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VA

VA/Andover Complete Merger 123

chrisd sent us the press release and says "Now, it is completely okay to blame every percieved failing of Slashdot on VA. I'd like to say that VA understands that Slashdot only has value so long as it is left free." My comment is the same as always: our editorial independance is legally guaranteed under no matter who owns us. Slashdot will suck just as much as always, and there's nothing anybody can do about it! Seriously, VA has a bunch of good guys, but the editorial staff is looking forward to not really having much to do with them *grin*.
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VA/Andover Complete Merger

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  • Maybe they are, but they deserved more than they got! The price Andover went for suggests that /. was considered to be much more valuable by VA than the successful Andover offer.
  • RESTON, VA.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 9, 2000-- AOL Inc. (Nasdaq:AOLSUX - news), a recognized leader in Closed Source solutions for Internet infrastructure, today announced it has completed the acquisition of VA Linux Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:LNUX - news) SUNNYVALE, Calif a formerly recognized leader in Open Source solutions for Internet infrastructure.

    Secretly, on February 30, 2000, AOL announced a definitive agreement to acquire VA Linux Systems. Under the terms of the agreement, each share of VA Linux Systems Common Stock outstanding as of the closing of the transaction will be exchanged for 3.1415 shares of AOL Common Stock. The consolidation of the complementary Internet sites (including Aol.com, SourceForge, Linux.com, Themes.org, Playboy.org, Stinkymeat.net, Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net), creates the Internet's leading destination for Open Source developers and is expected to make AOL cool. Based on data reported in the Linux Journal by the Teletubbies, the combined Open Source developer network is expected to make everybody quite rich.

    The acquisition is being accounted for as a purchase as well as increasing the babe-karma for all involved.

  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:32AM (#1018665)
    When I first became addicted to slashdot, it must have been a lull period, because there didn't seem to be many discussions about Linux or quite so many vindictive articles attacking MS (my employer). The reason I started browsing, and the reason I keep coming back, is that I love to talk and argue about ethics and science, and we get those thing aplenty here.

    It seems inevitable to me that some day Linux will no longer be the cool topic it is today. There will be another OS, maybe Hurd, maybe something else, that will be the focus of the adulation and the ecstasy so many of you pour out. But while tastes in operating systems will evolve, we now know that slashdot will not. It's owned by a Linux company. It will be about Linux until it goes off the air.

    As long as I get my fix of straight talk and tech, I'll be happy to type slashdot.org in my browser, but I do mourn a little bit the passing of true independence from the site. The slashdot editors may be right that they have editorial independence when it comes to each individual story, but they have yet to flex their purported muscles when it comes to a major topic shift on the site. I wonder how receptive VA would be if CmdrTaco suddenly became infatuated with FreeBSD!

    -konstant
    Yes! We are all individuals! I'm not!
  • Do a search on the new server setup story -- it's all linux machines.
  • IIRC thinkgeek is its own company, headquartered somewhere in Northern Virginia
    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars --Oscar Wilde
  • From the moderators guidelines.
  • Taco, I think slashdot is one of the truly great sites, and I have a lot of respect for you and the team.

    However, I think your protestation of 'legally guarranteed' editorial independence are a bit naive.

    Are your funding levels 'legally guarranteed' ?

    Are you access to resources 'legally guarranteed' ?

    In other words, what politica/economic pressures can be bought to bear on slashdot in order to make it conform to the 'party line'. ?

    I suggest that being incorporated into a larger organisation will nearly always result in editorial compromise in one form or another to the interests of the larger body corporate. This may or may not be a good thing, but the pressures will be there, perhaps even socially.

    As to whether or not slashdot is weakened by these pressures, or strengthened, time will tell.

    To a large degree, if slashdot died tomorrow, its influence will still be felt for years to come. You have changed the face of internet news and journalism and user interaction probably for ever. Congratulations, and I look forward to the new era with interest.

    Be careful, you will be judged.
  • Not even Jonkatz?
  • by LinuxGeek ( 6139 ) <djand@nc.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @09:04AM (#1018671)
    If CmdrTaco 'suddenly' became infatuated with FreeBSD, then I am sure that he would post more FreeBSD story submissions and the rest would continue much like they presently do now.

    The entire collection of people that comprise the slashdot crew give this site an overall flavor and style. Just like a recipe, change an ingredient or amount of an existing ingredient and the flavor will change. Sometimes a major change, sometimes just a subtle difference, *cough*DOJ*cough*. For you to assume that Slashdot & VA Linux will always be focused exclusively on Linux is as foolish as assuming that Microsoft will always be focused only on selling Windows versions for the PC market. They both will change to reflect evolutions in taste and market.

    I think you would have to admit that it is usually the people involved that make a project or company sucessful, not a singular idea or concept.
  • Does this mean there will finally be an annoucement on the death of Server51? It looked promising, esp because it could have tighter integration w/ freshmeat itself. Does anyone actually check sourceforge for release news? doub it.

    Ranting aside, if you could make it official one way or another, I wouldn't have to check once a week to see if S51 it still there.

    -sb
  • by cascadefx ( 174894 ) <`morlockhq' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:37AM (#1018673) Journal
    It doesn't matter, they have a lot of $$$. I want to see them donate money to open source projects.

    While I shouldn't respond to this (heck, I couldn't see it until I lowered my slashdot crap filter), I will.

