Are you up for the challenge of creating the industry’s most innovative virtual appliance? VMware invites you to put your skills to the test, go head-to-head with your peers, and develop the best virtual appliance the industry has ever seen. Using open source or freely distributable components and/or your own code, create the most inventive and useful virtual appliance and win the $100,000 first prize! The Challenge is open to anyone worldwide and will be judged by a panel of industry experts with input from the community.,http://www.vmware.co...ppliances/challenge/[link from slashdot.org]
the concept of a virtual appliance is a bit confusing - basically the vmware player program let's you share a complete copy of an operating system and the programs on it and distribute it. so basically the contest is to take a freely distributable operationg system (like linux) and write some software for it, and then use vmware player to make a standalone (big) file that people can download to use.
so as an example, you might make a vmware player that has linux and a web browser installed and preconfigured to launch on boot and display the donationcoder.com homepage. now you have made a "virtual appliance" whose sole purpose is to safely surf to the dc site, and is only 300mb big. not sure if this would win the prize..