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Ransom Love to Focus on UnitedLinux 102

morhoj writes "Looks like Ransom Love, who recently was host to a /. interview, has been replaced as CEO of Caldera and is now exclusively leading the UnitedLinux initiative. Some other stock buybacks and board swaps also happened at Caldera. Can't say that I'm all too pleased by this, I for one didn't like some of his answers in the interview, specifically that fees would be required to become "UnitedLinux" certified. That should really help wider Linux adoption."
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Ransom Love to Focus on UnitedLinux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    He's [] sexier than a stack of kuro5hin calendars.
  • by NASAKnight ( 588155 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @09:33PM (#3783857) Homepage Journal
    1) become united linux certified
    2) ??
    3) profit
  • by Verizon Guy ( 585358 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @09:34PM (#3783867) Homepage
    Is taking this guy seriously with a name like THAT.

    We might as well have this guy [] lead UnitedLinux. Or this [] guy. An Oriental [] guy would be good for diversity. This guy too.

    That should do for now.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @09:44PM (#3783912)
    Ransom Love has never really understood the concept of free software. He's stuck in the mindset of proprietary == added value and Caldera has suffered because of that. The same thing will happen to United-Linux if he has a strong controlling interest in its productization. The end result will be more of an Untied-Linux which will probably never even have as much relevance to the linux world as even Caldera was able to achieve.
    • Yup. UnitedLinux just got the kiss of death. While UL was Ransom's baby all along, his role at Caldera kinda gave off a thin impression that he would just be another figure head in the total UL organization. Now that veil has been lifted and he's the head guy at UL, I expect him to apply his usual ideas of using the proprietary software model for open source software and drive UL into a tiny niche market. Poor Ransom, he just doesn't get it, does he? I've never seen one man make the same business mistakes so many times...
    • Again...UL is simply Caldera expanding without having to buy out anyone. I don't have a problem with there being a price on Linux. I've purchased boxed sets of RH. My problem is per seat licensing and Caldera's cold shoulder to individual users. >
  • by HappyUser ( 174745 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @10:05PM (#3783996)

    Well, by charging, corporate america will be able to think with it. Besides it might become able to fund the partners to continue creating distributions we've grown so fond of.

    It seems few here have any experience with keeping a company afloat. It's always complain, complain when these guys try to get paid for all the work they put into this. It would be one thing if they were making money head over heals like MS.

    They have all been running at a loss with their linux distributions. Do you want to pay for them to continue?

    I for one am willing to pay for what I get. Fair exchange, don't you think?!

    So unless you can put up the money, and time it takes, and make it go right to bring out a great distribution, shut up!
  • by frascone ( 466844 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @10:07PM (#3784007)

    Personally, I don't mind that United Linux is trying to make a profit. I also wouldn't mind paying for it, if it was worth it.

    Having something be commercial is *not* the same as being closed (propriatary). If they try to charge money for something that sucks, no one will pay for it.

    I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy, and I'm a huge open source fan. But, people do still need to make money. And, I would rather see closed source software on an open platform, than closed source on a closed platform.

    Just my $.02 worth, anyway.
    • Having something be commercial is *not* the same as being closed (propriatary).

      I hate to point out the obvious, but if a company tries to charge money for something that you can download for free they're not going to make much money. Most distros are going about it all wrong. Free Software == commodity software, which means you had better find something else to sell if you want to stay around for any appreciable amount of time.

      p.s. Distros that have managed to make a few quid here and there are selling stuff other than just the shrink wrapped free download.
      • I think you're completly right.

        Which distros really have made any money? Which, just one? Redhat? Is nearly going toward the black zero, and most of they money they make are because of other services, not for the linux distro.

        Come on as soon you make a distro people demand to freely download, do you know what that means for costs for a server, they want free this and free that, they copy their distros etc.

        The problems are that the linux users AND develeopers are not business friendly. Honestly think about it, joe average linux user is a fuckwit. Isn't it? Just read slashdot for a half a year to get an idea, all this extremists posts somedays make me embarassed to be a linux user.