    With my, until now, casual viewings of slashdot over the past 2 years, even I know that they have already given money to the Open Source movement. Although, slashdot is not, per se, a Linux/Open Source site exclusively (hey, they have articles about science and books too, check them out sometime), they have embraced open source in three distinct ways (an example that I can borrow from church):

    1. Their Time: The guys at Slashdot have devoted endless hours envangelizing (in a good way) Linux and Open Source in general (not to mention /. coding hours, but we'll get to that next). I am sure their participation in this exercise alone has brought both end users and actual coders to Open Source. Someone might come here because they hear it is a cool site ( despite rumors to the contrary on how much it sucks ), but they leave at least exposed to an idea that is put into active practice on this and other projects maintained by the /. crew. For this they should be given a pat of the back.

    2. Their Talents: The /. guys have released the complete source of this site to the world at large under an Open Source license. Many, many hours have gone into created one of the more interactive news sites on the web and the fruits of that labor are available to anyone who is interested. For this, too, they should be given a pat on the back.

    Finally, 3. Their Tithes: What was the first thing that these guys did, when they got the Andover money (well, maybe it was second or third, but it was up there)? After paying some of their volunteers, they gave thousands of dollars to the code and groups in the Open Source movement that they had a lot of respect for in the form of the beanie awards [slashdot.org]. Once again, for remembering the community that supports them, they should be given another pat on the back.

    For these reasons, your post is way off base, and I am sure you already knew that. I just wanted people reading your post, who didn't understand this (perhaps a first timer) to realize why this is actually flamebait.

  • So? There is more than one media company out there, you know.
  • All the sites that were linked had a www. in front of them.

    I think that either is the person who put that press release together not very informed about the way the Internet works (sites without a www. are still linkable web sites, dammit!) or the press release was prepared in a fancy word processor with broken link logic (i.e. it automatically turns www.something.org into clickable links, but not something.org).

    I think that scenario 2 is the most probable.

  • formkey column in DB wasn't wide enough. PatG fixed it just now.
  • "The merger *will* be completed on schedule, my Master."
    "You have done well, Lord Taco... and now I sense you wish to continue your search for young Hemos."
    "Yes, my Master..."
  • Completely off-topic, but there was a time a number of months ago when an almost daily Salon reference hit the front page of slashdot. Most were fairly good IMO. Is the negative article from Andrew-whats-his-name partially due to the almost total lack of recent Slalon references? or is it just an ever expanding submission field from which to choose?
  • hmmm... the way I remember it - the first time I remember hearing the name Robin Miller was when that Jack Bryar BS article was posted over on AndoverNews and we had all that fun. I think RobLimo may have had a Slashdot login, and I recall seeing him post in the comments, but I don't remember him posting stories until after Taco announced the Andover deal. I'm pretty sure he was EiC over at AndoverNews before ever coming to Slashdot...
  • Uhh, what distribution are you using? Mine allows usernames as long as I want.

    --

  • Yer really swimmin' with the sharks now Taco. I hope to don't get ate.
  • Yes, Slashdot is definitely going down the drain. I used to read Slashdot 8 hours a day. Now it's down to 4.
  • Rob, Kurt and Michael, Thanks for the response, that's sort of what I thought.

    I admit we purposely skipped the Stallman "free software and free sex" story. It was flamebait.

    Too bad, we were looking forward to that one, it would have been like a shark feeding frenzy.

  • Hey, First off, I don't talk about this kind of thing, but the deal was restructured a month ago or so and it's not a 1b$ deal. Why don't you call up our investor relations guy, Pat Fossenier. The main number for VA is 408-542-8600. He can detail the investment-fu that went down and such.

    In slashdot's defense, I think if anything systems reliability has gone up since the move , as far as editorial quality, I'll tlet you take that up with Rob and Hemos and such. But I'll say that I think that Slashdot is still pretty great.

    Chris DiBona
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • DarthTaco? Hmm, has a nice ring to it...

    Well, OK, it doesn't. But still....

    --

  • First let me say that what I am about to say is my own personal opinion. I didn't "check it" with anyone here to make sure it was "politically correct." This is how I honestly feel. So here goes.

    No matter how much good you try to do, there will always be some people for whom it is never enough. There will also always be people who suspect that you have alterior motives. And that's okay. A healthy skepticism is never a bad thing. But I can assure you that some of the most skeptical members of the community, and the harshest critics of actions which don't benefit Linux as a whole, work at VA! The employees of VA are members of the Linux community just like the rest of you; we haven't lost that focus and mindset.

    So why did we buy Andover? Well, I'm not on the executive staff, so I can't say for certain what all the reasons are. But I do know the people running VA, and I know the people running Slashdot. I can say two things with 100% certainty. CmdrTaco and Hemos would never tolerate anyone exercising editorial control over Slashdot, no matter who it was. They would sooner jump ship and go elsewhere. And I know that no one at VA would want to harm Slashdot by trying to assert any such control over it. We all like Slashdot just the way it is. (Many of us read it at *least* daily.) Slashdot is a great community site; CmdrTaco and Hemos need to stay right where they are and keep doing what they've been doing so well for so long.

    We will always have our critics like Bowie. There will be people who will misinterpret our actions and hold grudges and continue to flame us ad nauseum at every opportunity. We accept that as part of existing in such a dynamic, diverse, vocal community. We wouldn't change that even if we could. Those people are welcome to their opinions as always. We will continue to work hard at doing the best job we can for our customers and for the Linux community as a whole.

    When Linux wins, VA Linux wins. And when VA Linux wins, Linux wins. That's how it has been since the early 90's, and everyone at VA is committed to making sure it will always be that way.

  • Perhaps I was naive to think that counter-culture Internet media outlets would seek to maintain their independence from the corporate influence that plagues traditional media at all costs. Please excuse my naivete.

