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Building a Small IT Consulting Business Based on Linux (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year and a half ago | from the they-love-you-as-long-as-everything-works dept.

Linux Business 138

When you call your business Penguin Computer & Telephone Solutions, it's obvious that Linux is your favorite operating system. Company owner Frank Sflanga, Jr. happily works on Windows, Mac and whatever else you want or have around, but he is a Linux person at heart; in fact, he's a founder and leading member of The Southwest Florida GNU/Linux Users Group. But the point of this interview, which some will want to label an ad (although it's not), is to show how Frank started his one-man consulting business and made it successful so that other Slashdot readers can follow in his footsteps and become self-employed -- if they are so inclined. You might want to note that most of Frank's clients were not familiar with Linux when he first started working with them, and most are not particularly interested in software licensing matters as long as Frank keeps their stuff working. You might also want to note that Ft. Myers, FL, where Frank is located, is not exactly famous as a hotbed of leading-edge technology, which means that even if you live someplace similar, where business owners ask "What's a Linux?" you might be able to make a decent living running a Linux-based IT consulting business.

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This is a losing proposition. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43517915)

Business runs on Apple and Microsoft.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518083)

Unless that business is in hosting, supercomputing, science, robotics, software development, or some other little cottage industry.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518139)

Oh yeah, destroy the parent's argument with things that only apply 95% of the time.

Shame on you.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518457)

Yeah, it's destroyed because you can't do any of those things without Linux.
 
Aside from supercomputing, Linux doesn't really have an extreme presence in any one of these catagories.
 
Oh, and 95% of the business does not involve any of these catagories either. I really don't know where you came up with the number at unless you're working in a Linux only robotics software development lab that has a supercomputer and you also host from that location... I'm pretty sure that that would be a fairly unique business though.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520927)

You living under a rock? Linux dominates the hosting industry.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521019)

Aside from supercomputing, Linux doesn't really have an extreme presence in any one of these catagories.

Well, you're wrong about that too. Linux has an overwhelming presence in hosting and other server situations.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518253)

I am 100% sure that a one man consulting shop does not consult for hosting, supercomputing, scientific, software development, etc. He likely consults with small scale (non-chain) retail, dentists (although it seems like most dentists are tied into large IT providers), etc. In other words - small business. And he is screwing them. When he gets tired of this gig or moves to another place, these people are stuck with poorly supported, non-standard stuff. Not really what they would want.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518375)

so same as any other vendor then?

except at least with Linux you have a chance at finding a community for support

Re: This is a losing proposition. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518583)

Right, there is no community support for Windows or OSX.
 
It's pathetic to see what gets up and down modded in threads like this and it's even worse that some people clearly have little to no experience but want to bang the Linux drum so bad that they make asses of themselves.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518977)

Businesses don't give a fuck about community support. The Windows shop I work for just completed a $50,000 project to replace infrastructure and migrate from linux. Some local guy like this put in all this kludged up linux shit that never worked right. They fired him, and we refuse to support a linux environment (the migration was just some files and a website, thankfully). Now they have a worry-free environment that works like other businesses. Group policy, managed updates, all these things most business take for granted.

The stability and familiarity of Microsoft, Cisco, and knowing that any IT company can support the infrastructure is well worth the money they spent. They didn't save anything in the end with linux. It cost them a lot more in the end.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (4, Funny)

JonJ (907502) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519125)

They fired him, and we refuse to support a linux environment

Ah, incompetent, I see.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (1)

Shaman (1148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520727)

This.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (5, Insightful)

munwin99 (667576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519451)

$50k for "just some files and a website" - WTF?
Where and how do you spend $50,000 on a file server and web server?
Lets me guess, Windows + SharePoint + SQL Server....

Re: This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520301)

Well, if you're counting the server hardware itself, that $50k could be spent on a single server, EASILY.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521793)

Depends on your needs and future scalability. You could spend under 10K for a modest Microsoft server (Dell PowerEdge with SharePoint and SQL) with SBS 2011 Premium, but I wouldn't recommend it performance-wise.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521869)

Well, if you buy a real server ... not something that runs in your basement at Moms ... 50K on hardware is ... well, trivial.

When you actually play with the big boys, you won't make such stupid statements.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43519683)

Wow the shill desperation is strong in this one!

