Linux Foundation celebrates 30 years of Torvalds' kernel with a dry T-shirt contest

Artistic types invited to submit their designs – under very specific guidelines


The Linux Foundation, not satisfied with a model that sees world+dog invited to contribute to the open-source kernel that bears its name, is asking for help on another project: designing a T-shirt to celebrate 30 years of the software – and we have little doubt El Reg readers will have some suggestions.

The competition, announced in the run-up to the Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference 2021 this September, aims to celebrate three decades since Linus Torvalds revealed in August 1991 he was working on what he described in a post to the comp.os.minix Usenet group as "a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like GNU) for 386(486) AT clones."

The first official version of Linux, 0.02, was announced by Torvalds in October that year.

That's the history. Back to the T-shirts.

"Submission designs," the Linux Foundation noted in its announcement this week, "should centre around the 30th Anniversary of Linux theme in some capacity" – a theme which has seen the organisation publish 30 stories highlighting Linux's impact, each one associated with a penguin adopted from the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds in honour of the Linux mascot Tux.

From those designs submitted, the Linux Foundation's judging group will pick three to be put to a public vote for an overall winner who will be treated to a prize bundle: airfare, hotel, and a conference ticket - COVID permitting. Before anyone gets ideas about flying first class, the total of this prize must not exceed $4,000. The winner gets a choice of attending the Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference 2021 or the North America, Japan, or Europe equivalents in 2022.

The Linux Foundation, for its part, will flip the winning design into a physical shirt which will appear for sale alongside its in-house efforts at creating a celebratory image people may choose to purchase and wear.

Before anyone decides to put crayon to craft paper and scrawl an entry, it's worth going over the rules: the designs need to be provided in the proprietary Adobe Illustrator (.AI), or open Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS) and Scalable Vector Graphic (.SVG) formats, which the foundation confusingly asks to be 300 dots per inch (DPI) in resolution despite vector graphics not having a native resolution measurable in DPI.

It must use Pantone Matching System (PMS) spot colours, and no more than eight at that; have clean and crisp edges; be suitable for printing no larger than 11×13" (around 28×33cm); have any fonts converted to outlines prior to submission; and be suitable for use on a navy blue garment.

If anyone can actually make their way through that list and still muster up the energy to submit an entry, full details are available on the Linux Foundation website.

For those who can't but who would still like to exercise their creative muscles, please do leave your suggestions – suitable for print and otherwise – in the comments. ®

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