    Lenny

    P.S. That was a pretty good offer you got from VA. Furthermore, since Andover.net has little chance of becoming profitable in the near future, VA's support can sustain it for longer than it could sustain itself. So, maybe this is a good thing.
  • AC #1 writes:
    You may not have been in DC or Seattle to witness first hand - I was in DC. Let me offer the most salient first hand observation: THEY STUNK!!

    AC #2 writes:
    I really doubt you have any idea why the IMF protestors were protesting. Check out the links on this page.

    As it happens, I spoke with a number of of the folks who were protesting me at the biotechnology conference in Boston a few months ago. I was less struck by their smell (actually, my impression was that they must spend hours working on their hair to get that "casually" frizzy look!) than by their smug self-righteousness and utter ignorance of the topic about which they were demonstrating. They spray-painted graffiti all over the sidewalks (still here if anyone doubts me) and, after the police failed to give them the riot they wanted, threw paint-filled balloons at the Longfellow Bridge.

    And, AC #2, if you want to impress me, show me sites that indicate you've considered multiple sides of the issues, not your source of the party line.
  • If your "editorial independance is legally guaranteed under no matter who owns [slashdot]," how do you explain Roblimo? His "contributions" arrived because of the Andover acquisition, correct? The best of intentions...


  • Howdy. Normally, I dont reply to flames, but i'll give you a chance.

    A) First of all, I never claimed to have invented SourceForge, nor write it. However, the premise behind the project, and even its name were taken from conversations between Trae McCombs and I between May and July of '99. We were building a material stockpile, the idea being, to give developers development space as a thank-you for using our gear. The ultimate goal being that we as a group would be an asset to VA once we managed to round up enough projects/developers. We were promised employment if we delivered 500,000 pageviews a day, sustained for 6 months. In May of '99, I agreed to go into it for the long haul. 1-2 years, I figured. A co-lo machine was set aside for us to use shortly thereafter (early June 99).

    If the old themes.org was still around, I could even point you to an interview I did with none other than Trae McCombs himself way back in early 1998 where the idea was discussed. I'd been wanting to do this sort of thing for years -- And when I finally got the chance to do it, guess who was there to rip me off.

    B) I dont need any more "credit", and I dont need any more "ego boost". I've had my share. Besides, if I wanted that, I'd keep flogging the Propaganda horse every few weeks. I'm quite happy doing absolutely nothing for free now, thank you.

    The "phantom documents" you're referring to exist, and as I pointed out, you're welcome to read them. Email me. It's an email between BSI and Andover.net's reps..One of the people who I worked with on System 12, her father was an exec at Andover.net in Canada. If you want to the gory details, I didn't believe her at first when she told me that Rob and the others were in the process of selling out. I demanded she come up with proof, and she did, via her father. Thats how I came to posess the email. (Rob knows this, by the way. Sent him a copy of it not too long ago.)

    You can believe what you want to believe. Its a weird story, and alot of people aren't really comfortable thinking about an entity like VA might be something other than friendly to the Linux community. Like you, I used to think VA was great. I was a big flag-waver for them. Originally, I even refused to believe I got screwed. I thought it was a simple duplication of effort, and bowed out to prevent the public from viewing our project as a thorn in VA's side. All that's well and good, but telling me to "quit ranting" is pretty weak. Take a look at the facts involved, and perhaps you'll see past the crap and speculation and get to the root of it. I had to.

    Just keep one thing in mind. I had the responsibility of leading 11 people for 6 months, and I took that responsibility very seriously. I was promised alot of things by someone who wasn't in a position to make any promises, all of which never came to fruition. Getting screwed the way we did, you'd think I'd have a right to be pissed.

    Duty now,


    Bowie J. Poag
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:18AM (#1018692) Homepage

    When I was in Washington D.C. for the A16 actions against the IMF/World Bank, some activists from England and I had a conversation with a journalist from some corporate newspaper (I forget which). The argument was over self-censorship, the fact that most journalists know where their bread is buttered and are never censored because they know to never write an article which merits censorship.

    Now, the journalist insisted that he had full freedom of the press, and could write an article on anything he wanted without getting fired (He did admit that it's very possible that the editors wouldn't print it).

    I told him to challenge the assumption that he had complete freedom under the totalitarian structure of his workplace. I asked him to dig up a story on the parent company or a majority stockholder of his newspaper. Something really incriminating, which is easy since so many large corporations are involved in criminal activity.

    If he got the article printed, then I would concede the argument to him, but if it got censored, or if he felt repurcussions for challenging the authority of his workplace, then I win.

    His response? Something to the effect of "Well, I don't need to test my boundaries, because I already know that I have no boundaries."

    Thus, we have self-censorship.

    Michael Chisari
    mchisari@usa.net


  • Howdy. Normally, I dont reply to flames, but i'll give you a chance.

    A) First of all, I never claimed to have invented SourceForge, nor write it. However, the premise behind the project, and even its name were taken from conversations between Trae McCombs and I between May and July of '99. We were building a material stockpile, the idea being, to give developers development space as a thank-you for using our gear. The ultimate goal being that we as a group would be an asset to VA once we managed to round up enough projects/developers. We were promised employment if we delivered 500,000 pageviews a day, sustained for 6 months. In May of '99, I agreed to go into it for the long haul. 1-2 years, I figured. A co-lo machine was set aside for us to use shortly thereafter (early June 99).

    If the old themes.org was still around, I could even point you to an interview I did with none other than Trae McCombs himself way back in early 1998 where the idea was discussed. I'd been wanting to do this sort of thing for years -- And when I finally got the chance to do it, guess who was there to rip me off.

    B) I dont need any more "credit", and I dont need any more "ego boost". I've had my share. Besides, if I wanted that, I'd keep flogging the Propaganda horse every few weeks. I'm quite happy doing absolutely nothing for free now, thank you.

