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Linuxcare Reincarnated as Levanta 71

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the digging-out-a-classic-icon dept.
ches_grin writes "BusinessWeek is running a nice profile on Levanta, the former dot-com poster child once known as Linuxcare. From the article: 'It's not that Matt Mosman has an easy job. As Linux continues its march deeper into Corporate America's racks and racks of servers, his small Silicon Valley company, Levanta, is one of many trying to help companies install and manage all those servers--a big, complex problem that's not being solved very well right now. Still, Mosman has one thing going for him: He can't do much worse than his predecessors.'"
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Linuxcare Reincarnated as Levanta

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  • by GonzoTech (613147) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:10AM (#15575898)
    ... hiring Martin Taylor for Levanta LIVE!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:11AM (#15575907)
    ...does Ceren Ercen [spilth.org] still work there?!
  • Jesus. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:12AM (#15575911)
    This happens quite often, and I'm always scratching my head, why would they take a perfictly reasonable and understandable company name and "synergize" it in to something stupid. Case in point, "Linuxcare" changed to "Levanta". I would avoid them based on that stupidity alone.
    • by mangu (126918)
      "Levanta" means "rise" in Portuguese, in the third person present tense. The infinitive is "levantar".
    • Re:Jesus. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:29AM (#15576050) Homepage Journal
      Well, there's probably a few reasons in this case.

      1. They don't want to get sued by Linus over the use of the 'Linux trademark.
      2. They don't want to get pigeonholed into doing just 'Linux' support. They're probably already doing some level of application support, and they might want to expand into *BSD, OpenSolaris, etc. later.
      3. To a suit, 'Levanta' probably just sounds cooler than 'LinuxCare.' LinuxCare sounds utilitarian, while 'Levanta' sounds like it could be the next acid blocker medication, right along side Nexium, Zantac, Pecid and Tazac.

      • To a suit, 'Levanta' probably just sounds cooler than 'LinuxCare.'

        To me, too. Levanta definitely sounds like something from a drug ad where there's soft fuzzy lighting and Really Pleasant Music playing. But LinuxCare has this homeopathic quality to it that I don't like... is Linux sick?

    • Re:Jesus. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Levanta (Spanish) = Stand up! (English)

      I'm a spanish spoker (as you can see i don't write englsih well) and i'm wondering why, when english people choose a name for his creations, never check if the name as another significate in other languajes, for example Levanta or, the worst one, "inkulator" than sound in latin as "inculator", that means "ass fucker"

      BTW:

      "no se me levanta", spanish phrase that means .... "i have no erections" xDDDDD
      • Re:Jesus. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FooAtWFU (699187)
        What on Earth is wrong with naming a company something like "Stand Up!"? That's the sort of thing a marketer loves in a name- something motiviational and cool-sounding at the same time. Stand up, rise to the challenges, yaddayaddayadda....
        • something motiviational and cool-sounding at the same time. Stand up, rise to the challenges, yaddayaddayadda....

          Just like Levitra [levitra.com].

        • There is already a company making pantyhose by that name. In that case the name makes
          sense, both functionally and in terms of getting erections. But for a tech company???
          Do their servers need motivation to stay up?
    • Re:Jesus. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost AT syberghost DOT com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:40AM (#15576137) Homepage
      Because "Linuxcare" is mentally associated with suckage and failure, and the "Hi! I know we went out of business, but we're back, PLEASE hire us!" sales pitch wasn't working out.

      I'm not saying it's right to associate them with that, it's not entirely their fault they fell apart, but that's a perception that many hold regarding them. The name needed to change.
      • Oh, it's their fault they fell apart.

        Why?

        Frankly, they were con artists. SOWs, unless they are 20 pages long, tend to lay out the principal of work involved. They tend to indicate what the desired outcome is. LinuxCare thinks that a two page SoW (for $100k of work) is a contract, not a statement of work. They think that unless every specific piece of work and coding is listed there, they did not agree to perform said work. This is regardless of verbal meetings prior to the SoW that back up said work.

        Ju
    • because they used to actually do linux administration, that is no longer their focus. They changed the name of the company to relfect a change in business model. Welcome to marketing101. There's no way anyone was giving "linuxcare" anymore VC money, as was pointed out if you RTFA.
    • Re:Jesus. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm always scratching my head, why would they take a perfictly reasonable and understandable company name and "synergize" it in to something stupid.

