will be that much more successful.
Another excellent point was made by masterr:
It's not about the actual air time for the logo it self. The whole point of the Tux 500 project was to stir up news in the mainstream media, and it worked. I have already seen 2 articles on non-tech news sources that have talked about it.This is also very true. One cannot say that the Tux500 hasn't brought Linux out a bit more into the limelight. I too have seen many stories about the Tux500 in places that generally don't discuss Linux all too much. This kind of exposure can in many ways be more beneficial than the actual ad on the car, as people reading about it online are more likely to look up Linux and maybe even give it a try. Although this seems to scream "publicity stunt" or something of the like, I believe the leaders of the Tux500 project have brought some much needed exposure to Linux, and done so in a very effective way.
But, does all of this shine the right light on Linux? With some very prominent adversaries of the project, will people reading about the Tux500 be lured into the Linux/ open source community, or will they be scared away? I believe that the awareness stimulated by the Tux500 project has definitely been of good intent and excellent outcome, marred only by non-supports who have decided to spread FUD about the project. Yes, perhaps being a sponsor on an Indy car is not the right place to promote Linux, but is accusing those that support the project doing any good? Everybody has a right to their own opinion on a matter, but diatribe against those who have the initiative to actually do something to bring Linux into the mainstream to is not helping anything, and can only scare people away for Linux. Despite what people might have thought about the program before, it can definitely not be called a scam, as it did what it promised; there is actually an "ad" for Linux on a car in the Indy 500. What have these "accusers" done but blemish the light that has fallen upon Linux? A light, that had only the aim to help Linux. After all, I am sure we can all agree that any sort of advertising for Linux is a good thing.