Last chance to prove 'We're Linux' in contest

Linux Foundation's "We're Linux" competition is about close the submission process, but you still have a bit of time to submit a video.

The Linux Foundation's "We're Linux" ad campaign has entered its final hours, with submissions due at midnight Sunday Pacific time.

The Linux Foundation has received more than 40 user-generated video submissions that I and the other judges will begin reviewing next week. The winner will be announced April 8.

To learn a bit more about the Linux Foundation's motivations in starting the contest, I spoke with Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at the Linux Foundation and a founding member of its management team.

Q: The Linux Foundation has built a reputation for connecting closely with developers and the rest of the community, for growing and helping to coordinate the Linux ecosystem. But why run a video contest?

McPherson: The Apple and Windows advertising campaigns have gotten a lot of attention. In fact, during football season I couldn't get away from either of those campaigns. I was expanding our online community tools and realized that we should let the community express their passion for Linux through video.

Of course, we don't have the budget to produce TV-quality advertisements, and in fact we wouldn't take that top-down approach even if we could, but through the contest the community has the power to showcase Linux in their own voice. And it's so natural. Linux is user-generated technology. Why shouldn't Linux also be promoted by the community?

What has the response been so far?

McPherson: I was not prepared for how interesting, varied, and thoughtful a response we'd get. The contest has produced more fascinating content than I ever expected. That being said, these are clearly user-generated, meaning you won't find a lot of professional, polished videos so far. And, yes, some are certainly better than others, but that is part of the fun.

Importantly, each one, no matter how "unique," represents the diversity of the community. Part of that uniqueness derives from the international flavor of many of the submissions. We've received videos from France, Venezuela, and Malaysia, among other countries.

Regardless of the country, the sincerity and extra effort shines through in every video. There is great use of music, including the blues, attempts at 3D animations, and decent touches of humor to top it off.

I can't wait to see them....Is there still time to submit a video?

McPherson: There's still time, but not much: submit your videos by midnight Sunday.

Once you do, be sure to get out the vote. You and the other judges will begin reviewing the videos next week, but community votes and the number of times each video has been viewed will have major influence in determining the winner. One video has already been viewed 15,000 times.

What do laggards need to do to participate?

McPherson: The "We're Linux" contest runs until midnight Pacific Time this Sunday, March it's coming down to the wire, but there's still a little time to get in an entry.

It's pretty simple to do. All you have to do is create a video that explains why Linux is great. Lest you feel overwhelmed, we're not looking for entries of "Lawrence of Arabia" duration: it needs to be under a minute.

For example, you could do a parody of the "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" ads, but that is just one possibility. In fact, most have not gone that route. I'll leave it to you and to the voting community to see for yourselves just how creative the Linux community can be.

It's a contest, so there must be a prize beyond egoboo. Yes?

Yes. The winner will receive a free trip to Tokyo, Japan, to participate in the Linux Foundation Japan Linux Symposium in October 2009.

Just as not everyone is a Linux developer, not everyone is necessarily a filmmaker either. No problem. For those that can't can't contribute a video, we hope they'll enjoy the work of those that have, and will vote. That's what makes community tick.

For the full contest rules and guidelines, visit the "We're Linux" Contest Guidelines page. I'm really looking forward to helping judge the entries.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.