        (This post is written of 100% free software)
    • I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy, and I'm a huge open source fan. But, people do still need to make money. And, I would rather see closed source software on an open platform, than closed source on a closed platform.

      I agree, and while my experiences with Blender have led me to conclude that proprietary software coupled with proprietary formats is a no-win situation on any platform, open or closed, there is a place for commercial software in the Free World.

      The problem with United Linux is that they are promoting a very erroneous and IMHO destrictuve meme: that (a) a single commercial entity imposing a defacto embrace-and-extended standard is better than a community consensus and (b) that commercial products are better off targeting one imposed distribution and counting on compatability with others (in contrast to packaging their binaries in a distribution-neutral manner, the way VMWare does, Blender and Loki did, etc.).

      Point (b) is particularly problematic (and my sole signficant gripe with Red Hat, who I otherwise like as a company, as they have promoted that harmful meme to some degree as well), and why I will actually be cheering the demise of United Linux (to put it bluntly).

      Their strategy is to encourage vendors to package stuff for their distro, arguing that they are the standard to which all other distros (e.g. Gentoo, Source Mage, Slackware, Debian, etc.) must become compatible, then use that in)compatabilties to coerce those who would like to use said commercial products into purchasing their distro.

      In short, they are about coercion and removing choice from the community, and as I said in another thread, the losers will ultimately be the commercial vendors, whose products would simply be disregarded regardless of merit because of their incompatability with the installed distribution (which in our case we prefer for a number of reasons, the details of which aren't important here). The vendors will likely then think, erroneously, that they failed due to a lack of GNU/Linux interest, when in fact they failed because they targeted a coercive distribution that the majority of the community rejected, and thus closed themselves out of the very market they were trying to address.

      The entire notion of United Linux is based upon at least two false pretenses: (1) that it is somehow impossible for vendors to package binaries in a distribution-neutral manner, despite numerous examples to the contrary and (2) that the GNU/Linux community will accept a compatability standard imposed upon us by either a unilateral or multilateral corporate interest instead of community consensus.

      They are sorely mistaken on both of these points, and their arrogance will likely prevent them from seeing that until it is far too late.
  • Hmmm.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    LinuxSoft? MicroLinux? Either way, at least someone is taking the first step. To really be competitive means making money, and making money means charging for the product.

    Redhat charges for Advanced Server (targeting the Enterprise), but allows server and desktop for free. If I understand correctly, United will charge for "Server" and up, but the desktop will be free. Sort of like "If you build it, they will come" for the desktop piece.

    What is troubling (to me) is that, in the end, the precedents here are well documented. We all remember the "free" for life" services when the internet was in first bloom. Free E-mail, web hosting, etc. Those are gone. They won't be back, either. Because they didn't make money.

    The "give" here (by United) is on the GPL and releasing source code to developers. That keeps the platform "open", while still managing to charge for the product.

    Is Linux on the desktop "ready for Prime Time"? No, probably not. It isn't mindless enough. Certifications? Let's hammer away at that like MS and get 500,000 + folks certified (how many MCSE's are there?). Looks good to IS departments, anyway.

    My point? The Linux community will have to answer United's push, and the answer will be an MS-like Linux based counterpoint to Windows. Things are fixing to change.

    • So in the end Linux in your opinion should be about Free as in beer?
    • Is Linux on the desktop "ready for Prime Time"? No, probably not. It isn't mindless enough.

      I don't know if I'd choose that wording ("useable" is the one I'd use), but yes, it does need to be made easy enough for the non-hacker masses to pick up and use. Charging money is the fastest way to get there because as soon as United needs to make a buck quarter to quarter, they will have to pursue other markets than Linux zealots. Perhaps we don't like to think about it, but we are way outnumbered by the non-hacker computer users, and there is no way Linux can ever replace Microsoft without appealing to them.

      My recommendation (not that anyone asked :-), is to centralize access to all the umpteen different ways to muck with the configuration. RedHat 7.3 a la KDE has a pretty good start on this (I wonder why..), but there is still configuration that cannot be gotten to from the menus. The configuration doesn't need to be dumbed down at first, just findable.

