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VA Linux Now VA Software 236

g2g was among the people who noticed that Slashdot & OSDNs parent, VA Linux Systems has changed its name to VA Software. is the new domain as I guess they are focusing on SourceForge and OSDN. On the upside, I guess newspapers will stop calling the company 'Linux' all the time.
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VA Linux Now VA Software

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  • by radiashun (220050) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:01AM (#2670583)
    they'll probably start calling it "software" now :-/
    • Well, they sold hardware, initially. They were associated with Linux, initially. Now neither directly applies.

      When larger companies do this it creates quite a hit in the financials. Most even suffer enough losses to fall off the face of the earth. Markets like to interface with companies that are well-defined, to begin with.

      I miss their hardware lineup -- really thought it was a GoodThing(TM). I'd say we're going to lose another good friend, in the long run :(
    • I guess in a time where anything with the name Linux attached has gone down in flames, it's a good move, but you have to wonder at what point will the company change it's name back? (because they probably will when the Linux desktop marketshare picks up reaches some level that makes it more commercially viable). PR is like that. Jump on any mane that works for as long as it works then run like hell when the name itself doesn't drive customers any longer. This is why old companies had it right: 'General Electric' for example made appliances, but now they also do Insurance and Investment Products. DO you see them changing their name? Of course, by that reasoning VA Software would still be VA Systems (which it was before VA Linux).

    • the media probably won't be mentioning its name at all any more.
      • How can you suggest VA Software won't be in the news:

        "And in other news ... once promising local dotcom startup VA Software (formerly VA Linux, formerly Dodgy Dave's Custom Servers) has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Now heres Fred with the sport.."
    • Looks like they were too late for .biz registration ;)
    • Really. Don't they know it's GNU/software?
  • VA... (Score:3, Funny)

    by cyclist1200 (513080) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:01AM (#2670586) Homepage

    They're still around?
    • Ahh, VA Linux, VA Who, once upon a time I worked for them. Lots of people were told to leave. So I left for greener pastures. Now a rename. Such a shame, my VA Linux 420 is such a great machine. All I need now is a 1220.
  • by erikdalen (99500) <> on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:02AM (#2670589) Homepage
    Somehow this reminds me of NeXT computers changing name to NeXT Software (and then was bought out by apple).

    But I suppose the new name better reflects their business.
    • Well, from one perspective, NeXT bought Apple for -$450,000,000.


    • by g2g (22747)
      This reminds me of a quote I received today:

      We trained hard - but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

      77 BC

      Just like my employer...
  • So now the newspapers will call your company "Software"?
  • by ethereal (13958) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:03AM (#2670598) Journal

    ...because it's really Red Hat == Linux, right? :)

  • Maybe good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by morbid (4258)
    This will maybe help in the corporate world where some people still regard anything to do with "Linux" as being ammateurish and worthy of contempt. Hopefully they'll start making a bit of cash, and we'll still be able to use sourceforge for free.
  • ...that the /. crowd will begin to predict the demise of VALinux^H^H^H^H^HSoftware. The oracle has spoken...
    • The oracle has spoken...

      Nah, oracle is busy supplying the US government with free (cough) software for the national ID card database.

  • by jake_telco (410714) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:05AM (#2670612)
    VA Linux was riding the wave.

    Why take the NASDAQ symbol LNUX if you don't want to be known as Linux?
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArtDent (83554) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:07AM (#2670618)

    From the press release:

    VA Linux Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: LNUX) announced at its annual meeting today that shareholders voted to change the Company's name to "VA Software Corporation."

    Are they planning on changing their ticker symbol or do they enjoy the contradiction of it all?

  • by DOsinga (134115) <douwe.webfeedback@gm a i l .com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:09AM (#2670629) Homepage Journal
    This is the next step after the stockmarket crash of Linux shares. System integrators will no longer be *Linux* system integrators. VA will concentrate on software, not specifically on Linux software.
    On the upside, it might make people see Open Source as something not necessarily Linux, but as a serious way of developing software. Open Source is more then Linux.
  • But will they ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dunham (35989)
    change the ticker symbol from LNUX to VSFT?
  • Watch out! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Uh-oh, starting to sound like "Atipa." The moment they dropped the Linux name for something like "solutions," they were bought out by some Windows-box-making company, and do that now.

    Err, something like that. I'm sure Dave will rip me on this, but so be it ...
  • SF & OSDN ?= Katz? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FortKnox (169099) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:11AM (#2670639) Homepage Journal
    I guess they are focusing on SourceForge and OSDN.

    Yeah, I got that idea from Roblimo's note to kuro5hin [] about why it was being dropped by OSDN [].

