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IBM's Dirty Ad Tactics Bother SF Officials 316

Olmy's Jart writes "From CNN: IBM Seems to have gotten into a bit of trouble with San Francisco city officials over some pro Linux graffiti. They claim their ad campaign is done in "bio degradable chalk" but that, even after a rain storm, "the penguins were still there ... smiling broadly." IBM Advertising Guy (wearing long-hair wig and tie-dyed Tux shirt, dirty jeans): "Hey man, relax, like, y'know? We're all just, like, self-motivated hippies here, right? Be cool, be cool, we'll clean it all up."
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IBM's Dirty Ad Tactics Bother SF Officials

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think I'm going to start painting those icons everywhere... This is the most brilliant thing Ogilvy & Mather has done in a long time--bravo to Big Blue for giving it the go ahead!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's sad that it's always that zealot's loved ones that have to suffer.
  • I watched Cambridge public works people try to get this spam off with powerwashers. It faded slightly but is still clear as day. Chalk my ass. (no, on second thought, don't.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2001 @06:57PM (#277966)
    Let's see...

    we have the ultimate blue chip company, IBM getting in trouble for spraying graffiti advocating a hippie-freak OS?

    I'm going to bed. This day is too weird.
  • In front on the Briazz/Starbucks/Wells Fargo.

    I saw this on the street last Friday! I was laughing so hard.

    I was walking with another sysadmin from my company, and commented that I couldn't believe that this was really IBM.

    Jeremiah Cornelius

  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:15PM (#277968) Homepage Journal
    ...sounds like he'll be celebrating 4/20 Holiday.

    - A.P.

    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • by Alex Belits ( 437 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @10:58PM (#277969) Homepage
    ...for when it just appeared. No one was trying to make Bill Gates clean it though.
  • Damnit, I *knew* there was a reason I'm getting so sexed up on Apple these days.

    Geeze that makes me mad.

    Well, at least it's not the lust for titanium that I thought it was...
  • Oh my god, you are so right. What an amazing plot!

  • Dude, it's not that it's 99% titanium, it's that the titanium in the case, whatever percentage that may be (definitely low), is 99% grade pure titanium...

    Apple. Mind Control. You make the connection.
  • There's lots of graphiti-esque adverts 'round my part of the world (i'm vaguely near Hoxton/Shoreditch in London). I'm completely cool with small clubs or artists putting up "illegal" posters or spray painting things (cool examples: Banksy [], the New Media Arse Media [] series, or the space invader tiles that I can't find the link to), but last summer a sportswear firm came and started spray painting their logo all over the place.

    That pisses me off - they can afford to buy billboards (and, infact, do), so don't put your coroprate logo on the sidewalks - that's not cool and people see right through it. It's not edgey, it's not down with the kids. It's neither big not clever, and it just plain don't work.

    Don't know if they used chalk paint, but, if they did, it's still there...

  • I've counted my fingers and toes and i'm still not there.

    Give me a minute while I take off my pants to see if that helps...

  • Tangent - two examples of ad agencies taking advantage of opportunities which I thought were funny:

    One ad company placed crushed cars around London to promote Godzilla flick. Had police tape and signs saying "Warning: Godzilla was here" (or similar). Insurance company comes along and places sign next to it saying "We cover you against acts of Godzilla".

    Another ad company was recently renovating their London office. Their hoarding's had a sign saying "Bill posters will not be prosecuted". Ad company X, a bitter rival from down the street, placed a huge banner across the hoardings saying "You'll get better service with Ad company X" with an arrow pointing to them.


  • by bmetz ( 523 )
    You're right! We can't have this!

    Quick -- we need a solution!

    Guaranteed to have nothing but mindless drivel, old-school slashdot styleee: []

    (Complete with total editorial bias)
  • I think its about time you actually installed some software on that pc and started using it then.
  • by pb ( 1020 )
    That's actually pretty funny. And I'd like it if you kept posting articles with such decent explanations and interesting articles.

