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Tux500 scam - news and links history

Date/Time Permalink: 04/17/07 02:44:55 am
Category: General

To save you over ONE-THIRD of a million dollars, I'll take some drastic measures.

Briefly: http://linux-blog.org/ , hosted by devnet, and http://blog.lobby4linux.com, hosted by helios, have been pumping a scheme to drive the Linux community to donate $350,000 to this site: http://tux500.com/ to get a Linux-sponsored car into the Indianapolis 500 race by memorial day. As of 3:55 AM 4/17/07, the donation meter stands at $5,160 and change (six hours after this post went up, they put up a new image.) a figure I'm not too certain about since it's a static image (right-click on it!).

Recognize this meter?
get your own thermo_php at tux500!
Well, if you go to tux500 and right click the meter and pick save, the browser will offer to save this STATIC IMAGE as "thermo,php"! What kind of program generates an image file with a name like that? None, it would have to be created and saved under a name that makes it look like some kind of script. Because it's fake like everything else about these scam artists!

UPDATE 5/9/07: I told you so! helios himself posts:

we have some logistical problems to deal with and they are huge. first off, the two kind gents that are auditing the books for tux500... They not only have to watch the ins and outs of the paypal account, they have to do daily calculations for the merchandising store.

We have probably lost over two thousand dollars in check and money order donations.

Due to some PayPal issues, updating statictics currently requires manual intervention. It may take some time for your donation to appear in the totals.

Ooooh, so it looks like it wasn't a script hooked up to paypal after all... The question this points to is: how much money have they REALLY collected? We will never know.

It is a bright red warning flag when an organization makes *this* many excuses about their book's accuracy. Do they not use computers? Can they not do math? I use PayPal every day through working freelance, and I at least have no problems knowing how much money is in my account and where it came from. A ten-line PHP script can scrape all the data you need to know.

Now, consider all of this "grass-roots interest" they keep claiming. That wouldn't have anything to do with their repeated little plots to "Digg-storm", now would it?

In my last post, I say the story appear everywhere around me at once, and joined many commenters on many sites in wondering if this was for real. I posted that, just asking a question, and forbid helios and devnet to post while the rest of us think it over. No, I didn't mention names... I made sure they knew who they were. Of course, one of them immediately had to come and squawk, so that made up my mind to dig deeper, and deeper, and deeper...

Read this list yourself, visit the links. If some of the links disappear, use Google cache. No cache, see if the Wayback Machine caught it.

I'll be adding to this, I'm working all night, here.

Googling "Tux500" produces these hits:

LXer Tux500.com Logo Design Contest. - Let's Go To Indy!
helios - as far as I've seen, it's just helios posting this story to LXer.

ArchLinux forum
helios, just joined, 2 posts

Rootly story
posted from LXer

syndicated from LXer

Debian forums - "Debian holds onto slight lead"

"Lobby4Linux announced an ambitious project to raise $350,000 or more to
sponsor 'Team Linux' with a big logo on the side of an Indy 500 race car.
The Tux 500 project combines the efforts of volunteers at Lobby4Linux,
Bob Moore, a visible GNU/Linux administrator, and Acceleration Marketing
to sponsor the race car."
NOTE replies: WHO is Rich Johnson?

Rich Houston's blog
quoting the LXer story

"Lobby4Linux has been a critic, and a sometimes harsh critic of the
community in this area. For good reasons. Efforts to gather the talent
for commercials, the pre and post production assets and the logistical
headaches have all been gathered and done by L4L."

Tux500.com Logo Design Contest. - Let's Go To Indy!
Syndicating LXer

Yahoo 360
A quote from somebody big in 360, there:
"No, I'm not recommending or inviting anyone to join the Tux 500
effort. Sponsoring race cars is a risky business unless you're one of
the top teams in the sport. It may look like it's the thing to do when
you look at all the big brands that pay to put their names on race
cars, but unless it's part of a well-planned marketing campaign, it
can be like throwing money down a rat hole: you aren't guaranteed any
return on your investment or even a moment's satisfaction for
participating. For me, Tux 500 is just something that scratches a
personal itch."

News Hamster
Feeding from LXer

helios introduces himself as "Ken Starks"
Wednesday 4/11/2007: "A recent announcement via LXer.com from this
blog officially announced the kickoff of the Tux500 Project." 'this
blog' points to his own site.
Monday 4/16/2007
"This project has the potential to 'bust Linux wide open', as an
associate of mine is fond of saying. It is beginning to look like we
will need your hammer in order to do so. And before you reply with it,
I think the general public knows as well as the Marketing Expert
I'm just including this because, well, I *feel* busted wide open, but not in a good way.
...and with one(1) comment by "Richard Chapman":
"Just as others are clueless about computing freedom, we seem to be
clueless about marketing freedom. You have handed us a clue bat Ken
and we've just stood there as the first ball zipped by. Steeerrrike
one! Wake up people. It's not going to happen without your

This names 'Bob Moore' and 'Acceleration Marketing', indicates the tux500
site is launched by 'Bob Moore'
But here's the http://www.accelerationmarketing.net/profile.html
profile at A.M. - why is the only guy mentioned on the site "TED WOERNER "?

Posted from 'Bob Moore'

Debian forums: "This is Important to the community - official press release"
posted by helios

LXer "view posts by helios"

Post: "Attention Vector Community...you might find this interesting"
with links pointing back to lobby4linux

Mepis forum post - "An exciting event for the Community"
"This is an official Press release so please, don't call it spam. No
one is selling ANYthing here." - helios again

Digg profile of bobm0831
Member Since: April 10, 2007
Just two stories submitted... guess what?