      New-age marketing is all about obfuscation and suggestion. A name should not confer facts - it just stimulate feelings that are reinforced by underlying suggestions in ads.

      "I took a couple of Levanta ('cause I asked my doctor if I needed it), this morning. Then I called my broker at Levanta. After that, I read a letter from my HMO, Levanta and a bill form my cel

    • by e40 (448424)
      I would avoid them based on that stupidity alone.
      That's funny, because I would avoid you based on your stupid username.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:13AM (#15575917)
    Don't let Levanta's nondescript, prescription drug-sounding name fool you

    Glad I'm not the only one who immediately thought I'd be getting spams saying: L3van7a at l0w lovv pr1ce5
  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew@zhDALIrodague.net minus painter> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:14AM (#15575931) Homepage Journal
    I understand, from one of the developers of Linuxcare, that the company was managed poorly, chose silly routes for their services, and were probably a little ahead of their time. Let's hope they make this work.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Didn't the original company get in trouble with the law fornot paying employees and various other dubious practices. Also wasn't it originally based in St. Louis, or am I thinking of a different company?
    • Common side effects of Levanta include dry mouth, headache, poor judgement and poor foresight. People with high blood pressure or a history of circulation problems should not use Levanta. Levanta should not be used by women who are pregnant or could become pregnant. Should Levanta start to smoke, run away, seek shelter and cover head. Levanta may stick to certain types of skin. Do not taunt Levanta. Levanta, Accept No Substitutes!
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:15AM (#15575932)
    As the name is close enough to Levitra, with some clever marketing people will believe the company can keep your computer up.
  • just read that:
    Linuxcare was a San Francisco-based company founded in 1998 by Dave Sifry, Arthur Tyde and Dave LaDuke. The company's initial goal was to be "the 800 number for Linux" and operate 24 hours a day.
    obviously, it didn't happen quite that way... but wow! i had no idea.
  • Interesting idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (yranibnignikniht)> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:19AM (#15575955) Homepage

    I've seen Levanta's ads in Linux Journal [linuxjournal.com] before. Besides the silly name, it sounds like a pretty interesting premise--remote administration, deployment, and management of servers. I don't know how well it actually works, or how painful the integration with the managed servers is, but it certainly sounds cool.

  • How it works (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (yranibnignikniht)> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:22AM (#15575992) Homepage

    For those who, like me, are wondering about how the Levanta Intrepid (the actual box) can remotely manage servers with such "precision"... I looked it up on their website.

    Basically, all of the servers that are managed by the Intrepid are set up to network boot, and use network disks. So the Intrepid controls the kernel they boot with and their filesystems. This gives it the ability to install or uninstall software behind-the-scenes, as well as make byte-level backups of servers and transition them to other machines (simply by switching around which server boots to which disk).

    To me, at least, this seems quite clever.

    • Re:How it works (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by myspys (204685) *
      I looked it up on their website.

      and just WHO do you think you are?

      we are the slashdot, we don't look at website, we don't read articles

      we "debate" without facts!

      ghee, get a grip

    • Nothing surprising there. This is just how a Beowulf cluster is provisioned and maintained. For more info, see Penguin Computing/Scyld.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @11:37AM (#15576110)
    LinuxCare had a very colorful history, with VCs installing people with known fraud backgrounds as CXO level execs only to later have him sexaully assault guys working there (where further digging revealed that they had been accused of this in the past) and contributing greatly to the company's death due to calling in of favors he owed other companies. I hear they made some of their employees use Windows software (requiring a second computer) as one of those deals


    If LinuxCare left any mark on the world, tt's a poster child of bad-behavior of VCs and the importance of founders keeping in control when negotiating with them.


    Someone with a clearer memory than me, and hopefully references, please fill in the details.

    • I'm a Linuxcare survivor. Almost nobody remembers the original pitched name of 'the penguinarium', but I remember when CNN-Financial called us 'Linux services Powerhouse'. If not for the VC meddling, we would have stomped red hat into being just another distro. At the very end, we were trying to merge with Turbolinux (remember them too?) just to stay afloat. The real Linuxcare ended then. What came after was just a rotting corpse...