    The "phantom documents" you're referring to exist, and as I pointed out, you're welcome to read them. Email me. It's an email between BSI and Andover.net's reps..One of the people who I worked with on System 12, her father was an exec at Andover.net in Canada. If you want to the gory details, I didn't believe her at first when she told me that Rob and the others were in the process of selling out. I demanded she come up with proof, and she did, via her father. Thats how I came to posess the email. (Rob knows this, by the way. Sent him a copy of it not too long ago.)

    You can believe what you want to believe. Its a weird story, and alot of people aren't really comfortable thinking about an entity like VA might be something other than friendly to the Linux community. Like you, I used to think VA was great. I was a big flag-waver for them. Originally, I even refused to believe I got screwed. I thought it was a simple duplication of effort, and bowed out to prevent the public from viewing our project as a thorn in VA's side. All that's well and good, but telling me to "quit ranting" is pretty weak. Take a look at the facts involved, and perhaps you'll see past the crap and speculation and get to the root of it. I had to.

    Just keep one thing in mind, tho. I had the responsibility of leading 11 people for 6 months, and I took that responsibility very seriously. I was promised alot of things by someone who wasn't in a position to make any promises, all of which never came to fruition. Getting screwed the way we did, you'd think I'd have a right to be pissed.

    Duty now,


    Bowie J. Poag
  • I wouldn't think so, simply because I doubt there are many functions in common between the two businesses. Certainly I don't think anyone on the editorial side is in danger.

    There might be some benefit in consolidating ad sales between the various web sites run by Andover and VA, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was little overlap even there.

    For those who are curious, CmdrTaco gets $90k a year and Slashdot's previous owners (mainly him) got $ 1.5 million up front, $ 6 million when certain targets were met. I'm not sure what the targets were, but they do have a hefty amount of Andover stock that is now VA stock.

    So Rob's doing pretty well considering that he's in the Midwest someplace. $ 1 million or so still goes a long way anywhere in the US outside of California, New York or Hawaii.

    D

    ----
  • so does this mean all the slashdot guys are millionares now?

    I can't tell you how much this assumption bothers me. Currently, I'm overdrawn in my bank account by about $150. I don't own stock, I've never owned stock, and I haven't gotten rich off of the Linux hype. People should stop assuming that if you're a Slashdot Author, you're loaded. :)

    --Emmett

  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:19AM (#1018696)
    "Slashdot will suck just as much as always..."

    Have faith, guys. I'm sure you'll suck much better from now on.
    --
    Wanna hook MAPI clients to your Tru64/AIX/Linux server?
  • Yes... dedicated to handling all of the posts saying "Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?"
  • In related news, /. has started considering moving their official headquarters to an as of yet undisclosed european country
    This has nothing to do w/ the DOJ atack, or the merger, Rob just wants a change of scenery...

    -Earthman

  • Simple. They run those stories from the wire through a parser to crudely HTMLize them. Anything that starts with "http://" and/or "www." is a link. Any other address is not. www.valinux.com is a link by these standards. slashdot.org is not.
  • I told him to challenge the assumption that he had complete freedom under the totalitarian structure of his workplace. I asked him to dig up a story on the parent company or a majority stockholder of his newspaper. Something really incriminating, which is easy since so many large corporations are involved in criminal activity.

    Your logic seems to be this: Since large corporations can be assumed to be involved in "really incriminating criminal activity", any media outlet not reporting its own "really incriminating criminal activity" is obviously subject to self-censorship.

    Hey, I'll go that line of reasoning one further. Since media outlets aren't reporting each other's "really incriminating criminal activity" either, there's a massive global censorship conspiracy going on!

    This isn't changing my perception of the IMF protesters as a bunch of ignorant, self-righteous loudmouths trying to get themselves on TV.
  • That's why we're gathering intelligence [slashdot.org] over here, in the guise of a so-called "Interview" ... Rob and Jeff are in pretty good shape, and have extensive paramilitary / customer service training. They also have the VA "Chris DiBona signature model" Zodiac boat, only one ever made, using secret technology silent engines (the On-demand Automatic Response System propulsion apparatus, the patent to which will soon be open-sourced).

    Roblimo's radio intelligence background, Emmett's phone-calling persistence and all 4 of my family's cats will come in handy as we complete this project.

    Michael and Jamie will be running interference, along with CowboyNeal, who will be fanning pigeons off the beach in a subplot borrowed from some movie he saw once. We're not stopping him, and it does make for good press.

    We hope in the end to get bunks in the royal homestead and heritable titles, so any girlfriends can one day be genyooine princesses. Also, all the swimming we want.

    timothy

  • It has one or two FreeBSD boxes...
  • VA has a History of Prejudice against Muslims

    Background, please...

    t_t_b
    --

  • Nicely put! How 'bout the image of Rob Malda washing down annother mouthful of KraftDinner with a gulp of MountainDew and sitting in his college dorm FOR HOURS writing code,checking and endlessly re-checking... Dues are paid in strange currency!
  • IIRC, Hemos said that it began to suck when they got the domain. CmdrTaco asked them all during one episode of GiS [thesync.com] when Slashdot began to suck. I'm not sure which episode as they haven't worked out the written transcripts yet. Perhaps they should get a stenographer like they have in courtrooms with those funky keyboards with phenomes on them? That would be nice. Especially for episodes where we don't know what they said.

    Anyway, this means it's been sucking for a long time. Perhaps it's now just intolerably noticeable?

  • You're right and thank you for making some sense.

    Slashdot has changed because the staff has changed and the industry has changed and will continue to change. I just think it's funny how some people see a milestone and think it is a gravestone. Like that Salon columnist, Andrew-whats-his-name, who lamented the death of Slashdot when the VA/Andover deal was first announced. That was months ago and Slashdot is still here and more popular than ever.