    But then, how could I distinguish Slashdot from, say, The Onion, or BBSpot, or other weblogs with such high journalistic standards?
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • People that know the campaign will recognize it on the sidewalk...

    The [negative] press brings it even more attention. "Any press is good press."

    Sweet, IBM!

  • by mholve ( 1101 )
    "The public works department planned to call IBM Thursday and tell them to scrub the signs off, Mamak said. The infraction is punishable by a fine of up to US$500 or by community service."

    Gee, I wonder if IBM will really feel that $500 on their bottom line? After what, a billion dollars, I think an extra $500 shouldn't be too bad. Unless of course, that was already budgeted. ;>

  • Now that kind of advertising would be priceless!
  • > The infraction is punishable by a
    > fine of up to US$500 or by community service.

    per add, presumably.

    Prosecute them! Make them do community service! For each infraction, force them to replace windows with linux on a municipal machine!


  • It's a biblical reference, of course. Haven't you seen the guy at all those sports game waving his "3:5" sign?


  • There was a saying back then: "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." Probably true. I started coding asm I/O modules on 168s and 370s in '83 for PMSC. IBM was big, brutal, and as bad as MS is alledged today. They were a marketing company that happened to sell computers, etc. Then hey got their fannys smacked by the PC revolution and have managed to make a huge turn. Because they're a big corp, they think like one.

    Don't they have a department working on Apache? At least Open Source can be talked about in their halls. It is openly supported.

    This is a cute campain; unthinkable for them in the '80s. Assuming this paint will wash off, I'd pay the advert agency's bill. The news medias are going to give them lots of free exposure.
  • Time and time again clueless busybodies have attempted to supress elements of the culture that they find objectionable. All the while they only provide an easy pointer for mindless youthful rebellion and contrarians in general.

    They may just be stupid, or they may be highly devious. It doesn't really matter as the end result is the same.
  • I've seen those street graffitos all over Boston. I saw the peace and love symbols and immediately tuned out, thinking this was Yet Another Indy Band stunt (there's a lot of that in Boston). I'm not sure who came up with this, but I don't think this "social protest" for enterprise level software is really going to shake middle America out of its traditional narcoleptic complacency.

    I wonder what future "slogons" IBM will treat us to...

    "UPS Power to the People!"

    "Turn on, Boot up and Log out!"

    "Don't let the pigs make you use Microsoft!"

    "Fsck Authority!"

  • by bis ( 4748 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @08:10PM (#278001)
    ... well, at least the stuff that adorns sidewalks, all over Cambridge. So anyway, one of my roommates and I went outside, to see what the stuff was really made of, and here is the story: []

    this space left intentionally blank

  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:04PM (#278005) Journal
    My Chicago neighborhood is covered with this graffiti as well.
  • $500 fine or community service? Maybe setup an open source bar code scanner system in a soup kitchen?
  • Someone obviously read Upski's book..

    Bomb the suburbs!

    ObJectBridge [] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • I've counted my fingers and toes and i'm still not there.

    Give me a minute while I take off my pants to see if that helps...

    Er. You're a guy, right?


  • IBM used to always be known as a very strict company, where the dress policy didn't allow anything close to casual. What was the cause of the company shifting from this, as they now seem like they've loosened their collars a lot more, spaypainting linux logos on sidewalks and such.

    Well, it simply went from everyone wearing black suits & ties to everyone wearing GAP khakis.

    But still, everyone dresses the same.


  • The problem with Microsoft Astroturf campaigns was that they obscurred both the source of the funding, and the fact that the editorials and things were actually advertisements.

    Neither of these is true in this stunt from IBM. Everybody knows IBM did this. And nobody would mistake these sidewalk drawings for anything but what they are, advertisements.

  • Could some Gimp artist create a desktop background out of these logos? Just a stylish light-gray background with dark-gray peace,love and linux logos...

    Would be very cool.
  • I have seen several examples of this ad-grafiti in the upscale Licoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. I was wondering what kind of weirdo Linux zealot it would take to do such a thing - now I know - IBM.

    The first time I saw it I barely even payed attention - about the third time I figure it out. Subtle ad campaign if ever there was one.