    One question: How does Katz fit into the whole OSDN/Sourceforge idea? Keep in mind that Kuro5hin wasn't a part of the OSDN/Sourceforge idea...

    (No need to reply with "Just take him off your reading list", I am curious of the answer Taco/Roblimo will give. Aren't you?).
    • Don't feel like finding the link, but blocking stories by JK is not sufficient. I think it was WRT movie reviews or something. Couldn't tell you for sure, because I don't block him (some stuff is good, and the blurb on the front page tells me whether or not I want to read the article).

      But to your broader question... I'm not sure that he does fit in. Not very well at any rate. I don't know his financial arrangements, but I imagine that he actually does make money for VA. I mean, there's at least one extra ad view for each person who posts "What is this Jon Katz garbage?!" and another ad view for "Just go to preferences and block articles by JK" and another for the people who go to preferences and block it...
    • by gmhowell (26755)
      Shoot, forgot to respond to your last sentence: Taco/Roblimo will never/have never given timely, straight up answers to any question asked about slashdot.

      With your userID, I don't know if you were reading before the slashcode was released. Took forever. When everyone bitched about it, CT's answer was "every time someone asked for the source, I pushed it back a day". That is a striking example of his maturity.

      This board isn't run by good people. It's run by petty tyrants. The success is a result of the readers/posters (even the FP'ers, trolls, etc.). It was/is largely in the right place at the right time, and attracted the right people. It has grown beyond the PTB, and they are having trouble coming to grips with that.

      (Go ahead, mod me down. I've got karma to burn.)
      • I don't think this place was made for the people who ended up making it popular. He worked hard to get where he is, and if anyone thinks he owes them for his success, he pays it back every day.

        Plus, he doesn't have to release his source, GPL or no. There's a place for immature people like deRaadt and others.
      • by wiredog (43288)
        Remember when guys with the user names "CmdrTaco", "Hemos", and "CowboyNeal" used to post comments here? I wonder whatever happened to those guys? You never hear from them anymore.

        I hope Rusty gets kuro5hin back up. Bet he'll be more anal about backups after this. One of the things I like about k5 is that it reminds me of what /. was a few years ago.

      • I don't know if you were reading before the slashcode was released. Took forever. When everyone bitched about it, CT's answer was "every time someone asked for the source, I pushed it back a day". That is a striking example of his maturity.
        No... it's a striking example of how whiny people can get when they're getting something for free. Look, it started off as Taco's code, with which he can do anything he wanted to with it. He didn't have open it up to anybody.

        I never bought the arguments that because /. was so intertwined with the open source movement that /code had to be open source too. Sure it would have been logically inconsistent, but then when are people ever logically consistent.

        It would have been a different thing had Taco been talking up how open /. was and then never released anything. But even during all the whining that I remember, there was always an ancient tarball of the /code sitting around. Whenever I saw or read Taco talking about /. or /code, he always said "Yeah, it's open, but we haven't released a version for quite a while. I'll release it when its ready for public consumption." (or words to that effect) He was almost always apologetic that the source hadn't been updated. But you know what? It was his code and it was his right to do whatever the hell he wanted to do with it. How would you like it if everyone demanded to read your version of the Great American Novel even though the rough draft was only half done? (I know, I know...I'm an Amerio-centric pig...whatever.)

        This board is not run by petty tyrants. It's run by good people who are sick and tired of being flamed for every minor mistake. Its success has come in spite of the FP'ers who add absolutely nothing to the discussion (although I admit some of the trolls are pretty funny.)


      • slashdot isn't your be-all end-all of news sources, is it? One could argue that all news sources are run by incompetant assholes with an agenda, and one would probably be right. I enjoy reading, not for the flame wars, but for the content, such as it is.

      • With your userID, I don't know if you were reading before the slashcode was released.

        What about MY 'leet user id? I don't remember *not* having access to some (albeit archaic) version of slash.

        I can't believe I started using a different id later just because my user name is so stupid!
    • One question: How does Katz fit into the whole OSDN/Sourceforge idea? Keep in mind that Kuro5hin wasn't a part of the OSDN/Sourceforge idea...

      Katz doesn't fit in, in that he's too small of a piece in the puzzle. This would be like asking "How does John Smith, who works in the marketing department at HP, fit into the HP/Compaq merger?" It's just not a valid question.

      -Waldo Jaquith
      • Sure it is. The answer is "layoff fodder". :(

        ObTopic: Katz is probably a "contributing something-or-other" as opposed to a direct employee, so their relationship should be flexible enough to deal with VA's changes.
  • I remember when they IPO'd. I got a letter saying I could have bought some shares at around $10per. That day it opened at around $33, and maxed at around $319, closing at around $270. Now it's at a hundredth of that.

