Every month when I try to write this column, I run into the same problem. It's too short. There's always so much stuff going on in the Linux community that I have more to say than fits in this space. This month was no exception.
|High Stakes: The recent success of Linux brings a smile to the typically poker-faced Larry Augustin.|
Every month when I try to write this column, I run into the same problem. It’s too short. There’s always so much stuff going on in the Linux community that I have more to say than fits in this space. This month was no exception.
Probably the biggest news of the month was the announcement of Red Hat’s IPO. More than anything else that has happened so far, I think that this event represents the dawn of a new age for Linux. The responsibility now resting on Red Hat’s shoulders is very large. Their IPO will likely set the pace for the companies who will be sure to follow; VA Linux Systems, Linuxcare, and the rest… The activity surely won’t stop with Red Hat.
As Larry Augustin reports, the question he most frequently gets asked these days (by people who obviously don’t know any better) is; “What is the ticker symbol for Linux?” So it’s clear that there is a demand for stock in Linux companies.
For those of you who don’t know him, Larry is the CEO and President of VA Linux Systems (formerly VA Research), and I would bet money that they will be the next company to announce a Linux IPO. Larry took time away from VA (which is experiencing hypergrowth) to grant us an interview, and I’d like to personally thank him. (See Augustin interview, pg 36).
Of course, it would be impossible for Linux to attract this much interest and not have Microsoft start to take notice. And they have. I went to USENIX in June, and during the Linux BOF (Birds Of a Feather) session, Linus Torvalds made his attitude towards Microsoft’s involvement very clear. His perspective is worth sharing.
At first, he felt personally offended and angered by Microsoft’s negative publicity campaign. That Microsoft fights dirty is well known, but when they target you personally, or the OS you care so much about, it can get to you. Microsoft was trying as hard as it could to find Linux’s weaknesses and to publicize them to the world.
But then, Linus had a revelation: He realized that Microsoft is really just a Linux user in disguise! Let Microsoft devise benchmarks that make Linux look bad. It won’t last long, because as soon as they release the results of that benchmark, we can fix Linux, and be right back on top again. Let’s see them rev NT as fast as we can rev Linux.
So don’t get mad at Microsoft; just let them do what they do, and we can use their negative publicity to our advantage. Microsoft’s involvement in this will only make Linux a better OS.
Best of luck to Red Hat as they enter into the uncharted land of the public markets. Actually, it makes complete sense. After all, Linux itself was always “owned” by everybody who contributed to it… Now the companies that make their living from Linux will be “owned” publicly too.
Adam M. Goodman
Editor & Publisher