  • The civil penalty is $500, or community service. As long as they could get the $500 judgement per infraction... Although, I must admit, it'd be funny seeing the CMO of IBM doing community service in the Haight-Ashbury area.

    (PS: I submitted this like this morning, and it was rejected-- what's up with that?)
  • Um, we're talking about Marketing here. The amount of money a company would save in alcohol expenses alone over a 60 hour period would pay for itself.

  • Okay, I'll admit it. I thought your website was cute. But the link at the bottom to AOL's OpenSource (so they claim) free WebServer w/ built in TCL ( []) totally floored me. I didn't even know they were putting something like that out.

    How long has it been out?
    Is it based on Apache, or is it their own brew?
    Anyone have more info?
  • Ultimately, the company exists to (gasp!) make money, so RMS and company will probably declare them Evil and yadda yadda yadda.

    Ok folks, once again: RMS is NOT against capitalism. He's NOT against people making money from software.

    He just wants users of software to have the ability to fix and enhance it!

    There are plenty of good reasons for bashing RMS, but this is not one of them. Please stop spreading this FUD.

  • this was announced several weeks ago internally (no surprise, this). I surmise a common reaction within IBM was something like "At least it's not recycled OS/2 Nuns."

    "Peace, Love, Linux" - it's not the subliminal sex, drugs, and rock&roll message of the Windows95 launch, but then again, IBM would _never_ do that (I hope). I believe IBM is communicating the message that it "gets" the synergy of Open Source cooperation, especially about Internet and software standards. I also believe IBM is sincere.
  • I did recognize it. Was quite surprised to see it on various corners in SF.
  • that is a cool idea, can someone make a temporary tatoo for this?

  • what if microsoft did this tomorrow? followed by intel, then coke? then pepsi, and soon every company is spraying?
  • Kinda a west-side / east-side thing.

  • by ljavelin ( 41345 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:07PM (#278056)
    As a computer geek working in an ad agency, I must say that this one worked. Whenever you get serious people to talk about IBM paying $500 fines and community service, you win. The penguin rules the streets.

    OK, I admit it. I want to see Lou Gerstner (IBM's CEO) scrubbin' the sidewalks tomorrow mornin'.

  • Oh yes,

    I can clearly see the nervous IBM Executive standing in front of the judge and waiting for the punishment.

    The judge beeing a former hippie, smiles and read from his paper. "IBM is sentensed to Community service and should in three schools, upgrade the operating systems on all PC's to run Linux."

    The judge looks at the IBM executive and adds "Let this be a reminder that the city can't tolerate this kind of behaivour. If you continue this hilarous act of spraying penguins everywhere, there are some schools for underpriviledged childrens that also needs an upgrade."

    Everyone chuckles and goes back to business.


  • I said it was brilliant, not that I liked it.
  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @08:13PM (#278075)
    You've got to hand it to those marketroids at IBM. Think about it: if the stuff they used to make the ads would have washed away, then only San Francisco people would have seen it. Because they got themselves in minor trouble with the law (or city by-laws), it's heard all over the country via CNN. Every CNN watcher has now heard that "IBM strongly backs Linux".

    This is great for Linux, and it's great for IBM. Somebody at IBM deserves a raise.
  • Jeez, gimme a break. Companies change. IBM has. Are they 100% perfect no, but then what profit minded company can be with the /. crowd ?

    Of course it is in their best interests to do so. They want to be a hardware company like always, and supporting Linux on their hardware is a way for them to point and say you can still use it when they drop driver and OS support for it. It also relaxes the need for them to develop every latest greatest thingy for their systems. Need it now, get Linux or wait.

    That is WHY I think their support is very legitimate. Because I can see at least one profit oriented purpose in it.

    As to applauding this, it sure is funny, and Ironic. Yes it is Ironic with a capital "I". Can you imagine the IBM of the eighties putting up graffiti anywhere, illegally or otherwise ? That is half the fun of it. If you do not remember the old IBM then you really aren't enjoying this to its fullest.