Re: This is a losing proposition. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520355)

hmmm, 50 grand? a website and some files? what the hell did you do for 50 grand? you people are nuts.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520545)

hmmm, 50 grand? a website and some files? what the hell did you do for 50 grand? you people are nuts.

Probably wrote half an email program using three full-time developers.

I kid, I kid.

(not really)

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518755)

You're right, a .NET software development shop is a myth, and this doesn't really exist: http://www.robotshop.com/ghi-fez-spider-net-development-starter-kit.html [robotshop.com] .

I think you meant:
There's plenty of businesses in hosting, supercomputing, science, robotics, software development, or some other little cottage industry.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520319)

All A's are B's but not all B's are A's. Get off your semantic high horse. Everyone knew exactly what he was saying.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43521607)

If you know anything about the .net micro framework and any implementation of it, there is no real-time capability. I have a netduino 2 and a netduino 2 plus, it's great that you can program them in C# in VS 2010 and do source level debugging. However, if you want any real time capability you have to write unmanaged code. Not so with the native C/C++ arduino environment, or any RTOS environment.

So yeah, .Net is popular, and yes if you don't need to do any real-time operations beyond what the already implemented libraries do for you (e.g. PWM) then you can use .Net.

So - yeah - not anyone's first choice except if they can't deal with unmanaged code.

Re: This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43521367)

My only issue is that in the 'business' world where I've built my 17 year old IT consulting business, most businesses use some industry specific application for their operations. The vendor/developer of said app often dictates the platform on which it runs. Even if some brilliant dude can make it work fantastically on Linux, the vendor will reject any and all responsibility for support when the customer goes off the reservation and doesn't follow the vetted specs. That fact alone kills most open source substitutions for small and medium businesses.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518111)

And a couple mainframes...

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518211)

Losing businesses run on Apple and Microsoft.

FTFY.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518309)

Linux = Servers
Apple = Desktops, phones and tablets
Windows = Games

Re:This is a losing proposition. (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518791)

you must be new to computers...

Phones: Android, iOS, win 7/8
Games: all 3 have uniques, Linux can use wine, i'm sure there's an osx solution
Servers: RedHat, win server 2000-2012, OSX server

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518933)

you must be new to computers...

If you think Linux and OSX can compete with Windows on games, you must be new to this universe.

I like Linux too, but I'm not fucking insane.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519079)

Must be: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=150352 [ubuntuforums.org]

And I could've sworn I said

i'm sure there's an osx solution

what part of that didn't you get?

Re:This is a losing proposition. (2)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520201)

I'm fairly sure you are entirely fucking insane.

The whole Linux/OSX vs windows on gaming thing has become less and less of a gap. you apparently don't know that?

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520385)

ever heard of thing called android? or steam? the windows gaming arena is over and so are the gaming consoles. You can't complete with 30 gb of ram and 12 cores and dual video cards. The rest can be ran on handheld android phones or tablets. The war is over and Microsoft sony, and nintendo lost.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520655)

If you call what small inroads Linux on Steam has as a game changer than you certainly can't shrug off anything else. Linux isn't changing the face of Steam at all. They're just porting over games that were already OSX ports. Big deal.
 
It's like saying that this is the year of Linux on desktop because Linux actually hit 2% of marketshare.... Just another delusional Linux fag.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521363)

Regular users don't have 32GB of RAM, 12 cores and dual video cards.

Re:This is a losing proposition. (5, Insightful)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518217)

I run a very profitable company [roaringpenguin.com] that started out as a Linux consulting shop.

I started my company back in 1999 when Linux really wasn't on business's radar. The keys to success were:

  • Promote Linux where it makes sense. I set up plenty of firewalls, file servers, mail servers, web servers, etc. for my small business clients.
  • But don't be religious. I certainly didn't waste my breath trying to convert them away from Windows on the desktop.
  • But on the third had, do have some religion. There's no way I would have installed a Windows server for anyone. I would have politely declined their business, stating that my specialty is Linux. No-one ever actually asked me to do that... I made it clear up front I was a Linux guy willing to coexist with Windows machines, but not actually work on them.
  • Keep your ears open and figure out what your clients want. Back in 2000, one of my clients wanted mail filtering, from which was born MIMEDefang [mimedefang.org] and eventually my commercial anti-spam company that has a dozen or so employees (and, btw, that runs completely on Linux, including servers, desktops, phone system, and even my Nokia N900.)

