I had the pleasure of meeting many of the "giants" of Linux not too long ago. I dined and absorbed potables with people who have shaped and changed the Linux Experience for over a decade. It took a full day in that environment to get over being star-struck.
The Second Annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit.....those were the giants of Linux I met...many of them anyway.
And the "Little Guy?"
When I speak of "Little guys", I'm talking about the people that go out every day to make a living AND a difference in what we do.
The two are not mutually exclusive...some would have you believe they are.
I'm talking about people who are not corporate giants...like the ones who dotted the panels during the summit. The giants I measure the rest of us against are IBM, HP, Dell...the movers and shakers in corporate Linux. The 1000 dollar suits many of us stand in awe of and strive to match in stature and wealth.
The Little Guy I speak of are those of us who are not those people. And yes, I am struggling to keep from a single reference of David and Goliath here...wish me luck.
One of the Panel Suits told me as I stood in front of 400 people, that they don't take an interest in advertising Linux because...
We offer solutions, not systems.
Now, to those of you who operate under the assumption that Corporate Linux has any viable interest in the Linux Desktop, I am about to cause you great amounts of disappointment and angst. You in particular need to pay attention to what is said from this point and absorb it to the best of your ability. Your life may need to take a new direction if yours hinges on the Linux Corporate working with the Linux Community At Large. Again...
We offer solutions, not systems.
The person who told me that was Dan Frye, VP in charge of the Linux Technology Center for IBM.
OK...solutions, not systems...right?
And what is your relationship with Levono? You know, the computer manufacturer that was part of IBM then wasn't then partnered with them...and then broke away? You may be "legally" separated from them but not by much. Yeah maybe IBM does "offer systems, not solutions".
But you are sleeping with someone who whores for Microsoft like she has no choice.
If it makes you feel any better, I can post graphics for about every major computer manufacturer in the market and show the same thing. I simply don't because they had sense enough not to make such egregious statements.
You sat in that chair and told me in front of 400 people that IBM wasn't particularly interested in Linux as a "product"...Linux is only a "component".
Well that "component" has lined your pockets in gold. You've benefited from the work of thousands of developers over a decade on order for you to use that "component". More importantly, The Linux Desktop stands as a digital salvation for those who don't know they have a viable choice in the way they operate their computers. Somehow I get the impression that those people don't rate your attention or concern.
They don't buy Big Iron. And that's what it all boils down to for you isn't it? Big iron.
So yeah, ok...I get it. You make money with Linux, you expand your product line with Linux and sure, you even pay for some development of Linux...thanks.
Now tell me who ultimately benefits from you doing so....developing this "component".
So in reality you aren't "giving" us anything. It's actually a gift of of convenience. And yeah, I understand business...but there comes a time in every prosperous enterprise that you acknowledge those that helped you get there. I don't think it's in you to do so.
You can't advertise Linux because Microsoft has threatened you with exorbitant licensing fees and other sanctions if you do. That would be my guess. In fact, If I were to guess further, I would hazard a guess that those top-secret vendor agreements Microsoft demanded you sign actually states that you cannot actively advertise or promote Linux. I could be wrong...but if I am I'm not far off.
And if I have my way, there will come a day I will lay hands on one of those vendor agreements. On that day or shortly after, we're all going to meet right here and have a good long look at it...then we'll know. Again, I could be way wrong.
But in this case, I'd rather be wrong than gullible.
I want the readers of this article to watch the clip in the link coming up soon. I am going to ask you to pay particular attention to their body language and the way they choose to answer the questions asked them. I attended this summit just for the chance to do this...and as you watch, notice the reaction of the people around me. Focus too, on the single woman on the panel. Her name is Christy Wyatt and she is the VP of Software Platforms at Motorola. Credentials man, Credentials...those alone would disqualify her from the ignorance she displays in her response.
Listen to what she has to say. It seems that Ms. Wyatt is perfectly happy to allow Linux to work in complete obscurity on some nameless set top box. A nameless technology on a nameless set top box? She's perfectly happy with that. Again, watch some of the people around me... They want to know the answers to these questions too. I won't use the word condescending...that is until I find one that fits their responses better.
It seems they found the question amusing.
This is Corporate Linux looking out after the open source community...at their best.
What I find most troubling is that Jim Zemlin, the head honcho at The Linux Foundation stood in front of Tom King and myself at that event and fairly well echoed the same thing. That is disturbing beyond my ability to simply put it aside.
So listen Big Guys...you Giants of Techno-Industry...relax, the pressure's off now. While you set at your conferences and feed us platitudes and excuses, someone has gotten tired of waiting on you and done it himself.
The Little Guy. He's made an ad...the first of many.
Along with the well-known names at that summit, I met people with names you haven't heard and probably never will.
The one's that make a difference, not necessarily a profit.
Here's hoping a ocean liner full of profits to one person in particular.
I attended a few meetings and seminars with Loye but I got to know what he was all about on the last night of the event. The Linux Foundation, say what you will about them, knows how to treat their guests. It was an upscale Austin-type bistro with Southwestern food and a bar that would rival anywhere in the world. The food was exceptionally good, especially so because I didn't have to pay for it.
It was during that last dinner that I got to know Loye Young...and what he was doing.
Down at the very southern tip of Texas...and I mean if you go any farther south you are in Mexico...down Larado way, Loye Young and his partner wanted to build a computer manufacturing company. But not any computers were they to build. These were to be hi-spec Linux machines. Loye explained his reasoning simply.
"Software's free, and that's the way we think it ought to be."
Loye Young is a breed of Texan I've both grown to admire and trust. When you look him in the eye and he tells you something...then you can take it to that bank that it's going to happen. His firm gaze and handshake assure you immediately that you are doing business with someone who rather lose his money than take yours by other than honest means.
Linux means a lot to Loye Young...
So does the Truth.
Linux isn't a "component" of his effort, it's the backbone.
So much so that he started a computer company devoted to manufacturing just a few excellent Linux machines. Last week, Issac & Young Computer Company released their first product...and it's a beauty. The President of Issac and Young Computer Company is as comfortable working in his own production facility as he is in his office. In fact, Loye went out of his way to prove a point. Not only is he proud to offer Linux products...
He isn't afraid of Microsoft And here's his ad to prove it.
And via his message, you can spread this ad far and wide...even to the gates of Castle Redmond.
And then maybe to IBM, HP and Dell.
The Little Guy might be able to teach you a thing or two about Linux.
Friday, October 17, 2008
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 7:46 PM