    If you needed proof that _something_ at IBM has changed you just got it. Does it make up for everything they have ever done ? NO. So what ?

    If we don't accept the little changes then we'll never get big ones.

    Enjoy it, as seen on /.,"Its Funny Laugh."
  • Oooops, you're right! ahem ... now everybody knows I'm not a real hippie ;-)
  • So now we have kids all dressing exactly the same to express their individuality, and corporations using graffiti for advertising.

    welcome to the looking-glass world.

  • The did use hot pink for some of them, at least on Van Ness.
  • I was quite surprised to see this graffiti on my way to work. Billboards, yeah, but street graffiti has a rudeness doesn't strike me as IBM-like at all.
  • I've thought for the past year or so that someone should make a 'beatnux' or 'beatnix' distro, with lots of flower-power iconography. Lots of Baez and Beatles.

    Peace, Love and Free Code.

    The thing is, it's kinda scary that this generation's loudest beatnik "stick it to the man" sentiments come in the form of banishing copyrights and civil infringements. What happened to organizing those voices to the things that really matter? Where are the protests against unjustified warfare, civil rights abuses, racial intolerance in our police forces, environmental sabotage, sexual inequality, caste systems, and voter disenfranchisement?

  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @10:07PM (#278090)
    If you want to talk about environmentally wasteful, you really can't get any worse than AOL. Think about all those non-bio-degradable floppies and CD-ROMs you find in your mailbox, in your magazines and, in the case of most of the Slashdot crowd, in your trashcan. Imagine how many landfills those things take up. And then there's all the resources and pollution involved in creating these things. I'd take IBM's pollution over AOL's any day.
  • Saw the stencils spraypainted on the sidewalk at the 14Th Street N/R.
  • IBM's had a relaxed dress policy as long as I've been working for them, which has been damn close to a decade now. Most of the ones who wear the suits do it because they like to wear suits. Some of the outsourcing companies they deal with have more restrictive dress policies than they do and it's not uncommon to see IBMers in shorts and sandals working next to contractors who are forced to wear ties by their VOP companies.

    That being said, there's a very cool component to the company somewhere that I'd love to hook up with...

  • Love, Peace and Goat Porn?

    Gotta admit, it'd be cool seeing a big IT company pushing goat porn...

  • Maybe SF was the beta test sidewalk. Now someone's going to have to open a FITS record on the chalk and send it back to the lab for further development...
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @09:30PM (#278095) Homepage Journal
    IBM is many companies masquerading as one. Many individuals in many different business units Get It. And it seems like somewhere there are some people who actually learned from the company's mistakes with the handling of Team OS/2 (They didn't do a bad job with Team OS/2 when it gets right down to it, but they could have done a lot better.) The whole thing about being keen on open standards isn't an act. They really are keen on open standards.

    On the other side of that coin, I'm sure many people in the AIX teams would rather Linux just went away. I doubt we'll ever see a Linux port of the Lotus Notes Client. There's a very uncool business unit somewhere in the company working on CPRM. IBM will exhibit a split personality as a company because it has one.

    Even if the entire company can tow the same line, it takes a long time for the company to change course. The processes and beurocracy that have evolved insure that the company's not as quick on its feet as RedHat or Lokisoft can be. I started pushing platform planning to think about Linux 5 years ago and they're just now to the point where they're thinking about it.

    Ultimately, the company exists to (gasp!) make money, so RMS and company will probably declare them Evil and yadda yadda yadda. If I can work for them and get paid to enhance this platform, I'm not going to bitch about it. I like programming open source. I like being able to pay rent and eat, too.

  • by jackal! ( 88105 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:00PM (#278096) Homepage
    I would have been happier to read of a penguin invasion of Seattle. They probably get enough rain to not need to worry about cleanup.

  • by inburito ( 89603 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:18PM (#278100)
    Putting up few ads in SF wouldn't result in too much results but make them illegal and, presto, you get free publicity with all the major newspapers getting interested etc.