For me, it has been a terrific 14 year ride with a great future ahead. Not a losing proposition by a long shot.

ugh, 30 second commercial & 17 minute video (3, Insightful)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43517927)

Forget it, back to work.

Re:ugh, 30 second commercial & 17 minute video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518711)

Took me 5 mins to read the transcript

Im my case (1)

future assassin (639396) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519963)

Forget it, back to playing xonotic...

Confused . . . (4, Funny)

Kimomaru (2579489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43517967)

Why does he not call it GNU/Linux? Stallman would be cross . . .

Recursive? (1)

Dan McCann (2885809) | about a year and a half ago | (#43517985)

So is posting this on Slashdot a commercial for the commercial that is this video?

Hm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43517999)

... show how Frank started his one-main consulting business

What about his other consulting businesses?

Re:Hm (1)

Roblimo (357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518153)

Thanks for spotting the typo. Fixed.

cheaper upfront cost, long term not so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518029)

Nothing wrong linux.

BUT I would stay with windows. Frankly, licensing cost for software each year is a lot cheaper than the extra 10k+ you will be paying each year for every linux developer on your team. I guess that is not important if you are doing most of the work yourself, or have a very very few IT professionals. Where I work though, it has not been proven to be a viable option due to long-term costs. It is cheap up front until you grow and need more man-power.

Re:cheaper upfront cost, long term not so much (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518113)

I keep hearing about the higher costs of Linux-capable staff but never experience it first-hand :-(

Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (2, Insightful)

alphad0g (1172971) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518047)

"no one calls to say they misplaced their printer icon"; No adobe update notifications, don't need to defrag or update, etc..... Why not? Linux doesn't do away with any of this. Package updates break things on Linux as often as they do on any other platform. Adobe needs updates on Linux too. The difference is that the users are scared to touch anything, so they don't. Instead of users buying software and doing their own work, they hire him to administer free software - I am OK with that, but I hate the myth that Linux "just works". There is a reason, that even with all the free software that exists, the software companies are still in business.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518209)

Why would you install anything from Adobe on a Linux box? I thought Linux had native print/write/read support similar to OS X?

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518227)

Because somebody's going to run into some dumb website with a flash object that doesn't run on Gnash.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518291)

Oh, THAT Adobe.

Flash sucks.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518347)

How would that matter in a company? If you're running Linux all over the place, why would you build a Flash-based intranet? You'd probably go for HTML5 or something like that.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518393)

Yeah but people are still gonna browse, whether work-related or not...

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518441)

Yeah but people are still gonna browse, whether work-related or not...

And your point is? They need to be on youtube or something to do their job?

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518539)

Have you ever stopped to think that people actually do use the internet in a productive manner on the job and that it's not all Facebook, Youtube and Slashdot?
 
Where I work we have some non-core government regulated training that is hosted by a third party (also government regulated) that requires Flash. We don't really get to throw a tantrum over it and cry "Why can't it be HTML5?!?!?"

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518931)

Not my fault your work can't upgrade and get out of flash. Bad business decision.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518973)

I see you don't know what third party means.
 
My guess is that you don't even work in the industry.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518723)

Why would you install anything from Adobe on a Linux box? I thought Linux had native print/write/read support similar to OS X?

It does, it's also by Adobe and called postscript. Not everything with an Adobe badge is a steaming pile of shit.

OS X uses CUPS, a printing systems used on Linux and BSD distros. Apple basically bought it up, rebranded it, didn't use the spirit of OSS by dumping mass source dumps that can't be merged back, just like when they used Konq for their browser, renamed to Safari, then played the dickhead when it came to sharing code.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518901)

Not everything with an Adobe badge is a steaming pile of shit.

No, not everything, just all their software. Some of the specs are quite good...now if only their software actually implemented the specs, that would be peachy.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521541)

You mean this webkit?

http://opensource.apple.com/source/WebKit/WebKit-7536.28.10/ [apple.com]

Or this webkit? http://tech.slashdot.org/story/07/07/23/1953217/the-unforking-of-kdes-khtml-and-webkit-begins [slashdot.org]

Holding a grudge for 6 years? Man, in Internet terms, that's like a million years!

