The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Incoming Rounds...Triangulating For Return Fire

Thanks to Dave Kaplan for the well, thank you to my fellow blogger "PV" for posting the incriminating evidence.

AND...from the "this just in" room, we find that MS has been busy little beavers training Staples employees in the finer art of spreading untruths about Linux...I believe we are only seeing the start of this. Thanks to Rich C. for bring this to our attention. EDIT...Rich C has also discovered that Microsoft has spawned their efforts to Office Depot.

Let's just hope your boiling point is fairly high...good blood pressure is a terrible thing to waste.

Trust me.

It is a desperate move...

This one that Microsoft is making...

But should we expect anything else?

Probably not. Audacity is their calling card.

See Microsoft has no problem lying. They don't "misspeak". they don't "mis-represent the facts".

They lie through their gold-capped teeth.

If the above linked post is verified as true, and I have just fairly well verified on my own that it is; then the evidence is irrefutable....

They are the very best, they are withholding truths.

Or delusional...

All is fair in love and marketing...right?

The story is worth a read before you continue's pretty compelling.

In the story, much is NOT said about the biggest weakness the Linux Operating System endures.


Oh, how did you know I was going to bring that up again? But this time it's different. Maybe a drop in the bucket, but all floods start with a drop.

As do small spring sprinkles.

Two years ago, I approached a guy we call George. George has a fantastic voice and he recorded a few cuts so that when we are ready, we could put some sort of Linux presence on the airwaves. It's been a long, tough road to get to this point.

But it couldn't be just about have to tie it to something...a solid entity that could become actionable. That's when I got The Idea for HeliOS Solutions.

See, people have struggled from the beginning of Free Software/Open Source Software as how best to monetize actually make a living from it. It's been a tough slog. Redhat's model seemed to work on a corporate scale.

Why not as a sole proprietorship? One that had the major intent of feeding the HeliOS Project.

In December of 2007, with the invaluable help of Sander Marechel from the Lone Wolves Foundation, the HeliOS Solutions website was build and published to the web as HeliOS Solutions.

Great idea...and we've had limited success with it. As it is now, it is just a speed bump some trip over trying to get to other places...but we have done some business. It now ranges from 50 - 300 dollars a month.

A veritable drop in the bucket....

But all floods start with one drop.

While I was a guest in the home of Mr. Ed Timar, a dear and loved friend (Ed is the one that gave us the money to rebuild the South Texas Montessori School Computer Lab), we had a lot of opportunities to talk. Through those talks, Ed decided that 1200 dollars was cheap enough to settle the argument.

Is Linux via a service company saleable? Is radio the medium to use to reach mass audience?

We are about to find out.

EDIT: many have emailed me and asked to hear the source from which we will cut the ad. It has been posted before but I will post it again for you to hear. Remember, some of this will be cut down to accommodate contact info for HeliOS Solutions.

In less than two weeks, KLBJ AM will run our 60 and 30 second ads. There will be 57 ads run each week for two weeks.

Why 60 second ads? How many of them are we going to run at 60 seconds?

Only 6.

The ads are strategically placed to do the most damage.


Yeah Damage.

They will run once an hour for the three hour duration of the Kim Komando Show.

Poetic justice. She all but refuses to talk about Linux on her show.

See...There are three of us who tried for a 9 week period to get on her show. All three of us made it on varying occasions. We never lied. We always told the call screener that we were Linux Users and had a question for Kim. We were simply trying to see if any of us could get on to ask a Linux question.

Ain't gonna happen....ever. Stock Response?

We don't have any Linux Users Listening. I've listened to the program from time to time and it's basically a bunch of hand-holding for TSMC's (task-set mouse clickers).
It can make a Linux user want to weep..."Kim. I have viruses and it says I need to download their my computer won't work at all..."

No Linux users Listening....

Probably not many. If you want Linux radio...I mean real broadcast radio...your best bet is Gutsy Geeks.

So...this is going to be a semi-public experiment. We will try to track sales, calls, responses and outcomes for the HeliOS Solutions commercials.

Flood or short-lived sprinkles...we don't know yet. We believe we might be the first in the US to try this.

Floods or sprinkles...

Either one starts with a single drop.

Let's hope for a deluge.

All-Righty Then


DigitalPioneer said...

Good luck. :)

Anonymous said...

Ken, did you consider?

Even without "marketing", Microsoft is obviously crapping themselves about the Linux Threat.

Food for thought my friend. You do amazing work. Please remain well. People out here need you.


Michael said...

Can you post the audio of the commercial for those of us who aren't in the local broadcast area?

Anonymous said...

I saw the story about Best Buy/Microsoft propaganda over the weekend on /.

Here's my response to it:

I like the radio ad campaign idea. Especially the poetic justice bit!