    I like how Andy Rooney said it at the closing of one of his bits on "60 Minutes": ...and for those of you who wrote me and said you'd never watch 60 Minutes again, we'll see you here again next week, same time, same channel. *grin*

  • Shut up, man, I've got one of those in my 286!

    (it sure beats the CGA card I had for it before, and it plays Lightspeed in VGA!!)

    I've been on slashdot easily since before logins, but I don't think I've been on there as long as FinkPloyd, so I hope he's got at least an EGA card lying around. (so he can play Tangled Tales! Rock on!)

    And yes, this is proof that slashdot will continue to suck at the regular downward spiral. This merger is probably what MEEPT was talking about, before he went insane or got abducted by his home planet. (read his posts lately, geez...)
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • Well then how come I'm not rich yet? I'm #197. :)

    :wq!

  • I don't pick the stories that are posted here so I don't know. I never noticed a pattern of more or less linkage to Salon. These opinions are my own. Slashdot authors who post stories may fell differently than I do. I don't know.
  • Get it right, that would be Dulles, VA, the place AOL calls home even though it doesn't officially exist.
  • Actually we continue to post a ton of articles from Salon. Because the search function is broken right now, you can only get the first page of search results, which shows a lot of stories which have "salon" in them twice, due to the story name including "salon". If you said the magic words and looked at the second page of search results, you'd see that we posted stories from Salon (which happened to only include the word "salon" in them once) on 5-31-2000, 5-16, 5-12, 5-9, 4-25, 4-23, 4-13, etc.

    I admit we purposely skipped the Stallman "free software and free sex" story. It was flamebait.

    --
    Michael Sims-michael at slashdot.org
  • so does this mean all the slashdot guys are millionares now?

    ERiAN



    -
  • As part of a further clarification it was revealed that the "." part of Slash Dot . org would be an independent company which would compete with Sun in its monopoly on the "." in ". com

  • So, will VA let you play with thier latest toys under development? Slashdot on a 16 way Itanium server, running Trillian sounds cool. Good way to melt a T3 anyway ;).
  • Ugh.. not again.

    Fact: If VA was interested in philanthropy, they would have left Andover.Net alone and simply given money to Slashdot and Freshmeat to allow them to continue running. They didn't do that. Why? They wanted control over the resources provided to the Linux community, and paid millions to get it.

    Fact: VA Linux Systems originally attempted to purchase both Freshmeat and Slashdot in late spring/early summer '99. If someone wants proof of this, email me privately, and i'll provide you with it. Their offer was refused due to contract conditions VA wanted, and refused to exclude in order to complete the deal. This is why Slashdot and Freshmeat ended up under Andover.net's umbrella. As a result, VA Linux Systems immediately began work on trying to replicate both resources.

    Fact: VA's post-IPO cash allowed them to aquire Andover.net, and their holdings -- Once the purchase became imminent, construction on one or more projects (ColdStorage, VA's Freshmeat clone among them) were halted.

    For those of you who haven't been following what I've been saying for the past 7 months or so, several of VA's employees then began cannibalizing volunteer projects like mine, looking for more things to replicate. What began as community property became increasingly centered on generating profit.

    Result: All of us would be well-served by keeping at least a healthy suspicion of VA. The sad part about the whole Linux movement is, that when you get down to it, VA and companies like them don't care about you. They don't have to care. They're going to do everything within their power to screw their way into the black and keep the board of directors happy, just like any other publically held business.

    My bet is, if you think this "merger" will affect nothing, you're probably going to be wrong. First of all, despite what Chris DiBonehead has said in the past (and will probably continue to say) this isn't a merger. VA Linux Systems purchased Andover.net outright. Gobbled up and absorbed, just as their SEC filing points out. VA and Andover.net didn't join hands in a feild of flowers and go skipping off into the sunset. One ate the other.

    Keep your ears up and your eyes open, and make up your own mind based on the facts. There's a wealth of it out there. "Quit bitching, Bowie" is nice, but, I gain nothing by pointing out why people should not trust this company. I simply just want people to be aware of what I've seen, after having worked in and among the company for nearly two years.

    On the other hand, you'll likely also hear the opinion(s) of one or more employees of VA, at least one whom is a paid mouthpiece of the company, speaking without "editorial independence". Hi, Chris.

    Duty Now,


    Bowie J. Poag
  • by SMN ( 33356 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @10:39AM (#1018716)
    I dunno, I still have a hard time with one question which no one has been able to answer:

    Why would a company such as VA spend $900 _million_ for a company that _lost_ $3 million last year, if they're truly not going to try and influence the stories covered?

    Call me a pessimist, but as far as I've seen, the only reason a company spends such a ludicrous amount of money is when it expects to profit greatly from the venture. If Andover isn't making money - and a very questionable potential to do so - and they won't gain via propaganda, why would they do something so rediculous?!? I don't think that fostering the linux/geek community is worth nearly one _billion_ dollars.

    I've yet to see anyone from VA or andover attmpt to quell my fears over that complaint. While there are various ways to explain the complaints of myself and many others who think that slashdot's quality has degraded since the andover buyout (not that I don't still love this site one hell of a lot), yet it's hard not to conclude that it's very likely that was _the_ cause.
  • a) Oh , okay, you came up with sourceforge. Right, sure you did. That's why I came up with it and got the domains and we put up an entire site before you could even put in an order to register.com for the domain.