    Given that was an off the wall IPO and one of the first Linux IPO's, but still...

    Brain fart.
    • The offer was for about $30 per share, but if you got one of these you could buy that while the stock was selling for over $300 per share. There was a limit of 160 shares (at least on the one I got) so you were not going to become filthy rich overnight with this, I also suspect there was no way to sell it soon enough to multiply your investment by 10, as anybody with any sense would expect, it immediately dropped to a more logical level of about $120 per share. (PS I of course waited too long and sold it for about $55 per share and thus made very little).

      I also think there was something funny going on that caused the stock to inflate so fast. Aren't there some accusations that the brokerage manipulating this and several other stocks?

  • Now they'll quit giving Linux a bad rap.
  • Why not "VA Linux Software"? That would make the ticker symbol make sense, leave the buzzword in there AND be true. Unless they are planning to create/sell software that is not for Linux...?
  • by derek_m (125935) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:16AM (#2670670) obviously fits into their new renamed company as a large scale advert for what can be done with their SourceForge "product" - but how does their collection of websites fit into their new non-Linux strategy?

    /., NewsForge,, freshmeat (and the rest) all look as if theyll be of no interest to the "new" VA - so what happens next?

    Given the current state of web advertising I cant imagine that anyone would want to buy them, so VA will probably be stuck with them for a while to come whether they like it or not.

    Anyone want to buy /.? Going real cheap :)

  • At least... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bazman (4849) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:16AM (#2670671) Journal
    ... its not changed to VA GNU/Linux.

  • In spite of the endless reasons to bash and flame VA, I'll click a reasonable number of links per day to keep /. viable. I know this has been said before, but its a bastion of something, anyways.
  • This is old (Score:2, Insightful)

    by snoozerdss (303165)
    This was posted [] about two months ago on slashdot.
    • Ye gods, are you really that thick? The article you refer to states that they will change their name, and now we're being told they have changed their name. Yes, there is a difference.


  • SFOE? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zerOnIne (128186)
    I've said it before [], but i still don't think this bodes well for sourceforge... with the 'open edition' still very much vaporware, the company's new philosophy doesn't reflect opensource ideals at all... and i know that when (if) SFOE gets released, it's going to have major holes poked in it where the non-free code was taken out... unless of course you want to pay VA lots and lots of money for a service/software contract...

    if you want to help the free sourceforge effort, lend a hand with Debian-SF []... let's really get this codebase cranking! 2.5 installs great on woody, 2.6 (the last ever public snapshot) on its way...

  • I thought they already posted this?
  • No matter what the name of the parent company, you can mod the SourceForge parent company 'way up for being the ne plus ultra main AI research focal point for environment Earth and parsecs around. []

    As of today Fri.7.DEC.2001 there are 382 Open Source AI projects living in infamy on SourceForge, [] where you may click on Software Map and pass down through Scientific/Engineering to explore the Artificial Intelligence category. []

    The critical mass of AI ingenuity there is racing into the future towards the Technological Singularity. [] Already the Mentifex Artificial Mind in MSIE JavaScript [] and in Forth for robots [] has been ported into Visual Basic as Mind.VB [] and into Java as Mind.JAVA AI. [] The future of humankind and of robotkind is in the worthy hands of VA Software/SourceForge.

  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by MSBob (307239) on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:31AM (#2670770)
    Why not call yourselves Software,Hardware and Information Technology? The new ticker will be adequate with the company's performance too.
  • Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Friday December 07, 2001 @10:34AM (#2670785) Homepage Journal
    Why not just save everyone the time and effort, and call themselves VA*?

    If people changed their name, each time they started doing somethign different, you'd never keep track. Companies are no different. The name, per se, really doesn't matter. It's the -identity- that counts. And that is something VA* is rapidly losing.

    The only time I've seen name-changes be profitable is when the company desperately needs to ditch the old identity. (eg: Windscale's name-change to Selafield was purely for PR reasons, cos Windscale had an image so utterly carp that Satan himself would have looked on with envy.)

    A good example of a company losing out is Lucent. Bell Labs made a REAL blunder on this one. Nobody knew who they were. No identity had been created. And yet, they were trying to play right alongside the REALLY big players. It was a disaster.

    VA* should go back to VA Research, because that's a name that was (and is) known. It's established. It gained credibility. Not the company, the identity. Companies (and people) don't gain credibility with others, by and large. It's the image that does. That's why trademarks (literally, the mark that identifies the origin, for trade) are so important. Because THAT is where the money lies.