Rich C

Unknown said...

@ Michael,

You bet...We only have one shot to get this right and only so many seconds to do it in so we are fine-honing the message to try to make it as impactful as possible.

It's not going to be "gentle". It is going to tell the truth as the truth is...not filtered through somne mega corp.

As soon as copy is final, I will post it here.


einfeldt said...

Microsoft has admitted in its mandatory annual 10-k SEC filing that Linux is a threat to its Microsoft Windows franchise. If Microsoft is committing the cardinal advertising sin of mentioning the competition in its advertising, they must be serious in their 10-k filing. Only a desperate company mentions the competition in advertising, because at that point, they are bleeding so much, they have nothing else to lose.

PV said...

Ken, I really wanted to send you this tip. I figured you'd probably post this story sometime; I just didn't know when.
I have a blog of my own and I'm trying to raise awareness of your organization and others like it as well as of Linux as a whole, among other things (my blog isn't dedicated to Linux).
This is my take, slide by slide: .
Can anyone comment? The problem is that officially I only have 1 follower :P.
At any rate, the stuff coming from the MSFT FUD factory these days is astonishing. It's also a sure sign of desperation on their part.

Amenditman said...


Truly amazing, the things you do.

We all dream of this stuff, you make it happen.

Wishing you the very best in this and other projects.


tracyanne said...

The fact that Microsoft is going so all out to spread as much anti Linux FUD as this confirms one thing, to me. Linux market share is likely to actually be in the 10% to 15% region that Steve Ballmers presentation to shareholders suggested, and growing faster than expected.

Anonymous said...


I don't know how you manage to find a way to do these things. I mean, you really DO them.

I am now officially in awe....If you are not Linux Advocate of the Year, I have no idea who is.

David in Houston (from Denny's, remember?)

Unknown said...

@ PV

Thanks...I edited the intro to the blog to give you credit for the actual copy of the instruction. What a crap-encrusted gold mine...

We just have to scrap off the lies and crap to get to what they are doing.

my thanks.


Michelle Minkin - Seattle said...

Ken, I just spent over an hour googling "Linux radio ads" and all I am finding is your older blogs talking about this inevitable conclusion. If I admire you for anything it is your tenacity and drive.

Just don't end up in the hospital again. My heart skipped a beat when David said he saw you with all those tubes stuck in you. I was sure it was worse than you let on...

Take care're leading the charge. Don't drop the flag.


Anonymous said...

It seems Staples are also in on this Microsoft lie spreading! I found this:

By the way, I created a bit of a tidier Open ID URL. The default one was a mess!

Rich C

Michael said...

Can I make one request? Once the radio spot is up, can you make both the original sources and final cut available under a creative commons license? I can see others wanting to air their own commercials, and having a ready source of good quality material will make it significantly easier.

I'm very interested to see if the bazaar model can do for advertising what it did for writing code.

Anonymous said...

Ahh.. the sweet smell of corporate fear.

Funny how a 3% worldwide Apple seems to get less attention than a sub 1% (world wide commonly guessed, but I think vastly underestimated) Linux.

Microsoft is pinning a lot on 7. They can't afford for it to be a disappointment like Vista was. One badly reviewed OS fair enough.. Two is unthinkable. And the launch must be spectacular. The competition must be humbled, and everybody must have nothing but praise for 7.

The meh starts now.

This is what happens when a salesman tries to run a software company. Loving it.

On the radio adverts.. Good luck. Hope they really pay off for you.

Michael Hall said...

The Staples handouts are more telling than the Best Buy program for how it focuses on netbooks. Does Microsoft know something we don't? Are retailers planning on putting Linux-powered netbooks on store displays?

That is the only reason I can think of for Microsoft to have this sudden push, they're expecting a fight, in store, in person, where people will be able to see and touch Linux, and Microsoft needs someone there to tell them not to buy it. It also seems that they have no confidence at all in 7's ability to compete on netbooks, telling sales people to recommend a "fully functional" PC over a netbook.

Unknown said...

@ Michael...

We did as you suggest in February...had absolutely no return interest aside from one or two comments.

The ads will (or already are) released under creative commons 3.0 share and share alike license.

We'll give it another shot and see what happens.

Unknown said...

correction on last post.

The proper name for this license is "share alike" not share and share alike.


David Meyers said...

Take care're leading the charge. Don't drop the flag.

Amen Michelle, amen.


Anonymous said...

Take care're leading the charge. Don't drop the flag.

And what a charge it is . . .

I'm afraid I don't know the original source of this quote, but I think it fits quite well: "Whereas we see a twisty maze, you see a straight line".

I stand back in awe when I see all that you have done. I am far from an activist, but I am a Linux user, as of 2004. There are few things that get me more angry than Microsoft, and I think I am not alone in saying this, am I?

