[svlug] Loki - The Major Linux Porting House Files for Bankruptcy
rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 16 01:12:01 PDT 2001
begin Jeremy Zawodny quotation:
> Well, the "Linux Hardware" business isn't much better off right now.
Again, more question-begging terminology. Returning to your earlier
post, you spoke of "Linux businesses": Does this mean firms that use
Linux? Firms that mostly use Linux? Firms that use some Linux? Firms
that have the word "Linux" as part of their names (which would exclude
Red Hat Software, Mandrakesoft, Caldera Systems, etc.)?
Whichever you mean, what is it about that particular collection of
enterprises that is of interest? Are you trying to infer something from
(what you believe to be) their condition?
> Few of those companies are left, and I suspect that it's a matter of
> time before it's just the "big" companies who are doing most of the
> Linux hardware business.
What do you mean "those companies"? Are you talking about companies
that offer Linux software preloads on computers? (Why are those of
interest, by the way? Have you _ever_ found the preloads from such
firms to be worth a damn? I wouldn't know, since I build all my
machines from scratch, and load/configure their software myself.)
> This may or may not be good for Linux.
Begs the question of what _you_ mean when you say "good for Linux".
In my more morose moments, I am tempted to infer that you mean "good" in
the sense of PR appeal to the peabrain segment of the population that
cannot conceive of something worthwhile that fails to have a huge
corporation embodying it.
> What happens when the Linux Server (hardware) market breakdown (% of
> market share by vendor) starts to become indistinguishable from the
> Windows NT/2000 breakdown?
More question-begging. When I see a server or other computer, I see a
computer that will be running whatever operating system the user or his
technical assistance elects to load and run on it. In light of which,
the term "Linux server" fails to even have semantic content, let alone
"Linux server market".
Looking from my perspective, the question is gibberish.
> I probably should have said "the volume of business'.
You have completely failed to grasp my point.
[The term "commercial" as applied to Linux distributions:]
> Is it *that* fuzzy?
Well, of course it is. If you have to ask such a ridiculous rhetorical
question, then obviously we have fundamentally failed to communicate.
I can hope that my time spent on the earlier post was not _entirely_
wasted, as other people might have comprehended my point, even if you
> What if I say "significant commercial Linux distributions"? Same
> problem, I suppose.
I'm sorry, but you appear to have completely missed my point about the
term "commercial" in this context suffering a combination of poor focus
and lack of utility.
As a teaching exercise on _one_ aspect of that point, you could try to
find some example of a non-commercial Linux distribution. That would,
of course, have to be one that is impossible to buy or sell. (Upon
which, I could then offer to sell it to you.)
> I could just say "you know what I mean", but you either really don't
> or you want to pretend you don't.
I could say "Try re-reading what I wrote, earlier." In fact, I will:
Try re-reading what I wrote, earlier.
> For the sake of putting a steak in the ground, how about any company
> which builds a Linux distribution and sells more than 10,000 copies
> per year? Or 50,000 copies. Some non-trivia amount.
(1) Why precisely is it that you care about "copies"? Are you
collecting them? Do they correlate to something else that _is_ of
interest? Please note that there is essentially no correlation to
numbers of users, numbers of installations, or anyone's dollar sales
(2) Hypothesising a company such as the one you're talking about, is
there some special reason why you do _not_ care about sales of that
same distribution by others? Again, what are you really trying to
measure, and why is it of interest?
(3) Given that anybody may buy or sell (at a minimum) the open-source
portion of any Linux distribution to anyone else (and also proprietary
portions that are publicly distributable), if your aim is to measure
total units sold or total dollar sales volume (which are not
proportionate) of that Linux distribution, how do you propose to measure
sales by and from random members of the populace?
(4) For that matter, given that all but two of the companies concerned
with distributions are privately held, and the other two do _not_ break
down sales figures that way, how are you _even_ going to determine unit
sales or dollar sales of any of _those_ companies?
And you _still_ haven't bothered to explain why any of this is of
interest in the first place. To be perfectly blunt, Jeremy: "It's the
licensing, stupid." What matters in the long term is the code, and the
terms under which it's available. The well-being of a particular
company is of interest to its stockholders and employees: The rest of
us are primarily concerned with our own affairs and with the state of
Linux and of open source.
If you are unable to distinguish those from vapid, ZD-style punditry
about business headlines, then you have already lost.
> I've chatted with folks about this recently, and there's a certain
> group of folks who sees a future made up primarily of Debian, RedHat,
> Slackware, and "the fringe distros".
Yes, this viewpoint has always been popular with, for example, the
Jesse Randolph Bersts of this world: They find complexity and diversity
distressing, because they do not understand or like it.
But that view of the world does have the advantage of simplicity, even
if it has no others.
> Do you think that's likely?
Well, if you define "fringe" however the hell it pleases you to, then
you can make the answer work out to "yes" -- and Ziff-Davis probably has
a job for you as a columnist.
> Do you think it'll have a significant affect on Linux as a whole?
The question cannot be answered as posed, since one has no friggin' clue
what is meant when you say "Linux as a whole", and since, if I were so
incautious as to use such an expression, I might mean something
> They're certainly of interest to folks who are looking to see what's
> happening in the Linux market--trying to figure out what the market
> is, what it is going to be, and if they fit into it.
Ah, wait, so was this entire discussion about _playing the stock market_?
I'm sorry; you didn't clarify that.
I'm sorry, if you're asking for stock tips, you've come to the wrong
guy. Other than: http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/#linuxstocks
Cheers, "Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first
Rick Moen woman she meets, and then teams up with three complete strangers
rick at linuxmafia.com to kill again." -- Rick Polito's That TV Guy column,
describing the movie _The Wizard of Oz_
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