      At one time there where around 300 really smart people working there, wi
  • by Anonymous Coward
    On the downloads [levanta.com] page on the Levanta Web site, you can find a flash demo that gives a high-level idea of what Levanta's product does. If you enter in your name and some contact info, you can download a white paper that describes the technology. It's pretty cool stuff.
  • Levanta? (Score:1, Redundant)

    Sounds like a erectile dysfunction drug.
  • by anothy (83176) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @12:07PM (#15576387) Homepage
    this is about the stupidest thing i've heard out of a business-oriented rag in a while:
    Still, Mosman has one thing going for him: He can't do much worse than his predecessors.
    that's not anything "going for him". first of all, sure he can. don't challenge the universe like that; it doesn't like it. it likes to prove you wrong. further, the fact that someone else did miserably doesn't make you any likely at all to do well. even worse, in a smallish niche market (3rd-party linux support), high-profile failures are a significant detriment.
    doing better than an unmitigated disaster does not make you successful.
  • by ezrec (29765) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @01:33PM (#15577050) Homepage
    I used to work for LinuxCare, from January 2000 to Sept 2003. I have to say, to was a wild ride. At the 'LinuxCare' phase, I mostly did contract work to write Linux device drivers for 3rd parties. (Including some absolutely evil stuff like a C++ stub for kernel modules, and a 'look like NT' wrapper for a MPEG encoder kernel module.) In early 2000, we moved into our 'new' offices (we took up the entire basement of the huge converted warehouse building we were in), and had 'The Worlds Ugliest Mural' done by a local graffiti artist. The entire floor was carpeded with the LinuxCare 'X' logo. Yes, custom logo carpet. Around 2001, the support business collapsed. The Founders left, except for Art, but we picked up a new CEO, some really smart IBM guys, and started working on what was to be the Levanta project. Originally targeted for IBM z/390 mainframes, it used the z/VM operating system to provide multiple 'on-demand' Linux-on-390 'partitions'. (z/VM is the mainframe equivalent to VMWare, but 20 years old !) Akmal Khan came on board after Levanta was in full swing, and immediately took a dislike to the the distributed nature of our development group. There was Pittsburgh, doing the primary backend database; Ottawa was doing the web GUI and z/VM interface; Las Vegas handled the web infrastructure; project management in Atlanta; and San Francisco was sales and marketing. Except for SF and Ottawa, most sites telecommuted, so no 'office overhead' for those areas. It became apparent pretty quickly that Akmal was the micromanaging type. By spring 2003, A.K. had collected his own group of technical people (very good ones, by the way) in SF, diverted all development of 'Levanta-on-Intel' to SF, and started making it pretty clear to the managers that all sites except SF would be going away. That fall of 2003, the axe arrived for Ottawa, and I walked away from Levanta and the political mess that had developed. I'm glad to have worked for LinuxCare, and had a ton-of-fun working on Levanta-on-z/390.
    • (Dang, I'm so used to Wiki...)

      I used to work for LinuxCare, from January 2000 to Sept 2003. I have to say, to was a wild ride.

      At the 'LinuxCare' phase, I mostly did contract work to write Linux device drivers for 3rd parties. (Including some absolutely evil stuff like a C++ stub for kernel modules, and a 'look like NT' wrapper for a MPEG encoder kernel module.)

      In early 2000, we moved into our 'new' offices (we took up the entire basement of the huge converted warehouse building we were in), and had 'The Wo

      • Actually, it was not the basement. It used to be underground parking level of the 'fashion center' back when it was a fashion center... which explains the huge concrete pillars that held up the rest of the building. We just needed to get away from Sega and Macromedia up on the higher floors... their wireless networks were so crappy, and wide open that we couldn't resist just using them all the time.. we could even read their email...

    • I currently work for Levanta and overlapped with you for part of the time you were there. I know who you are but I won't reveal your identity.

      Perhaps, because I am a current employee, my perspective is more skewed, but my recollections of the chain of events is different from yours.

      Avery Lyford was hired as CEO in September of 2001. He hired Art Olbert from IBM in October and Akmal Khan from SGI in January of 2002.

      Art started the original Linuxcare product that was later code-named "Odin" using the pe

  • by d_p (63654) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @02:01PM (#15577306)
    ...an erection lasting longer than four hours, stop taking Levanta.
  • I watched a special on the news a few weeks ago. It showed multiple call centers where the employees were being trained and taught English. They also showed the new movement for IT support. Totally outsources data center management - remote administration. It's already being done and probably cheaper than Lavawhatever can do it for (unless their business plan is to sell the outsourcing)

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