    Any publicity is good publicity to some but this can't be bad publicity in any case. It's just few harmless biodegradable graffitis that'll wash out in few weeks (or someone from ibm will wash them).

    Calvin Klein (or benetton) got criticised for his provocative ads bringing him even more publicity, how is this any different?

    Very clever, indeed.. It sure made an impression at slashdot.

  • ...for when it just appeared. No one was trying to make Bill Gates clean it though.

    That's because he took the precautionary step of buying the city before he spray painted the sidewalk.

  • IBM's Linux ads feature "hippy" logos from the 60s.

    Therefore, they are targeting people who were young in that era i.e. the managers and corporate leaders of today.

    Therefore, they aren't targeting the "newbies who weren't even alive in the 80s".

    Therefore your theory is bunk.
  • by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:26PM (#278111) Homepage
    Just imagine the uproar this would have caused if people woke up one morning to find DAEMONS spray-painted everything.
  • by The_Messenger ( 110966 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @08:07PM (#278119) Homepage Journal
    I supposed that IBM always counted on the fact that most Linux users are newbies who weren't even alive in the 80's, when they were considered more evil and monopolistic than Microsoft is today. They contribute a little bit of code, mention Linux on their website, and all of a sudden they're the good guys?

    I'll tell you one thing -- anyone that applauds this can NEVER diss Microsoft for astroturfing again. IBM dresses up a guy in tie-die and a wig, paints banner-ads on the streets, and many of you are now ecstatic about the "grass roots" support IBM is showing for Linux?

    But, as always, if you're dumb enough to be fooled than you deserve what's coming to you.


  • IBM says client coming soon (some probs w/ libs). Remember, NOTES is on OS/2, AIX and Mac...all now have *nix desktops (thanx KDE and Gnome!) and now IBM will port to Linux. DB2 client/server==there...WebSphere Server==there...httpd==there (and FREE (gratis, not libre))...JDK==there...jikes==there...550 total sponsored OSS projects (and growing==THERE...Iron Penguin (Linux on a zOS/z390 LPAR)==there...u want more????YOU COULDN'T HANDLE MORE!!

    While you are waiting for a proper Lotus Notes client port to Linux, you could do a lot worse than run Lotus Notes under Wine. I've migrated my development (DB2 UDB) desktop machine to a dual boot (WinNT/Linux) and since I got Lotus Notes on WINE running smoothly, I haven't rebooted into WinNT for over three weeks.

    In my experience, Lotus Notes runs nearly seamlessly since the December 2000 WINE release. Currently its running on a 20010326 release compiled against a 2.2.19 kernel and I swear its more stable on WINE that it was on NT. Everything seems to work - mail, calendaring, attach/detach - hey even the Notes web browser works.


    Toby Haynes

  • I like the campaign, I think it's cool. So how long untill we get to buy into the conspiracy with Peace Love and Linux grafiti templates of our own? Or at least shirts.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • is pasting "99999" posters on vertical surfaces, including construction fences.

    This has got to stop, or we'll have corporate advertising on every publicly visible flat surface. To see what this would look like, go see "Josie and the Pussycats", the movie that answers the question "How much product placement can you cram into a single film?".

  • Bah. Nobody else is going to do this tomorrow. This was a specific theme, with a specific idea. It worked once, but nobody's going to appreciate it at all next time. The next company that tries it will be scorned as inconsiderate and unimaginative. By the time a third company tries it, the legal and law enforcement systems will have caught up with them, and it will no longer be worthwhile - you'd alienate your customers and be severly punished for doing so.

  • so I don't know what they expected to do except perhaps make the whole thing look like a community groundswell (which, of course, I thought it was until now).

    (late to the thread so no one will see this of course, but) Actually the community groundsweel looks to be getting pissed at IBM just like in SF. I live in that neighborhood, and I ran into my landlady talking with a nieghbor and they were both prety irked. This is just a dumb thing for a corporate entity to do. The streets of Sna Fran or Cambridge are not a college campus that anyone can go drawing on to let us know about their cool new event. And the stuff is not chalk, its not coming off. What a bunch of gits.

