Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Just a comment for 2009...
I look at this Contest and feel this is a waste of time...
"Why?" you may ask. "Its fun, and gets the word out about Linux!"
Does it really do that effectively? I don't think so.
Let's look at Apple. (As they started this nonsense!)
Apple is successful because their marketing campaign is fresh and simple. It "subtly" pokes at all the common issues that the average computer user experiences in the Windows world...As Homer Simpson says: "Its funny, because its true."
What makes Apple effective as a whole, is that they aim for the user that doesn't give a damn about computers. They don't care about the "nerd porn" details or that its "free", etc. They really don't! They only care if they become restricted (or suffered) in some way. Like DRM preventing them doing something, or malware infection that has destroyed their personal data. (Photos, etc).
What they really care about is things that can allow them to manipulate photos, video, music, etc in a way that produces a result they like in a convenient manner.
As Theodore Levitt, a professor from Harvard Business School, puts it:
"People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole."
For the mass market, "convenience" trumps over everything...Including security. (This is unfortunate, but I'm not saying we should repeat the mistakes of others).
So what of Linux?
Well personally, I think we should aim to be that mature dude who quietly sits in the background, watching two ego driven guys fighting (Apple and Microsoft)...But working hard on improving one's self everyday. He only sees one competitor here: Himself of Yesterday VS Himself of Today...There is no need to make loud noises until we're ready for the world's computer users. We're never on the offensive, but only defend when we're attacked.
You don't want to win people over for a brief period, you want them over permanently. And most of all, you want them to want it for themselves! You don't corner people, you let them accept it on their own accord! No marketing campaign can do this. Only good, solid solutions. (We've got a good foundation to build on).
To merely respond to Apple's campaign, is really doing nothing more than "coming late to the party". You just don't want to convey this message of a lame wannabe imitator that is saying "Me too!" (This is exactly what Microsoft is doing right now...Reacting). Imitators don't get noticed like the original who set the benchmark.
Its like this: How can you give anything worthy, if you really have nothing great to offer?
Just look at Linux "desktop aimed" distros. Are there not lots of little "niggles" (bugs and oddities) that people encounter? Why hasn't anyone addressed these?
Think about it...How would you prefer to answer the following?
When the average Jane/Joe off the street asks: Can Linux play my games or run the applications I need?
(a) Well, first you need to install Wine. And then you need to...
( Yes! Install it like you did in Windows!
(c) Linux includes applications that replaces all these!
See the differences?
From the martial arts perspective...
Do you want to be a "Daniel Larusso" (Karate Kid): Flimsy, barely coordinated, bitch boy?
A "Bruce Lee": Wise, agile, respected, extra-ordinary powerful?
Bruce Lee wasn't born with mystical powers that made him a highly skilled martial artist. He studied, explored, experimented, and trained...HARD! His greatest strengths weren't his physical abilities that we've all seen on camera...It was his discipline; his constant attention to improve and address all his weaknesses until he was satisfied. That's how he became great. So great that he is remembered even after death!
This is what I like to see from Linux. To not waste precious energy on trivial nonsense that means nothing in the long run...But to offer something so special that its own merit outclasses any multi-million dollar marketing campaign from either Apple or Microsoft!