  • OSF all over again? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @10:14PM (#3784046) Homepage
    As I see a few bits & pieces of the UL puzzle, I can't help but think of OSF. The Unix community was supposed to be united at last, as the software giants combined forces to create the one, truly standard OS. Focused more on fees than creativity... we all know how the story ends.

    The more I read about UL, the less I like it. I seriously doubt that the people who developed most of Linux were expecting to be used as free labor in a conventional retail software product.
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) < t c> on Thursday June 27, 2002 @10:21PM (#3784078)
    Ransom Love will destroy any hope UnitedLinux had. I hope he does not take SUSE down with him. He has never from day one understood anything about how to run an open source related company. Just look how popular Calera is with "Open"Linux (quotes are intentional.) They have boughten SCO, which is a horrible OS with a mainframe like following, and is slowly destroying that too. They had some cool technology years ago, like Linux NDS which was never widly used because nobody wanted to "tie themselves" to Caldera. He seems intent on creating vendor lockin, which is exactly what his market wants so badly to avoid.

    Love seems to shoot himself in the foot each time he opens his mouth. People are complaining about the slashdot interview. That was one of the best interview he ever gave...go search for more, you'll see. This guy does not belong in the Linux business, he just doesn't understand it. What's even worse is he thinks he does.

    This move of his saddens me. It also makes me want to go out and purchase some RedHat stock. All of RedHat's serious competition is about to die. I hope SUSE can maintain itself, and not sellout to Love's screwball mindset. I thought they knew better.

    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @11:05PM (#3784282)
      Yeah, like I'm going to listen to a guy with a fucking ad for a .sig call Ransom a sellout.
    • With any luck, the demise of UL will take RL with it. Unfortunately, the M$ hype machine will be screaming at full blast to announce the death of Linux, when it's really just UL being flushed down the toilet.

      Regarding SUSE, I'm not so sure any of the Linux parters in UL can survive this expensive mistake. These companies simply don't have the financial reserves to go out and take foolish risks like this. Of all the potential UL casualties, SUSE is the only one that I will miss.
    • They have boughten SCO, which is a horrible OS with a mainframe like following, and is slowly destroying that too.

      It's horrible and they're destroying it? So what's your problem?

      All the highly moderated comments so far have been very critical of Ransom Love. The parent post here makes a lot very critical statements, but with no facts to back them up. I know Caldera as a distribution has never been particularly popular amongst geeks, and that Mr Love's views don't exactly coincide with the majority of the Slashdot readership, but whatever happened to "a rising tide lifts all boats"?

      When Sun introduced payment for Star Office, reaction on Slashdot was fairly muted. People could see it still represents good value compared with MS Office, Open Office is still available for free (and Free), and businesses are happier because they can understand the revenue model and have faith that with Sun making money on it, it will have a future.

      Many of us have to use Windows at work and would love to use Linux instead. Many corporations will be happier to use Linux if they think it has a viable (read profitable) future. If Caldera and OpenLinux want to charge per-seat licensing then great! With the money, they can pay people to do some of the more tedious jobs that need doing. They could update all the HOWTOs, some of which are years out of date. They could pay driver manufactures to release drivers. They could sponsor people on gcc to work specifically on pre-compiled headers, faster load times for C++ programs etc.

      And guess what? If you don't want to pay for Linux, you still don't have to! So cut Caldera some slack, they just have a different business model from IBM, and go do something useful.

  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) < t c> on Thursday June 27, 2002 @10:36PM (#3784136)
    This is the same guy who is angered by the question about what Caldera does not give back to the Open Source community in the recent slashdot interview. He tells of how much "merketing" caldera has given to Linux, and how we should be greatful.

    That shows how much he understands the Open Source world. I remember when Caldera was considered a "bigger" more reliable Linux distribution than RedHat back in the kernel 1.2 days. Look at the two of them now, and the business/respect they have. If he thinks "marketing" his own product is enough giving back to the open source community, he deserves to fail. Calera should have died a long time ago. He bites the hand that feeds him...we have bitten back. I am afraid he will stunt (if not completely destroy) UnitedLinux's growth like he did Caldera.

