I’m a huge GNU/Linux fan and I like to think of myself as a FOSS advocate. So I chose an image of Tux to emblazon on my new credit card. There is some opaque process for determining which images can be used and which cannot, due to licensing issues. Unfortunately my image was flagged and denied, falling under “Celebrities such as actors, musicians, athletes, or cartoons.” Now certainly Tux may be a celebrity, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use his glorious image! I mean, look at that mug!
So not wanting to give up, I call in to appeal the decision. That’s when things got funny:
Me: The image on the card is a cartoon penguin named Tux. Not like a cartoon you’d see on television though. He is the Linux mascot. Are you familiar with Linux?
Capital One CS: No response.
Me: Linux is a free, open source operating system for your computer. It is free to use, modify, share or sell. The image is free to use. I know it can be a funny concept for some people.
Capital One CS: Ok, and the organization is?
Me: … There is no organization, Linux can be freely downloaded, used and modified by anyone, no one necessarily owns or controls it.
Capital One CS: And this is legal?
Me: *chuckles* Yes, it certainly is.
How about that? I’ve heard of people receiving this exact response before, but it is absolutely stunning to hear it myself. What does that say about our culture? Especially the culture in technology and software. It is certainly disappointing, but I will admit, there is a part of me that feels a glowing pride, knowing that Linux is so awesome, so mind bending to the common person, that hell, it might not even be legal. These days, let’s ensure that it remains that way.