    Again, since you can't seem to remember, VA has been hosting projects since 1996 or so, and we wanted to do a better job of it. So we came up with sourceforge. And anyhow, just coming up with an idea means noting if you don't follow through. You didn't, we did. You talk about the 11 people, tell us what they did, show us the code.I'd love to hear from them.

    B) Post the documents. Bring it on.

    And I'm sorry you had such a bad time with Trae, and nothing I can say will change if you are pissed or not, I just want the slashdot readers to hear both sides in this story. And you have some nerve calling it a flame considering the flamethrower you've been pointing around.

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • To Rob and Hemos - I do want to extend my congratulations to you guys. I remember in Dec 97 when I first read /.
    Thanks for doing this, and you got your wish and got to do this for a living (remembrance of statement you made a long time ago)


    nerdfarm.org [nerdfarm.org]
  • No.

    --
    Michael Sims-michael at slashdot.org
  • by tokengeekgrrl ( 105602 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:07AM (#1018720)
    Many congratulations but I do hope that we won't have to hear about employees being cut as a result of the now official merger between 2 such respected companies. I know that business decisions have to be made in the best interest of the company and so forth but that would be a downer.

    Regardless, good luck!

    - tokengeekgrrl
    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions

  • and who needs this VA monopoly afterall ? - we already have m$

    maybe they wanted ./ because of it's marketing power? how many people visit ./ daily ? they would see VA ad's everywhere. now that's a marketing trick and nothing else.

  • of a comment idolizing the "SlashDot Crew" getting moderated to +5.

  • by Duxup ( 72775 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:04AM (#1018723) Homepage
    *joke*
    Just so that everyone can complain together, can we agree that Slashdot officially started to suck immediately after this story was posted? Just for everyone to get their time lines synced.
  • Hi, Chris,

    I've nothing to add, just wanted to draw your attention to the Preview button, right beside the Submit button. It helps you focus on the doodah's before stepping into them.

    Stefan.
    "...Microsoft follows standards. In much the same manner that fish follow migrating caribou." "Now I have this image in my mind of a fish embracing and extending a caribou." -- Paul Tomblin and Christian Bauernfeind in the SDM

  • They gave thousands of dollars to the code and groups in the Open Source movement that they had a lot of respect for in the form of the beanie awards.

    Well, would be cool if they actually did pay the money. The GIMP developers crew is still waiting for their money from the Beanie Award. Last week we had a developers conference and we would have urgently needed the money for this purpose. Thankfully the FSF generously supported us. And, yes, we actually tried to get the money. Andover as well as VA Linux didn't reply to any mail we've sent so far.

  • Slashdot has a story queue so stories can be posted ahead of time. Occasionally you stumble across a glitch and one shows up early
  • by pirodude ( 54707 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:22AM (#1018727) Homepage
    For immediate release...

    Microsoft asked the Department of Justice today to investigate monopolistic techniques used by Va Linux Systems to take over the Linux Market.

    "We don't think it's fair! Microsoft is suppose to rule all operating systems", one employee commented.

    If Microsoft is successful the Linux Community would be split up into 3 catagories. Newbies, Troll's and Guru's. Linux must also become closed source to ensure that they don't grow any more in size.

    RMS was seen crying outside of his home earlier while Alan Cox was seen holding a shot gun and repeatly threating to blow up Microsoft. He since has been taken into protective custody.

    ###
  • by crow ( 16139 )
    Ok, now they've converted ANDN to LNUX. The announcement came before the action.
  • In related news, /. has started considering moving their official headquarters to an as of yet undisclosed european country

    Of course! With Andover behind them, they'll have no trouble taking over Sealand!


  • Chris, you weren't even there. How the hell could you even have a "version of events" ?
    The only thing you know is what you've gleaned from your fellow VA employees, after the fact, and months after we closed shop. Hardly what I'd call first-hand knowledge. Nice try, tho.

    To address your A)...

    Yes, I claim I came up with the basic premise for the project and the name "SourceForge". FYI, I wrote zero code. My job was to manage the project, not to code it. Scott and Seth were brought on for that purpose in late '99 once Propaganda was squared away.

    During the months of April thru June of '99, Trae McCombs and I had a series of rather long telephone conversations. Many of these conversations involved discussions of things we were going to do/were doing, and many sessions revolved around trying to come up with a name for the project. I remember quite clearly proposing the name "SourceForge", "MediaForge", and other *Forge variants. I also remember Trae saying he didn't like the word "Forge". Then whammo, 5 months later, here comes a project called "SourceForge". How the hell do you explain that one? Infinite monkeys and typewriters? Come on. I'm tempted to post telephone records from that period.. you still have a problem believing me.

    I could honestly care less if they took the name, in particular. Its their refusal to be honest about it that pisses me off. Dont even get me started on the other crap.

    And now, for B) ...

    No, I will not post the documents publically. The documents which refer to BSI (Jeff, Rob and others) and Andover.net's dealings do not belong in a public forum. They are private emails. Since I dont have permission from the parties involved to post it publically, i'm not going to. Anyone who wants to read it is welcome to email me privately. Its just not going to go up here.

    Have a swell day,



    Bowie J. Poag
  • seriously, every time i submit something, it's number 350+ in a growing pile of submissions, and lately, more and more stories are appearing here in a less than timely manner (time was when i would hear about something on /. _before_ i saw it on the national news or in a newspaper)

    with the now complete support of the VA/Andover behemoth, will there be more trained monkeys to prod and poke at the submissions and get them up more quickly?
  • It has been done before.
    It is redundant.
    After many thousands of real and attempted first posts it is very redundant.
  • It doesn't matter.... They may well be paper millionares. How much of the stock that they own can they legally sell at any one time. Their net worth is now pinned directly to VA. If that stock crashes, they are no longer millionares.