Digg profile of 'Brianne'
Member Since: April 10, 2007
3 stories dugg - submitted 0 commented 1
all on our favorite subject!

"Yet Another Linux Blog"
OK guys! Here comes devnet, the stupid one! Ready
for a laugh? Here's what devnet has to say:
"Indy 500 and Linux Not Newsworthy?"
"There's a HUGE piece of news out there for Linux as an operating
system...and I have only seen it published on Lxer.com, Linuxtoday.com
Geeee, that does sound newsworthy!

Note the car picture... calling all 3D render (Blender, POVray, etc.)
experts! Is this a picture of a real car?

SWIK.net? Seems to be a mirror of "Yet Another Linux Blog"
right down to these handy
"Reference Websites:

1. blog.lobby4linux.com
2. lobby4linux.com
3. tux500.com

TechieM2net with a certificate problem?
Note the "Top Exits": just two listed, lxer.com and tux500.com
The "archives" list three months, but if you click them, they consist
of two posts total! One Indy500 one, and a rambling Net Server story
by "Mark II"

There's that same car picture again!

helios "thank you Brian" links to the target sites again

The posts of somebody named 'Jay'... all to Da-Taste (see above site)

HOWTOforge - a site that is supposed to be for posting tutorials only
Half-way down is a helios link: "An open letter to Corporate Linux"
get the tagline:
"It was decided by a few that I can say with assurance that this
letter represents millions of Linux Users."
I didn't know Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy used Linux!

One more, this one is priceless:
Fedora Community Forums, named "Jim Tate" but I smell helios AGAIN.
Before they even discuss that they think it's a scam, first they're bitching him out for spamming the forum (he even admits that he did the wrong thing, does it anyway)

Odd behavior for a guy also doing all these other charitable works (?) It seems more than one man can do, even with donations, even with devnet maintaining the site for him.

I'm cutting it off here for the night after four pages of search results. I've found steps to more I'll cover later.

At this time, I would like to extend a request to the Linux community: please, prove me wrong! Find SOME PROOF, not just a link to a link to a link to devnet or helios, but real, irrefutable proof, that I am barking up the wrong tree.

Is there ANYBODY to this but devnet and helios?

tux 500 3D model

Is there ANY car besides this mock-up picture? Which, by the way, looks a lot like this car posted in Spread Firefox.com, by "Acceleration Marketing" who was... well, read the thread, it's hilarious. Same deal: salesman flashes model, quotes price, everybody else says that's the stupidest idea they've ever heard, salesman pumps and pressures and badgers trying to get them to say yes. Won't even hear other ideas, won't even go for NASCAR instead of Indy (because it's easier not to get caught in the Indy circuit???).

Can anybody get this Stéphane Grégoire on the phone?

An Indy500 insider?

Has anybody done business with this "Acceleration Marketing", which, if you search for it on Google with quotes, so recently said "Our site is currently under construction. Please check back soon. 11805 N. Pennsylvania Street, Carmel, IN 46032."? In fact, try entering accelerationmarketing.net into http://searchdns.netcraft.com/ ... and get nothing.

Has anybody donated money? Did you get a receipt?


OK, I'm closing comments because of devnet, I'm getting spam faster than I can delete it.

Some of you might wonder, "why do I care?" For years, these two have also been the source of at least half the bickering in the Linux community. Look at those forums, look at the guests getting annoyed with them. They are relentless pests, to the Linux community as well as the Internet at large. Generally, I care for the same reason that I want to eradicate spam! But I am also outraged that a third of a million dollars is being stolen by these greedy thieves that could go to REAL CHARITIES, like the Free Software Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or even wherever people damn please to spend their money when they aren't being bullied about it.

Well, then, there'll be more later. My only other choice is to sit by and watch people be robbed blind, or be insulted and bullied if they resist. If my fellow members of the technology freedom movement are to be bullied, then I insist on being first in line for it. I ask each of you to dig deeper into this investigation on your own, if your community pride means anything to you.

The full series on the tux500 scam:
Is the Tux500 racecar advertizing project a scam? Just asking the question...
Tux500 scam - news and links history Showing the circular links and promotion.
the tux500 scam of the Linux community A blogger cracks, more false promotion, an example of a racecar advertising scam perpetrated recently in NASCAR.
WHY the tux500 promotion is a pump-and-dump scam An in-depth analysis of driver stats, and some very serious cases of extortion, threats, slander, and intimidation on the part of the scammers.
The Final Analysis of the Tux500 Scam The source of the news story on indy500.com. A final summary.
Further Developments since I broke this story:
Dear Newsforge: I am not devnet. Newsforge links to devnet and says that's me. Best thing to happen to devnet and worst thing to happen to me. Other developments.
DC Parris of LXer to Linux community member: shut up! I wouldn't have half the problem with these thugs, if they didn't abuse EVERYBODY who crossed their path.
tux500 crew caught rigging Digg - with screenshots! Somehow, even documented proof of their own admission of blatant spamming fails to get them shut down. Wake up, Internet!
Are the tux500 people really all THAT bad? Or, why being on tux500's case 24/7 is one of the most important and necessary things I've ever done.

Give some consideration to chronological order. At the beginning, I was groping around, and chased a lot of dead ends before I honed in on the important facts.

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