    (You could build two absolutely identical computers, for example. But if one of them had a sticker labelling it as the product of a trusted company, and the other didn't, it wouldn't matter that the person building them, and even the parts, were the same. People buy the label, not the product. The product is simply the thing that the label is stuck onto.)

    • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Informative)

      by nebby (11637)
      What are you talking about? Lucent was very successful up until about a year and a half ago. The reason they have gone into the shitter right now is not because of lack of identity but because of horrible management (7 web servers to every employee!) and some finanical misreporting.
    • Why not? Because... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by devphil (51341)
      Why not just save everyone the time and effort, and call themselves VA*?

      How many people outside of programming understand wildcard characters?

      When was the last time Joe Q. Windows User needed to know what a wildcard was, what it looked like, or what it meant?

      Nobody will save time and effort this way, because nobody outside of programming is intelligent enough to use this "abbreviation". :-)

  • but why is this news? I mean, I know I sound like a troll..
    It's been coming for months; anyone can go find this out for themselves. Stockholders will already be notified..
    How on earth is VA changing it's name slightly a newsworthy article?
    Seriously... slashdot has been going downhill.. the number of quality articles has been going down, down down....

    It's not even funny. The editors don't edit.. the titles are often sensationalist and misleading. They are often full of grammatical errors, as well as syntactical ones.

    Sure, I might make mistakes.. but I'm not the editor..

    C'mon guys. Let's get back to posting nerd news that MATTERS, and having some intelligent discussion.
  • by Marcus Brody (320463) on Friday December 07, 2001 @11:01AM (#2670946) Homepage
    To reflect their mammoth, monopolistic postion, Microsoft have changed their name to just "Soft".

    To reflect the fact they do not, have never and will never sell apples, Apple computers have changes their name to "Mac"

    To reflect the fact that they are now more of a computer manufacturior rather than a machine manufacturer, and that they also operate at both a personal and business level, International Business Machines (IBM) have changed their name to International Computers & Stuff (ICS).

    To reflect the fact that they are not mandrakes, do not look like mandrakes, and - despite the fact they are french - rarely even eat mandrakes, Mandrake Software are changin their name to "ThatFrenchDistro".

    and so on....

    To reflect the fact that I am not really Denholm Elliot in Indian Jones and the last crusade, I will now be changing my name by Deed Poll to "Depressed Cupboard Cheescake", to better represent my psychological state.

    Thankyou, and.... Goodnight

  • by dgb2n (85206) <> on Friday December 07, 2001 @11:07AM (#2670983)
    After the failure of so many .com companies, the last thing a company wanted in its name was .com . It became synonymous with a poorly thought out business model and imminent bankruptcy.

    I'm afraid that this will be a similar trend. The Wall Street love affair with Linux is over. No longer can a company put Linux in its name and demand large sums of venture capital. VA wants to decouple itself from what it perceives as a sinking ship, the "Linux trend".

    Notice that I decouple this from the technical merits of the operating system. To argue that Linux-based business models have proven difficult to establish profits is not the same thing as to undermine the Linux operating system.

    I love the operating system but don't think many of the current "Linux companies" have viable business models. I favor the IBM approach. They are embracing Linux under their established IT services business.
  • Uh oh (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope they don't make Slashdot change their name to "C:\".
  • Hell, I remember when it _wasn't_.

    VA Research was a fine name. 'VA Linux' just inflated the IPO rush.
    • Yes, I thought this was a beter name, personally :)

      I can see a Linux-only company adding it to their name (though the examples I can think of are dangerous -- LinuxGruven? LinuxCare?), VA Research I think was a cooler name. VA Systems would be a nice generalized, plausable-deniability name, too ;) (After all, what can't be defined in some sense as "a system"?)

      On that note though, I think "VA Software" is better than "VA Linux" as a company name. Nobody asked me about the name change, though ;)



  • Does anyone else think they should give up the LNUX ticker symbol and the [] domain? Not that they should have to necessarily, but it might be a good idea, especially considering they have kind of gotten out of the "Linux business". Obviously they are still involved with Open Source software, but that is a much larger set than the subset that is "Linux".

    Just my 2 cents.

  • With this new added focus on sourceforge/newsforge, don't you think it's a good idea to ask CowboyNeal [mailto] for the Newsforge [] slashboxes? Nondefault, just for those who want them. Those who voted "Open Source Related" on the recent poll about what kind of news is welcome here [] (like me) might appreciate this.

    They stream out 2 feeds there, newsforge and newsvac. And, BTW, when one uses Newsforge, the Slashdot feed is there to add...

