Saturday, June 3, 2017

FreeDOS as banner ads

When the Web was young, it was common for projects like ours to create and share images that you could use on your own personal websites, to help advertise and raise awareness. For the FreeDOS Project, the idea of a "banner ad" started when a user sent us his web banner image, and we shared it on the website for anyone who wanted to use it:

To support the concept of shareable FreeDOS banner ads, I created several more banner images, in different styles, that people could download and use for themselves. I originally created in GIMP, in GIF format, then later converted to JPG. But JPG is lossy, so eventually I recreated these banner ad images in PNG format:

The idea of FreeDOS "banner ads" caught on, and others created their own to share. We collected them on our website. The first contributions used the FreeDOS "oval logo" created by our first webmaster, M. "Hannibal" Toal:

Not every FreeDOS banner image used the FreeDOS logo. Some created their own variation on the logo, or just used simple text with a neat font, like these:

Others were less direct with the "FreeDOS" name. It wasn't always very clear that these were FreeDOS banner ads, but they worked well:

We tried to stick with a standard banner ad size, about 486×60, to make it easier to incorporate these images on your own websites. But a few contributors used different sizes, with a slightly taller, more rectangular banner ad:

In August or September 2001, Ben Rouner created a new "blue stamped logo" for the FreeDOS Project. At the same time, Ben contributed two banner ad images:

Not all banner ads were graphics files, like the above. One creative designer created a Flash animation that looped through two images, with a green "wavefront" emanating from the FreeDOS logo to reveal the FreeDOS website address and the tagline "Microsoft DOS Killer." We captured this Flash animation as two images, suitable for FreeDOS banner ads:

Around this time, we started to wonder if FreeDOS should adopt a mascot. If Linux had Tux the Penguin, and BSD Unix had Beastie the Daemon, should FreeDOS have a mascot? And if so, what should it be? I wanted a seal, which I thought would look cute next to Tux (a seal and a penguin, get it?) Then Mike Green submitted a FreeDOS logo in the shape of a fish. He stated the fish was a symbol of freedom. He contributed three banner ads that used his proposed fish logo:

The fish idea was neat, and it sort of caught on. But it wasn't until digital artist Bas Snabilie created his own cartoony version of a FreeDOS fish. His fish was adorable, and we soon adopted this new FreeDOS mascot, and the new logo, in February or March 2004. We named him "Blinky" because of his one googly eye. You can see Blinky as part of our FreeDOS wordmark, on our website and at the top of this blog.

Unfortunately, we don't seem to have any FreeDOS banner ad images that use Blinky. By 2003 or 2004, the whole "banner ad" thing had pretty much run its course. No one wanted to have banner ads on web pages anymore. So we archived the FreeDOS banner ad images, never to be used again.

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