    • If he thinks "marketing" his own product is enough giving back to the open source community, he deserves to fail.

      While I have read the GPL, and understand the FSF 'philosophy' I also believe it is somewhat like the bible. Full of good intentions, but unable to put across the full picture.

      While I agree that 'just marketing' is not putting back into the free software community in the spirit of the GPL that marketing may attract thousands, or even millions (if done well) of new Linux users.

      Each one of those Linux users will become a part of the community, and maybe one in a hundred or so will become an active and contributing hacker on some project - bringing much more mindshare to the Linux meme.

      *This* is incredibly important as the proprietary software vendors seek more and more to shut open source software completeley out of the marketplace using laws and other unfair methods - I know that Ransom Loves main reason for conducting marketing was to make a profit, but please do not underestimate how important it is to gain mindshare in the current climate, and only effective marketing can do that with any degree of success. Without it, Linux will die a death within a very few years because the current user base is too politically apathetic and too small to prevent legal and commercial pressures from halting Open Source production and distribution.
      • But he is not doing marketing for linux, he is marketing his product. This is not giving to the comunity, is giving to him self. When he is say that he is doing marketing for linux, what he is saying is "Be happy I'm here you little fools". All the distros, and even some companies that don't even have distos (like IBM) that work with linux market linux. After all is their business. That don't stop them to contribute.

        In my opinion this is BS.
  • Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by farrellj ( 563 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @11:09PM (#3784305) Homepage Journal
    Or does anyone else think the blue part of the Caldera logo looks like the left ear and part of the head of Mickey Mouse?!?!?!

    • Dude, everytime I see that logo it freaks me out. It looks like a balloon with Mickey's logo on it, half-rotated away from the viewer. Creepy.

      If it wasn't for Caldera's superdope icon sets I wouldn't even care who they were or who ran them. Wait, I don't. I like the crystal icon sets though.
    • Or does anyone else think the blue part of the Caldera logo looks like the left ear and part of the head of Mickey Mouse?!?!?!

      Of course it does, but don't tell DISNEY!!! If they find out they gonna sue Caldera into nothingness.
  • Here's what I think. I think a company needs to be started (let's call it Microsoft for our purposes), and that company will take all the GPLd software, package it, and license it under a commercial license so strict that you're not even allowed to remove the CD from the shrink-wrapping, let alone try to execute any of the information on it.
  • "specifically that fees would be required to become "UnitedLinux" certified"

    Yeah... it almost looks like a business... ehm... oops ... IT IS A BUSINESS
  • Wake Up People (Score:1, Insightful)

    by deKernel ( 65640 )
    I am so sick and tired of people ragging on Ransom and Caldera. I have been using Caldera for years now, and I feel that it is the most stable of all distros out there. (I can say this because every once in a while, I install other distros just to see what is going on in other people worlds).

    Now lets go after peoples bitches about Ransom and how he "bitches" about the "freeloaders" in the Linux community. First off, I have read all of his interviews that I can find. I have never seen that quote. Usually that is people saying that he said that. Second, everything that Caldera does for Linux OS is done under the GPL so all can get to the source. To me, he is giving more back to the community than most people who are just running Linux (I put myself in that boat!) Please notice that I put Linux OS because they do write apps like Volution for money. Yes, I said the dirty thing when it comes to Linux, making money. Business's as a rule need to make money to stay in business. I realize that most people in the community don't seem to have a clue about running a business, but let me make it clear as I can. The above is the first and cardinal rule: You need to make money to stay in business.

    Oh, buy the way, there are not to many businesses staying afloat on service contracts alone. Look at RedHat as an example.

    The moral of my story would appear to be: If you don't like Caldera or the UnitedLinux thing, don't use it. Plan and simple.
  • At least the nut isnt in control of Caldera anylonger.

    Let him go out and do stuff on his own.

    I dont see a problem with it.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."