Blog Post

91st running of the Indy 500

Yes, we know the Americans love this race…Oh wait, they used to love this race. It used to be #1 in the US as the most watched sport at any one time, now it is barely hanging on to the top 10. Nascar’s Dayton 500 took that over, and slowly the F1 racing is making its way in. Anyways…

The race has been exciting, a little upsetting, and at the same time, it proved points I made on the Ubuntu marketing list a couple months back that someone checked me on and said I had no clue what I was talking about. Well, the Linux car crashed, that sucks because I have always liked the driver Roberto Moreno. The good thing though, never once did they mention Linux on TV, so there was no “and Linux crashes.” I did see the penguin for all of 2 seconds just under the air intake scoop though, so there are a bunch of screaming kids asking their parents to take them to see “Happy Feet” now πŸ™‚

Rain just moved in and they threw the red flag, hopefully they will get it going because I would really like to see either an Andretti win it or I would like to see Danica. Danica came from now where, back in like 20th place and then all of a sudden she was in third.

So, to Bob, Roberto, and Tom, sorry it ended this way, maybe next year you can do it right and get greater support. Truthfully, hopefully, you won’t go with the Indy 500 though, the race sucks, nobody is watching anymore. Right now the Tennis matches are on TV, the French Open, and they are much more interesting. Time to rethink and rebuild!

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  • To be perfectly honest, I pretty much expected the car to fail miserably as the whole Tux500 ‘project’ was plagued with problems from the beginning.

    Being last in qualifying and starting in the 31st position is nothing to brag about and when I was reading posts on LXer, the Tux500 supporters seemed to care more about the logo being seen than the health of Stephan Gregoire when he got hurt on the 11th.

    I personally feel that the money could have been spent on better things (e.g., The money could have been distributed amongst various FOSS projects).

    Your last post regarding the “Tux500” echoes my sentiments exactly:

    I respect what you tried to do, but I said it from the get go you went about it the wrong way. Sponsorships are not purchased within the final 2 months prior to the race, so I hope you all learn from this.
    The only thing to save Tux from last place is either a 34th car shows up and knocks Tux out of qualifying, or AJ Foyt Jr. does his typical stuff and crashes leaving the outhouses before the race begins. Good luck, but I and many others are laughing in disappointment right now.

    Oddly enough, I can foresee some people jumping for joy and considering it a complete success since the logo was actually seen even if it was for two seconds and 99% of the people watching had no clue what it represented.

  • My sentiments have of course changed a bit over the past month or so as I spoke with the “REAL” marketing people as well as Bob over at Tux500 and I realised just how real the 2 I spoke to were. The project was also unfortunately plagued by helios as he brought a lot of bad publicity to the project and has been banned by some sites. I may not agree with the banning as his freedom to speak was definitely abused by Digg. That is another reason Digg sucks but anyways. My spam filters have all marked him as a spammer and I had to manually select “not spam” with the wordpress filters.

    Anyways, I will go ahead and echo what my nephew and niece said when I said the penguin was on the side of the car, and then they argued that the penguin was Happy Feet. I started that out as a joke, but it surprised me they actually thought it was Happy Feet, that’s kids though. You are right, it did seem the penguin was more of news item than the health of Stephen. Stephen may not be a good driver, but he gave it a shot. I will give him that. Roberto has proven himself a little more over the years and has a great personality. I have had the chance to speak with him in the past at previous races. Fortunately I had the chance to meet with a Debian Developer yesterday, one of the originals, a godfather you might say, so I missed the caravan to Indy today. My dad has repeatedly said the Indy 500 just isn’t the same. He has been going now for about 50 years as we have family members who are team engineers and actually my 2nd or 3rd cousin, whom I have only met a couple of times, tried and didn’t make it in the Indy 500.

    Like you, I think the money could have been spent within the project communities, or with the Free Software Foundation who is helping to fund projects like gnash, free bios, and free video drivers. Putting tux on the side of the car isn’t going to help the community at all, at least that is my opinion. Why? Linux isn’t 100% ready for mainstream (desktop wise) as new switchers these days don’t have the patience for a learning curve.

