What was your first car?
1.8k responses on the original post. 5.5k responses on the share?
Now I know what your first car was.
I also know, from your Facebook profile, what your full name is (thanks Facebook and your real name policy) where you live, (if you’ve entered it, which you probably have) who you work for and who your family members are. Some of you even have your phone number listed.
If you are female and married, I probably also know what you maiden name is if you’ve listed your mother as a family member (which you have). I also may know who your favourite bands are and where you were born. What school you went to, what university, what shops you like, what websites you go to.
Scared yet? No?
As a metadata nerd I’ve been a long time Musicbrainz user. Last night I was trying to tidy up the Severed Heads releases and realised that a lot of the original online references have gone. Sure, the basic facts about many releases are stored by fans on the likes of MusicBrainz.org or Discogs.com, but not everything. Nuances and original intent can be lost.
One thing I’ve just been reminded of his how incredibly stale Internet forums can become.
I’ve been on the internet since around 1997 and on FidoNET before that since around 1993. I’ve been in a lot of forums based on a lot of different subjects including bands I like, computers and software I use, TV shows I like etc. I’ve made a lot of good friends in those forums and there is nothing better that the community spirit in a good forum…
But it doesn’t last.
Which is the odd one out?
Yeah, that’s right.
Regardless of any personal opinion you might have about the companies in question, Apple and Microsoft both have well designed and instantly recognisable logos. Apple’s in particular is a cultural icon. The windows logo is ubiquitous. Tux, on the other hand… Tux is an embarrassment. A childish mascot that gives off an air of lame cartoonish amateurism. Tux was probably fine, way back when. Linus Torvalds was a student with his free clone of Minix that was being used by bearded sandal-wearing geeks who, let’s be honest here, didn’t care that much about their appearance. Yes, I’m dealing in stereotypes, but it was largely true. The cool kids didn’t use Linux. It was the bespectacled weirdos who read William Gibson, listened to Rush and played Dungeons & Dragons at the weekend who were using Linux. Some of them wore t-shirts that had holes in the armpits and only got their hair cut when concerned relatives insisted on it. For these folks Tux was fine. They got a plush version and put it on their book-shelf next to their plush Cthulhus and Star Trek technical manuals.
Now Linux is becoming a household name and is seen as the socialist’s free alternative to the capitalist dominance of Microsoft Windows and the new-(w)age cult of Apple, it kinda needs something better than a cuddly penguin that says nothing whatsoever about the operating system and just sits there looking like something that helps pre-schoolers with maths.
The majority of the most popular distributions of Linux available today have better logos than Tux, the problem with them is that they only represent that particular distribution of Linux. What we need is a universal logo for Linux. One that says “LINUX” to the world without featuring a cartoon animal or looking like the preserve of people who wear Hush-Puppies and carry a multi-tool strapped to their belt even when they are shopping for groceries.
I’m not a great artist. I’m not even a good artist. I could probably come up with something better than Tux if I put my mind to it, but it wouldn’t be good enough to garner support from the curmudgeonly geeks that populate the Linux world. I’ve always suspected that many of the are secretly against the mainstream popularity of Linux as they feel that Linux is “their” OS, and Tux is “their” mascot and they don’t want folks messing with the inherent image of “their” Linux. These are probably the same folks that look down on anyone who uses a windowed desktop.
What I advocate is this: We have a competition to design a new universal logo for Linux. First prize will be to see your logo everywhere in a few years.