I applaud your efforts. Keep them up, but don't push yourself too hard again -- we, Linux users, as a community, cannot afford to lose you to bad health.

David Gerard said...

"I'm afraid I don't know the original source of this quote, but I think it fits quite well: "Whereas we see a twisty maze, you see a straight line"."

Heh. That describes Richard Stallman too, you realise.

Anonymous said...

ixnotes here. I'm shocked anybody came across the Staples post on my blog. I only found out you linked to it because a friend of mine read your post and sent the link to me. He didn't even know I had a blog- and that yours linked to mine. I submitted the blog post to ./ so maybe it'll get some more publicity.

Unknown said...

@ ixnotes

Dude, that was a great link and that part of the story needed to be told. Thanks for posting it...makes a huge difference...starting to see a pattern here.


Gavin said...

"and everybody must have nothing but praise for 7"

- Anonymous (#3)

Actually, I really like Windows 7. (Cue the standard tag lines here.) It is what Vista should have been. It is the best of both Windows XP and Vista. Blah blah blah. But seriously, what I really like about Windows 7 is that it takes a big step towards working out-of-the-box like a major distro of Linux. Install it and (most of) your hardware (mostly) works.

Ok, so I do not have 100% praise for it, but I did my best! ;)

"It also seems that they have no confidence at all in 7's ability to compete on netbooks"

- Michael Hall

Uh... haha! Have you experienced Vista on less than 1GB of RAM? Windows 7 is decent on 1GB of RAM, as long as you are NOT a heavy multi-tasker, but with most NetBooks equipped with 512MB of RAM in order to stay on the cheap, Windows 7 is not even considered. I imagine that most NetBook manufacturers are being pressured (by whom, I wonder?) to steer clear of the latest M$ operating systems when dealing with small amounts of RAM. We cannot have slow systems putting the big dollar sign to shame, can we? And the rumour mill asserts that Windows XP will not be able to hold the fort long on NetBooks, since the marketing machines (of all types) have declared Windows XP to now be an inferior operating system (or at least very very old). I dare say the only reason Windows XP is surviving at this point is because of the M$ old coots who are stubbornly refusing the new-fangled Vista/W7 family. (Now that I have typed that, I am picturing old people wearing M$ shirts sitting in rocking chairs on porches wielding shotguns! :P Be careful, kiddies! They have boxes upon boxes of FUD ammunition!)

"we, Linux users, as a community, cannot afford to lose you to bad health."

- Anonymous (#4)

Amen to that! Drink some water or something, Ken! Lie down and take a cat-nap! You need to keep cranking for a few more years!

And kudos on the radio ads! That one you linked is very good. The language and terms are basic; I think the results will be favorable.

Anonymous said...

I found the ixnotes post by Googling 'Staples Microsoft Propaganda' or something similar. I think one of the comments about the /. article I read mentioned Staples, so I got curious enough to do a little digging.

I wonder if this story will grow any bigger... I kinda feel MS's tentacles may have spread further...

Anonymous said...

OK, hitting the tip jar thinking of radio ads.

And thanks for pointing out Zareason, I just posted the link to an intranet query for Linux laptops. And that site has ~40 K users, no idea how many will see the Zareason link :-) Ken, if you check my IP you will see which company I work for.

Take care! And I really mean that!

Kris from Cyber Line said...

Ken, there is a new tech show coming to Austin soon. Mick Williams Cyber Line has been picked up on KLGO-FM 98.5/99.3

I do not see it on the schedule yet, but we were informed that they just picked us up. We broadcast live from 9PM till midnight Saturday nights. and we are very Linux friendly!

If you are interested in being on the show, either as a caller or as a guest, contact Mick at or call 1 800 992 8721 during show hours.

We have been waiting until we got an Austin affiliate to contact you about your work.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more about the radio coverage angle!

I posted a thought I had over at Linuxquestions ( on how we (The Linux Community.) might use this to our advantage...

Unknown said...

@ Linux_Rich_C

email me helios at fixedbylinux dott kom.

I'll swap phone numbers so we can talk.


Unknown said...

@ Anonymous

I would really like to look at that IP but I use gmail and google strips the originating IP since they act as the initial gateway. Email me if you like...or send it anonymously from another computer and just put that information in...your work that is.

You have highly piqued my interest.

Not that I am obsessive or anything...


Anonymous said...

Helios, it's not just Best Buy and Staples. It's happening at Office Depot too:

Anonymous said...

I read your add page for the service you provide. It looks great. The only suggestion that I have is you should also include the point that you are installing all of the necessary office, internet, and multi-media applications necessary for a typical home or office. That way, the customer who may not be familiar with Linux can get a rough idea as to what you are providing.

Cody L. said...

Linux FTW!