    Although, I would not mind being a paper millionare either.... Much easier to get loans when your net worth is $$$$$$$
  • Somebody needed to play the part of an adult.
    -russ
  • There will be another OS, maybe Hurd, maybe something else, that will be the focus of the adulation and the ecstasy so many of you pour out.

    I have seen the future, and it's name is Plan 9 [kuro5hin.org]. :-)

    --

  • looking at their press release at http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/000607/ca_va_l inu.html [yahoo.com] i noticed that freshmeat and valinux were links, but slashdot, thinkgeek and others were not... anyone know why they choose to link those certian sites and not the others?
  • I hereby propose payCmdrTaco.com [slashdot.org] to help Rob offset the burdens of having more money now that I will make in my entire life of flipping burgers for the Man/Clown [mcdonalds.com]. You, too, can help Rob for just 80 cents a day, or about $24 a month.
    --
  • You're assuming that VA won't allow Slashdot to "drift" away from Linux orientation. BUT ...
    1. As yet there seems to be no reason to doubt CmdrTaco et al's claims of editorial independence in perpetuity.
    2. Even if (1) is overly optimistic, VA doesn't need /. to be a Linux mouthpiece ... it has plenty of other ones.
    3. Andover didn't buy /. ultimately because it was about linux, it bought /. because it appeared to be a good investment. Mutatis mutandis for VA and Andover. Where's the value in a site that nobody visits anymore?
  • i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-c-e

    ya know, Linux has the 'look' command which is ideal for this kind of thing ;-)
  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @09:01AM (#1018741) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I was Slashdot user #357, and had been reading and posting comments on Slashdot before I heard of Andover, and only started posting on Slashdot as an author with Rob's approval. :)

    True but untold story: the plan was for me to do hardly anything but submission bin reading and culling for at least the first month. This is how we started Emmett and Timothy, and it's the right way to bring someone new into Slashdot, with a chance to acclimate and fit into the mold before actually posting stories. I was only supposed to take some of the load off of Rob and Jeff, who had been running this site without a break and hardly even a day off for over two years at that point, not take over the whole thing.

    But things got screwed up because the geek compound lost power and phone service the day after the Andover acquisition due to some horrible weather in Holland, and I was the only person around who had an author's login and could reach the server. For the next few days it looked like I (and therefore Andover) had totally taken control of Slashdot. Nobody wanted things to be that way. We all cringed at the way it looked, and I endured a lot of abuse over it, but there was no real choice.

    Now we've got Timothy and Emmett going full time and doing a great job, plus Jamie and Cliff and Michael and Nik and Jim and others kicking in as often as they can, so I've settled into my "real" role, which is to spend most of my time making sure Slashdot and freshmeat remain free of editorial influence from marketdroids, advertisers, and PR people (including ours), and to do my best to fend off attacks from the RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft, the courts, and anyone else who comes along and thinks they, not you or Rob Malda or Jeff Bates, have a right to decide what does and does not belong on this site.

    - Robin
  • by Azza ( 35304 )
    Moron. You know it's the first post, regardless of the content. Therefore the content is redundant.
  • Commander Taco uses Linux, a very primitive operating system which places an arbitraty limit of 8 characters on a user name. Thus, DarthTaco would not be acceptable. However, he can switch to DarthT~1.

  • Slashdot came to popularity because: it was riding the crest of the Linux revolution, and it had the right street tech smarts.

    Since "it's all over except the shouting" as far as Linux dominance is concerned, the new rage is MP3 and the peer-to-peer networks that are scaring the RIAA and MPAA.

    And beyond that? Maybe the multicasting revolution?
  • Hhahahahahah....

    You just made my day.

    :wq!

  • Hmmmm... I haven't seen many submissions of Salon pieces lately. Leonard hasn't been writing much breaking news about Linux and Open Source stuff in Salon lately, which might explain it. (I believe he's working on a book about Open Source, though.)

    But I like Andy Leonard just fine, and I think everybody else around Slashdot does too. He's a pretty good guy and a good reporter; spells the names right, is unbiased (which means he shares *our* biases), and all that.

    - Robin
  • I have a few shares of ANDN and LNUX, and they're still separate.

    So it sounds like the last details have been agreed to, but the final stock conversion hasn't happened just yet.
  • Hi, Bowie.

    Fact: We did give a lot of money and machines early on to slashdot before the andover purchase of /.. And we gave machines to everything2 (which is still owned by BSI). We give machines away all the time to groups, see kernel.org, linuxfromscratch and all the rest.

    Fact: Show your proof, let's see it. IF it's real, it's a surprise. My conversation with rob when I heard about the andover thing was "So , do you want us to get in the mix on this." , his answer was no, so I dropped it.

    Fact: Coldstorage was intended to be and became what sourceforge is, we jsut didn't like the coldstorage name. We knew there would be some freshmeat crossover, but they are very different sites. Big deal.

    How can we cannabilize your volunteer project,?why did you stop? Was it because we "made" you stop? Or is it because you were not committed enough to finish? Even if we hadn't offered space and machinery for what you told us was going to be a gtk widget repository, why did you stop? You stopped, we didn'ty get in your way. Fact is we can't make -you- do anything, and we're not interested in having anyone stop giving back to linux. If you have such a big problem with us, go set up your own thing somewhere else. It's my impression you'd rather bitch about it.

    Result: Keep your suspicison of VA, I'm fine with that. VA did purchase Andover, duh, when there is a merger whoever is bigger is by default the aquisitioner. As far as to whether we "ate" anyone, that's just stupid, in the adult world, people only merge when they want to.

    As far as beinga paid mouthpiece, I am the person who comments on slashdot. That doesn't mean I lack ethics. My job is so much more than responding to this kind of bullshit.