    Kahuna Burger

  • by ejbst25 ( 130707 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @07:04PM (#278132) Homepage
    Rumor has it that we IBMers are being offered $ to get these tatooed on our foreheads too.
  • A lot of people on /. will probably not understand your post. See us/eastvillage/cs/basquit/ [] for some background. I wouldn't have understood it either, except that several years ago a friend invited me to an art house cinema to see the movie.

    Need XML expertise? crism consulting []
  • Surely a corporation as large as IBM must have a sidewalk they could use for testing purposes. I sure hope they test their software better than they tested the chalk.

    Need XML expertise? crism consulting []
  • Because the part that sticks up is SUPPOSED to be longer. It isn't a Mercedes symbol with an extra bit, it's a peace sign.

    The question SHOULD be why does the part that sticks down appear to have horizontal stabalizer fins.

  • by SupahVee ( 146778 ) <> on Thursday April 19, 2001 @10:34PM (#278146) Journal
    If they REALLY wanted to make their mark, IBM would have done it on the streets of Seattle, more specifically, Redmond.

    I'm sure Bill's little head woulda just popped if someone had painted "Peace/Love/Linux" on the Microsoft moniker in front of the building. *grin*

  • by e_n_d_o ( 150968 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @09:46PM (#278149)
    IBM's investing a billion bucks in Linux...well, okay, maybe they're investing a billion bucks in their Linux strategy. If IBM becomes a leader in the Linux industry they will have to make the Linux industry quite a bit bigger in the process. I think this could be a very good thing.

    Right now, pretty much anyone who is pushing Linux is a good guy to me. Anyone who helps Linux cut into Microsoft's market share by another percentage point has my vote. One more Linux (or any other *NIX) server instead of one more NT server increases the chances that my pager won't go off at 2:30am and I'll actually get a full night's sleep.

    I don't really care what stupid ideas they have to use to get people to buy into it. I don't think anyone is truly going to be fooled into believing this crap except maybe the PHBs who got sold on using a desktop operating system on the server a few years back. These are the people that make the decisions and will fall for this kind of shit, so lets just pray they do.
  • IBM used to always be known as a very strict company, where the dress policy didn't allow anything close to casual. What was the cause of the company shifting from this, as they now seem like they've loosened their collars a lot more, spaypainting linux logos on sidewalks and such. When did this change occur or is it just starting now? IBM seems to be pushing the limits of advertising, something that they probably wouldn't have done 10 years ago. Not even the .com's spray painted sidewalks. Maybe if they did they would have stayed in business.
  • IBM have played by the rules for a lot longer than they've been supporting Linux. They really seem to have reformed and IMO their Linux support is a sign that they get it rather than the under-handed attempt to deceive people you make it out to be. Corporations do change. It could even happen to MS, although not until Bill is dead and buried I expect.
  • This is great for Linux, and it's great for IBM. Somebody at IBM deserves a raise.

    Yeah, except the sidewalks of major cities are trashed up with corporate graffiti. What a way to raise my standard of living/quality of life.

  • Bring him on!
  • Except it's true! These are all over downtown SF.

    They're pretty funny, but come on - it's annoying enough when some radical activist types spray paint the sidewalk, but for a major corporation to be doing it is just lame.

  • movie posters have been posted like this since - oh, I dunno, the day movies were invented? Why do you think fences have "Post No Bills" signs?
  • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @09:29PM (#278179) Journal
    HELL YEAH they *are* the good guys!!
    well, some of them anyway. What you don't realise is that back when IBM were the bad guys they emploed different people.. now they are employing cool linux geeks and putting $1,000,000,000.00 into linux.

    The way I see it, IBM is now made up of different groups of people and some of them are really cool. You even see evidence of confrontations between the different factions within IBM.. Look at THIS []
    The do have good guys there :) they even pull in the reins on their layers for god sakes... How many companies do you see doing as much as they do for opensource.. granted not the entire company is made up of good guys, but a good portion of them do seem to 'get it'.

    IBM will do great things for linux. Yes, because it suits them, but I don't mind.

