Updated: February 13, 2016
There's an old, popular saying, beware geeks bearing gifts. But in this case, I was pleased to see an email in my inbox, from unixstickers.com, asking me if I was interested in reviewing their products. I said ye, and a quick few days later, there was a surprise courier-delivered envelope waiting for me in the post. Coincidentally - or not - the whole thing happened close enough to the 2015 end-of-the-year holidays to classify as poetic justice.
On a slightly more serious note, Unixstickers is a company shipping T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters, pins, and stickers to UNIX and Linux aficionados worldwide. Having been identified one and acquired on the company's PR radar, I am now doing a first-of-a-kind Dedoimedo non-technical technical review of merchandise related to our favorite software. So not sure how it's gonna work out, but let's see.
My box of goodies included a handful of stickers and a T-shirt, European L size, colored green. As far as clothing items go, I never shop for myself, but all I can say it came in neat order. Sure, it needs washing and such, but it looks like a decent piece of woven fabric. But more about that later. I want to discuss the stickers first.
The stickers come in all sizes, from thumbnail-sized Debian logos to the large and smug Sherlock Tux and an HTML5 shield. All of the stickers are shiny, well printed, and they don't seem like they would run if subject to water, coffee or small amounts blood, although I haven't tested yet with coffee. In all cases, the non-adhesive back is quite thick and sturdy, and it protects the sticker from getting wrinkled or whatnot.
I did struggle a little bit peeling the back off, but that could just be general lack of sophistication on my end. The stickers are of high quality, and the surprise assortment is colorful enough. Mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the available collection.
A Python shedding its skin, oh how witty.
My next step was to take the whole lot to work and hand out some to my colleagues. As I'm normally not one to apply any decorations to laptop lids, I had to defer to my work buddies, and get their opinion on the matter.
There was quite a bit of positive receptions from my work pals. Some of the non-techies thought the HTML5 sticker was some kind of a new and improved Superman logo. Then, a few people applied stickers to their computers, while I watched, listened, and took photographs. And there was much rejoicing.
A laptop in the process of being marked by Tux.
The shirt also looks decent. It's made of cotton, manufactured in India, designed in the UK, and shipped from Italy. And it is a little too big for me, especially around the waist, even though it fits fine in the shoulder area, but I guess that's because the design is a classic one rather than slim fit, which is what I normally wear. Now, that would really complement my sweet European musculature. Also, I'm wondering if the merchandise ships both in US and EU measurements. I could not find any info on the official website. Now, I am saying this as someone with limited knowledge in haute couture, modeling, Zoolander, or alike, so don't lose your temper when reading this!
Does not hug the waist; kernel bug 113,134.
Another thing that came to my mind was the choice of the color. I didn't ask for anything specific, so everything's legit. As it happens, this year, LinuxCon organizers were handing out green T-shirts as well, so now, for the first time ever in my life, I have two green shirts, both Linux-motifed.
I've never considered buying printed merchandise before, but the little escapade with Unixstickers did pique my interest. There's more to it than just showing off or wearing clothes to match software preference. Brand awareness is quite important. Of course, street credit, too. And maybe, somewhere down the road, part of the effort goes toward supporting the community and distributions. I don't know if this is the case, I'd like to believe the collaboration does lead to happy things.
To sum it up, the stickers are sturdy, shiny and cool, and they look like they will endure office abuse and greasy fingers quite well. The shirt is pleasant enough on the skin, but there should be other fits, too, and maybe per-market design. However, if you're into identifying with your operating system, software and community, and you like this kind of thing, there's no reason not to try some of the Unixstickers merchandise. If you ask me, methinks the hoodies and the mugs are probably the coolest of the lot, even though I didn't get to try them. Hint. But there you go. We're done. How did I do?