    Bowie, you have this vision of VA that is incorrect, it's too bad you can't see that. So, yes, I hope people keep both eyes and ears open, because then they will see how VA is not simply explointing linux like so many. I'd like to point out the bandwidth that we cover and hardware costs of sourceforge, and the public service mission of linux.com, or the many machines we gave away last year to projects big and small. Or the largest Friends and Family program that went off without trouble, benefitting a -great- number of developers.

    Finally, VA does care, and not just because it has it (there are a number of very good business reasons to care), but because it wants to. We didn't get into linux just last year, or even just 5 years ago, we started in 1993 when everyone knew -everyone- who was in linux. And we were helping out back then, too.

    We were there for people getting them hardware and stuff back when we were barely making payroll. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. Even now when VA is growing by a huge amount, we help out whenever we can. Because that is our duty, and we ake it very seriously.

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • Sorry about the excessive bolding, forgot to close my tag. And my spelling is getting as bad as rasters. Eek.
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG
  • So, now that Slashdot's part of the All-Encompasing VA Linux Empire, does this mean we have to start calling CmdrTaco Darth?
  • "Under the terms of the Asset Purchase Agreement between BlockStackers, Inc.
    and Andover.Net, dated as of June 18, 1999, Andover.Net purchased those assets
    of BlockStackers relating to the Slashdot.org web site for 1.5 million in cash
    paid at closing and maximum future cash payments of $3.5 million payable over
    the next two years contingent on the continued employment of two key employees.
    Maximum future stock consideration of $7.0 million is payable over a period of
    two years following this offering. "

    $1.5 million in cash does not a paper millionaire make.
  • I understand you invented the question mark too.

    Really, Trae and you had a conversation , that's fine, if you look at our previous discussion on slashdot, I'm fine with that, but that doesn't change the fact that I did not and certainly the sf guys did not knwo what you were working on or what name you chose.

    And I chose the name, if you did too, great, but I registered the damn thisng and I came up with it. I also registered other names in the event we didn't like it, including sourceanvil and the rest.

    What kills me is your assertion that if you came up with teh idea for sourceforge, why did you tell trae that it was a gtk widget repository? That's all I heard. So get over yourself.

    So for B) you in fact don't have anything you are willign to post, but I realyl don't thikn you have anything. What I do know is -my- conversation with Rob. I already noted it. Whatever you have is either complete deal bullshit (you know "you'll have to give us a good price, as we're talking with other buyers) or you do not have it.

    Chris DiBona
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • Slashdot used to run on VA hardware for a little while, IIRC. Does it still run on VA hardware? If not, will it be switching? (It seems that Slashdot's server needs easily outpace Moore's Law.)
  • The new setup is all va hardware, there was storyo n this a few weeks ago. I think.

    Chris
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • Reminds me of the website I saw the other day where it tells exactly when tvshows started to suck:

    leave it to beaver - beave goes through puberty
    happy days - pinky tuscadero (fonzie jumps the shark tank)
    bewitched - dick york is replaced
    dream of jeanie - Maj. Nelson and Jeanie get married
    M*A*S*H - Hotlips starts being likeable or when they stopped using the laughtrack
    3's company - (you mean it didn't always suck!?) when the ropers get their own show and are replaced by Don Knotts, or when Suzanne Sommers leaves the show... take your pick

    jumptheshark.com [jumptheshark.com]

  • Whatever, cite... that's not how we are at all.

    Chris
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • It was my impression that the two sites would become one under the sourceforge banner, with both teams working with each other. We certainly don't want to take any functionality away from folks on either site.

    This isn't official, but I think it's pretty close. Robin Miller knows the full story and will probably post.

    Chris DiBona
    VA Linux Systems


    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • We haven't made a formal announcement yet, but it's no secret - we don't really need to have two competing Open Source hosting sites within the same company, and SourceForge was farther along than Server51 when the VA/Andover merger was announced to us troops, so it's going to be the "keeper."

    It's sort of sad; scoop put a lot of heart into Server51. But now he and his gang can devote their full energy to freshmeat. I don't know if you've noticed, but freshmeat is now updated 24/7, not just when scoop has time, it has editorials every Saturday, and is generally getting bigger and better a little at a time, week after week.

    - Robin
  • by laborit ( 90558 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2000 @08:14AM (#1018779) Homepage
    With the recent merger of VA systems and Andover.net, Slashdot has gained an unreasonable degree of dominance over the web discussion market, claimed the Justice Department Wednesday. Negotiations are continuing between Andover lawyers and government officials, but a current plan would break Slashdot up into a number of competing operations, each in charge of one of its flagship products:

    Slash: News for nerds
    Dot: Stuff that matters
    org: Hot Grits

    A press release from CmdrTaco claims that they are cooperating with the Justice Department, but do not feel that criticism of their business as monopolistic is warranted. As competition in each of their major areas, Taco cited Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org], the American Civil Liberties Union [aclu.org], and the work of Jesustussinheadface [xoom.com].
  • They've been millionaires for a while now. When I see Commander Taco talking about what he wants under the Christmas Tree, I just think "You poor millionaire".

    Taco's take was (feel free to correct me. I know you will) pegged at about 6 million due to the sale to Andover.

    Oh well, maybe he can shop the sales, and there's always coupons to clip...
  • Forget them. If this is a community where all the members participate, we all should get options :). Heck, tie it on Karma points - the higher the Karma the more options you get. A great way to end the "First Post" comments. I suppose it would give a new meaning to the term "Karma Whore" though.

You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish. You can tune a filesystem, but you can't tuna fish. -- from the tunefs(8) man page

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