Plat'Home, Linux pioneers in Japan and creators of the diminutive OpenMicroServer, are running a contest called "Will Linux Work?" They are basically asking people to submit crazy/extreme environments or ideas using their Linux servers and see if they work. Whoever has the best idea will get 5 of their OpenMicroServers shipped to them for free and be able to test their idea -- you can find all the details here.
The contest is going live tomorrow (Friday, Aug 1) and will run until September 5th.
I just finished testing the OpenBlockS microserver and would have to say that it is interesting. Its applications are many and its footprint small--just a little larger than a standard computer mouse. The device has two Ethernet connections and comes ready to serve--web pages that is. Its management interface is web-based also.
It runs a special SSD (Solid State Device) Linux with thttpd 2.25b as the web server. It can also serve as a DNS server, mail server, FTP Server, Telnet Server, DHCP server, and Firewall.
I think this little device and its big brother, the OpenMicroServer, have a lot of potential for small to medium sized businesses or even for larger companies who use instrumentation at remote sites or in harsh environments. At $499, it isn't cheap but it is well made and has a lot of possibilities.
I will be competing against you in this contest because I already have some ideas for its use. Yep, you'll be going head-to-head with the ol' Linux guy himself. Let's see if you can beat me at my own game.