    "just connect this to..."

  • Someone tell Tux to get a haircut and go get a job! I'm not going to support any lousy hippy penguins.

    I think that Sid said it best in Sid & Nancy, "None of that free-love hippy shit here!" I think that the Linux community needs a new mascot, especially in light of the recent IBM support. We can change the name to Hard-working-nux and the mascot can be a tall white vietnam soldier with short hair. There's a mascot that we can be proud of! You won't see hard-working-nux defacing America with filthy love and peace. hard-working-nux will come back from Vietnam in time to find a nice job and support his 1.5 kids and a wife.

    OMG, it's late and this post is acually pretty stupid.

  • by Raster Burn ( 213891 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @06:58PM (#278194)
    I bet the local gangs were worried someone was taking over their turf. Actually, they were probably just really, really confused.
  • It strikes me that this is a lot like spam. It's extremely cost-effective because you don't have to pay for the medium and the clean-up costs are imposed on someone else. And like spam, it's not drowned out in noise only because most people have the consideration not to do it.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • Hey, they got far more press coverage by breaking the law than they would have with a conventional, legal, ad campaign. $500 fine is nothing, especially if it "enhances" IBM's new image as a devil-may-care rebel.
  • Let's see here... monopolistic MNC begins spray painting cities with its logo. Illegaly.

    If this were Microsoft, you people would be none too happy. We would be happy that someone was using the law against their (illegal) marketing tactics. That is why this is a good article. It shows government officials standing up for citizens rights to not have their privacy constantly violated by invasive advertising pervading every aspect of their lives.

    I applaud the city officials of San Francisco and cheer them on their fight to defend the rights of the citizens they are sworn to protect from disgusting commercial practices like these.

    Whatever marketroid came up with this should be tried and held accountable for these crimes.

  • I live in the Sf area and I have seen these peices of art. They do not come off easily, I tried. But I like this idea. I like cult advertising. Apple started it and they took all their cues from The Church of Scientology.
    So I assume slashdot will hate this type of advertising. Who knows...

    Are you on the Sfglj [] (SF-Goth EMail Junkies List) ?
  • go out and start graffitiing(is this a verb?) linux penguins everywhere. IBM can take the blame, but more people will think that linux is hip and cool cuz they see it sprayed somewhere in the city. What about doing this at universities? I know that linux use is more prevalent there, where students can get a free OS that doesn't crash!!
    Well, gotta go get some spray paint...
  • who weren't even alive in the 80's, when they were considered more evil and monopolistic than Microsoft is today.

    Who mod this troll up?

    You sounds as if you know IBM pretty well, but hell no. I'm a former employee of IBM and I've been dumped by IBM like shit during 90's so I've no intention to speak well of them, but what you said is not even close to the truth.

    IBM had invested a lot on computer technologies and funded many research organizations during 80's. They also submitted many research results to standard bodies. Yes, they patented most of them, but many standards are widely used nowaday. If you couldn't name even one of those you probably skipped lectures.

    They contribute a little bit of code, mention Linux on their website, and all of a sudden they're the good guys?

    IBM always funds researches.

    The technologically competitions in 80's were so healthy. IBM's monopolization on mainframe during that time was not due to its marketing strategy, but their superior in technologies. They did not deliberately crush those competing with them, otherwise HP, DEC, Wang's would have little chance to share the mainframe market.

    How could you compare Microsoft now with IBM in 80's? I don't remember IBM blindfolded their customers with close source products(all mainframes' OS are sold with source, at least at that time), or 'embrace and extend'(steal and modify) technologies, or penalized their distributers for selling other brands, or charges US$230 per question(on the bugs in win2k) at telephone support(3 questions minimal).