    (Yes, my article rejected by Slashdot was posted on NewsVac...)

  • by lwagner (230491) on Friday December 07, 2001 @12:32PM (#2671429)

    Really, the largest three threats to VA are:
    a.) getting delisted,
    b.) having a profitable business model, and
    c.) being able to overcome their leveraging.

    a.) Getting delisted would mean that any new issues of stock wouldn't find a market on NASDAQ though it would prob be an OTC Penny Stock (e.g., found on the "Pink Sheets"). They would have a harder time finding underwriters for new issues of stock or, if they elect a best efforts underwriting, willing investors to buy the stock.

    b.) A successful businessplan. All of us have seen a lot of stupid companies die from not having a solid way to make money. We have all seen raving open-source lunatics turn into begrudged closed-source adherents (not supporters) when the paychecks stopped. You need to make money and have reasonable margins. I haven't seen many open-source plans that scale beyond a small, thrifty business... and VA is neither. I'm not convinced that Red Hat is much better because (as we have seen in /. before) they are quite good at cooking the books.

    c.) VA is highly leveraged, meaning they have a lot of creditors. A real challenge is going to be paying off the creditors and still maintaining enough of a profit margin to keep their heads above water. If you don't start a business with profit, it becomes an order of magnitude higher to gain one later. As an example, ask any small business owner who has had to take out a loan and try to make a profit in the short term while incurring serious debt. You can't reinvest as much into the business which is absolutely crucial when you are trying to start up.

  • Remember way back when VA (then called VA Research) snapped up Linux Hardware Solutions []? They were acquired at the same time as "Enlightenment Solutions." Afterwards, they changed their name to "VA Linux Systems," probably because nobody knew what the hell "VA Research" meant.

    A few months later, they announced their IPO. Folks there must have felt drunk when they saw their stock valuation vault to - well, it was the biggest first-day pop in history [], let's just put it that way. Even Eric Raymond piped up [] about the windfall (salient points for the busy: "Wow. Thanks, Linux hackers. I'm buying a new gun. Charities can go fuck themselves.")

    All this was only two years ago. How time flies. I'm looking at my comparatively antediluvean userID and feeling all nostaligic.

    Incidentally - VA's stock has been doing not-so-badly since November []. Interesting.

  • by GenetixSW (35311)
    Does anyone know what will happen to their stock symbol on Nasdaq? In cases like this, do companies ever change their symbol, or is it common practice to never change a symbol for convenience' sake. I'm curious. Anyone have an answer to this?
    • Our automated tracking system for failing companies [] shows that the company has filed a name change with NASDAQ, hasn't changed its ticker symbol, and hasn't made any SEC filings under the new name yet.

      A company can request a change of stock symbol, but it's rarely done. More common is what happens in bankruptcy. When a NASDAQ-listed company goes into bankruptcy, its symbol gets a "Q" on the end, as you can see here when At Home Corp. [] was changed from ATHM to ATHMQ on October 10, 2001.

  • by Arandir (19206) on Friday December 07, 2001 @01:44PM (#2671865) Homepage Journal
    Another year, another name for Larry Augustin's company. Now accepting sealed prognostications for next years new name.
  • by BLAG-blast (302533) on Friday December 07, 2001 @01:51PM (#2671901)
    VA are still going to use LNUX for a while?

    I bet if they don't change the stock ticker every time Red Hat's stock goes up so will VA (this, of course could be an insider traders dream).

    Of course I'm sure it'll go down when RHAT does as well. Also, I think Red Hat has too much marketing invisted in the "Red Hat" brand to change the stock ticker.

    Oh well, nice try as a linux company VA, I really thought you'd make it (or atleast stay in the game).

  • Be respectful! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jrockway (229604)
    Well, I've read through the first page of comments, and I'm sick. Why is everyone criticizing VA Software!? They're the ones who provide us with the OSDN. Guess what, guys... VA dies, so does slashdot. And we all love slashdot. And Sourceforge. And freshmeat. They really have no way of making money off these sites, and yet they keep them up anyways. Just be thankful, and don't be so mean because they took "Linux" out of their name. Microsoft doesn't have "Windows" in their name, and they do okay (crap product, but oh well ;). Okay, I'm done ranting now :)
  • LNUX isn't really appropriate, but there's no need to change it. Just wait for it to drop off of the market completely.

    Looking at the past trend, with ups and downs, the share price has maintained a drop of about one order of magnitude per year. If it continues the trend it will shortly reverse the small gains it has made recently and head down into sub-$1 range shortly. That will lead to its delisting, obviating the need to change from LNUX to SOFT or whatever.

You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).