Some of the photos were used in the campaign and some are selects and just a fraction of the thousands of images I took whilst on the road for a month photographing the various Linux communities)
All images copyright Jamie Robinson
Open source software, computer geeks, inside the minds and life of the cyber guys
They were a community, they saw themselves as pioneers outlaws, mavericks, saviours. They were also making money and I spent a month with them and shot an ad campaign called "Peace Love & Linux" in 2001 for IBM.
free software, new technology, taking it back from Bill. Open source Brave New World but with revolutionary values. From what I gather about it now, it seems more like a quiet evolutionary thing with Linux. Now specially being taken up in developing countries such as China and India
The Photos taken April 2001 for a campaign beginning September 2001 Now, only two years on and it’s a retro thing as the world has moved on, technology shares have plummeted, internet start ups hve collapsed and the brave new world has faltered.
I shot in Sanfrancisco, San Jose, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Berlin, Tokyo. I will revisit and film here
We shot install fests in Sanfrancisco, Linux users people who were passionate about Linux and Open Source we were invited to some peoples houses Like Deirdres ( where all the fat people, burnt burgers on the bbq, there was Duncan the young cyber kid and all the knitting etc) A babe such as Mai Lee,"I wont have that man in my house" talking about Bill Gates. For many in the community she is a rarity where aesthetics are extraneous here there’s a ton of coca cola and pepsi on ice in the bath tub, fast food and people programming all night. The Linux community is very obsessive and not the most healthy obsessions either. Sanfrancisco was very loose, easy. All generations breathed and lived Linux from Cool Dudes raking in the money running the company systems, programmers striking it lucky to purist obsessives,
people would meet at libraries computer book shops, friends houses and bring their computers. Many would bring old IBM’s San fran was like a movie more than a movie, Linux the movie. people were definitely way out there. Linux a kind of religion an obsession no more grateful dead and acid its all in the chip man thats where we are now In there!!! pointing at the screen of the 286!!! that’s how powerful Linux is.
Stockholm and Berlin was more hip, groovy, young kids a younger generation. Music and graphic design with passion, again all night install fests in Stockholm where many of the geeks predominately male were very coy about what they were doing. Many of them former hackers these are the wizz kids mavericks free riders pioneers but not groovy long haired chopper riding joint smoking chain weilding hipsters of the sixties. These are gangly, goofy, flabby, geeky, pale and spotty, obsessives, amphetamine swallowing plugged in raiding and developing systems, and programmes to create the utopia and freedom the potential to what technology aspires to in a free world. a revolutionary evolution run better if a programm could be improved it would be and why should one person own that! Think of buying a car and there are only two makes to choose from! think Lada and Trabant think the Iron Curtain think Microsoft and Apple, the silicon curtain.
The big IBM HQ in Stuttgart saw Karl Heinz put linux on to the IBM server and the hard core the purists feel they have been sold out to another conglomerate.
In Japan all suits and laptops the Linux evolution developed passionately but more orderly. You see, Linux is free to improve it. it works better, it’s more stable, it’s additive, constantly improving and as people develop it, It’s used not through romance or grudges, or sense of heady adventure and community, but rather boringly because it’s cheaper to run than microsoft and it does the job, which is why so many third world companies are using Linux to run their servers, pay a geek or two to keep everything up and running no need to buy expensive microsoft packages and keep developing it for your specific taylored requirements. Linux is only a tool it’s a good one.
Copyright Jamie Robinson