    IBM fell in 90's due to the brilliant minds of those management who closed a lot of research projects because they wanted to 'focus on marketing strategy'. Well done. They seem to wake up now, and walk the right path again

  • by slashBastard ( 256796 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @02:43AM (#278237)
    Not to mention the fact that America's top golfer is black and the top rapper is white!
    ------------------------------------------ -------- ---
  • I know why SF is mad about this and wants IBM to knock it off. It's not even really the matter of grafitti, it's the matter of free advertising. If they let this go unpunished then all the dumb .comers will think this is a GREAT cheap way to advertise. Remember, these are the same guys that think bulk e-mail is a good sales tool. There would be a frenzied rush to put ads on the side walk, soon all available space would be used up! The .comares would grow frantic and start beating eachother to death with lead pipes [] in a frenzy to get any available space!!! So to aver.....

    Wait, hang on..... Spammers beating each other to death.....

    So in conclusion, the city of SF is evil and wrong. IBM should be allowed to proceed as they wish, as should all the little companies. When the lead pipes come out, things will turn out for the best.

  • Should be glad IBM are on the Linux band wagon. Imagine the graffiti if they were advertising BSD. Peace, love, and a little satanic evil looking horny creature all over your sidewalks.
  • My first reaction to this was, "this is the same IBM my father used to work for?" I remember Dad coming home from work one day in the early 70s and announcing that he was now going to be allowed to wear light blue shirts - they didn't have to be white anymore! A very conservative company, driven by the numbers.

    Now, think about this little campaign. Ad space is expensive. It costs money to print up the ads, and to place them on billboards, park benches, bus stops, or whereever. By fining them $500, the city of San Francisco has effectively put a price on sidewalk advertising, and it's bloody cheap. The stencil couldn't have cost too much to make, and they can do a lot of sidewalks with it.

    Another poster compared this with SPAM. I can see the connection, I suppose, but if IBM pays the $500 fine, then that will cover the cleanup expenses, and I have a feeling they budgeted for it all along.

    So, this was actually a carefully thought-out strategy, focused on the numbers and free publicity, with a light-hearted twist to keep it different. Anyone remember the IBM commercials with the cast of M*A*S*H (for the PS/2, IIRC)? We're definitely looking at the same company!

  • They sprayed these on the mission sidewalks as well
  • what color is the yuppie zone? I saw em on 17th and on mission at 20th or so
  • Just as future advice, and not to berate you at all, but people don't typically take to cleaning things off of sidewalks using paper towels. I agree they are very handy.
  • "Love, Peace and Linux" makes so much more sense than "Love, Peace and IBM" doesn't it?

    How about "Love, Peace and Microsoft"? Uh.. maybe not ...

    "Love, Peace and Faceless Corporations" ??

    "Love, Peace and the U.S. Government"????


  • by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Thursday April 19, 2001 @09:18PM (#278259)
    Personally, I like seeing these ad campaigns. I see this refreshing billboard all over Si Valley, and the only other one that sticks in my mind is some vile Microsoft ad touting 99.999% uptime and the coveted 5 nines as if anyone knows what they are talking about.
    I think that using guerilla marketing strategies such as placing graffiti on sidewalks is and excellent idea, considering the campaign fall in place with technology based on Open Source ("Free") software. So, as my logic would have it, it's nice to see free software be advertised using free techniques.
    I see all sorts of graffiti lying around on sidewalks of San Francisco, particularly the Haight-Ashbury section - it's a interesting mix of pseudo-hippy crap clashing with encroaching yuppies. This IBM campaign is an intellectual break from the mindless dribble more frequently found in these places.
    So instead of boring us with another set of made up numbers, IBM uses a refreshing way of reminding us what they are doing at the moment - and I like it - I feel compelled to smile at that penguin every time, even though I like BSD flavors much better because they are more coherent than Linux distributions.
    I find it interesting that the big blue whose position in the industry is pretty much anchored is making strides to have a fresh face and participate in the whole 'open' movement. Strides in Apache and Java come to mind in particular, I know at my company most of Java developers us the IBM development tools. IBM also embraced the Linux kernel very early on and makes laptops that come with Caldera on them (T22).
    Peace, love and Linux, right on. For once there is an ad from one of the big boys that doesn't have any lies in it.
  • Searching in google for "spray chalk" led me to this []. Did IBM say it would biodegrade quickly?

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.