    Plus you have to look at viewer ratings, the Indy 500 is the lowest ever now, 50% less than what it was not even 10 years ago. The Georges now know that their IRL love has killed the sport, and they have killed the sport. Speed Channel was talking about viewer ratings and it is projected that tonights Nascar race will have more viewers both on TV and at the race. Maybe the Georges need to hang out with the Frances and learn something.

    I got flamed by helios in an email about a comment I made on the Ubuntu marketing mailing list, partly as a joke that stated the whole crashing thing and what not. It was roughly what I posted previously but I have been watching these races for damn near 30 years. I may not know it all obviously, but I know enough to be realistic and not pessimistic or optimistic about certain circumstances.

  • Right now the Tennis matches are on TV, the French Open, and they are much more interesting.

    Yeah, maybe we should have somebody in a giant penguin suit playing tennis πŸ˜€

  • Ben, I am trying to find a Penguin suit! There is a place locally that will make one, they make them for school mascots, but the price is way way out there, over $1000 USD. If I had a penguin suit, I would wear it everywhere. I think walking around Chicago in that, would draw in more attention πŸ™‚ I would of course do it in the fall or the winter, no way I would do that when it is 90f outside πŸ™‚

  • I haven’t talked with Bob or the “real” marketing people behind the project, but if they were that passionate about it, then it is really sad to see that things didn’t turn out so well for them even if the return of investment wasn’t so hot.

    I agree completely in regard to helios. His actions and the bad publicity he created was one of the things that turned me off on the project and seeing things like “If you don’t support the Tux500, you don’t support GNU/Linux” didn’t help matters either.

    I would have skipped the Indy500 for a meeting with an old developer myself. πŸ˜€
    Do you have any plans to post any interesting commentary regarding your time with them? I am sure some interesting topics had to come up. πŸ˜‰

  • Richard Chapman

    “Linux isn’t 100% ready for mainstream (desktop wise) as new switchers these days don’t have the patience for a learning curve.”

    Linux might not be ready 100% ready for 100% of the users, but it sure as hell is 100% ready for 90% of the users. I see no reason why anyone should suffer under Microsoft any longer than they have to. And as far as spending the money in a better way? Your opinions say more about what you are not, rather than what you are. Why don’t you show us what *your* project is and how much money *you’re* raising. Then your opinions about marketing Linux will carry some weight.

  • Moparx, I am sure I will eventually post some cool stuff. Seeing as the gentleman does not live far from me at all, 30 minutes maybe…We will definitely get together and I know there is a lot I can learn from him.

    Richard, 100% ready for 90% isn’t close I am afraid. I do agree that anyone shouldn’t have to suffer under Microsoft and I do believe it is our job to let these users know. Unfortunately putting a Linux sticker on an Indy car isn’t going to do it either no matter how much money they raised. The money could have been spent differently and in a much better way, and I am willing to bet if you started a fund raiser to give back to the people who are leading community development efforts, you would be overwhelmed with money and support. I am a part of many projects and they all raise the money they need to be efficient. KDE, Debian, and Ubuntu are my 3 main projects that I help as a Developer, Jr. Developer, and Documentor for all 3. My opinions for marketing Linux actually have a little bit of oomf behind then seeing as I have been a “Marketing Manager” for 2 such large distributors of Linux operating systems. There is no “correct” way to market Linux, grassroots and gorilla style marketing is the only thing the community has in its favor right now, and these 2 need supporters more than ever. Richard, I do not understand why you brought so much anger with your post and the reason you had to disrespect me, there is no rhyme or reason for it on my blog or anywhere else for that matter. I would appreciate it if you calmed it down a bit and thought about what you are going to write next time as to convey it a little more clearly.

  • Required Name

    Huh, scary. All the Tux500 supporters reply exactly the same way. When told their idea is stupid, instead of denying it and backing it up with proof, they say, “Oh yeah? You think of a better idea!” and if you can’t come up with a better one, than you’re an idiot and should keep your mouth shut. Because apparently it’s much worse to not be able to think of a better idea (giving the money to various FOSS projects doesn’t count) than it is to have a very bad idea, have people tell you it’s a bad idea, go through with it anyway, have it fail, and waste a lot of people’s hard earned money. I’ve donated about $100 to various open-source projects, which isn’t that much, but I’m fairly certain it’s helped support Linux a lot more than the entire Tux500 project.

    Richard Chapman, shut up and get off the internet.

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