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (3, Informative)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518265)

Package updates break things on Linux as often as they do on any other platform.

Citation needed. I can't remember the last 'apt-get upgrade' that broke something on my system. Not sure it's ever even happened to me.

Adobe needs updates on Linux too.

Cool. Linux can do that..... silently. In the background without the user ever knowing. No nagging popups or user interaction required. Not like pushing shit out with SCCM in windows and all the fucking annoyances that includes, plus the asshole you have to hire to package shit manually for it.

The difference is that the users are scared to touch anything, so they don't.

Which is why windows systems are often so much more out of date than a Linux system that will take updates in the background without them ever knowing it.

Instead of users buying software and doing their own work, they hire him to administer free software - I am OK with that, but I hate the myth that Linux "just works". There is a reason, that even with all the free software that exists, the software companies are still in business.

Software companies are still in business for a wide range of reasons. Many of them incorporate free software. This goes nowhere to further your point.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518453)

Citation needed. I can't remember the last 'apt-get upgrade' that broke something on my system. Not sure it's ever even happened to me.

http://askubuntu.com/questions/171038/broken-package-manager-the-suggested-apt-get-f-install-is-failing

http://www.howtoforge.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33031

http://www.google.com/search?q=broken+apt-get+upgrade

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (2)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519589)

http://askubuntu.com/questions/171038/broken-package-manager-the-suggested-apt-get-f-install-is-failing

User error. They tried manually installing shit without installing the dependancies. This is not an apt-get install issue, this is a retard not knowing what they are doing.

http://www.howtoforge.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33031

Also user error. Morons installed a custom kernel and wonders why apt-get won't upgrade his kernel.

http://www.google.com/search?q=broken+apt-get+upgrade

useless

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520567)

Wow. Just wow. Did you even read what the original user problem was? I'll quote it here:

I clicked "install updates" in the update manager window, it failed, and next thing I know I can't apt-get install any packages, it just suggests I try apt-get -f install, which fails with the following message.

Assuming you are right that it was caused by a user error in which they dared to install stuff "manually" (by which I assume you mean downloaded a package outside the repositories and installed it, causing some dependency problems) without understanding dependencies, violations, how to avoid said violations - that makes them "retards"...? (FYI, please don't go on a Linux user community with that "people are dumb if they don't understand dependencies" attitude - you do more harm than good).

Don't get me wrong, Linux is great (and I use it). But thinking that everything is fine and dandy, while Windows/Macs are always plagued with problems is just as blind as assuming Windows/Macs are great and Linux sucks. If you are competent, any of them can be handled. If you aren't, you can mess up any of them.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (0)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521835)

Try reading the fucking answers fuckwad. All you're reading is the error message, look to the root fucking cause. Ok? Got it? Great now fuck off and get some god damned sense. Jesus Christ, I'm done with this, back and forth with a fucking idiot.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520677)

Hey Linux fagboi... you still sucking that Linux dick? LOLzzz!!!!!!
 
Go eat the shit out of Linus' ass. Faggot.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518581)

Citation needed. I can't remember the last 'apt-get upgrade' that broke something on my system. Not sure it's ever even happened to me.

Mkay...just a quick google
Here's a bug from 2008 [launchpad.net] in which an upgrade toasted some Perl stuff. Oddly enough, it seems to show up in a 2012 post as well [ubuntuforums.org]

Now then, that said. Yes, maintainers make mistakes just like MegaCorp$. Linux is not infallible. Some distros suck worse at things than others. I'm glad there are many. There is only one Apple OS and only one Windows OS. If either of those suck, you're really out of luck. You cannot "switch" to a different, yet compatible, system. With Linux you can. In the end, I'll take wrestling with busted packages on Linux any day. On other platforms is usually shut-up and reinstall. Thankfully, it's not as common as the rpmhell back in the 90s.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518721)

Mkay...just a quick google Here's a bug from 2008 in which an upgrade toasted some Perl stuff. Oddly enough, it seems to show up in a 2012 post as well

Hah, hah, very funny. Did you not notice that both the examples you cite were distro upgrades. That's like saying: "I upgraded from Vista to WIndows 7 and xyz broke". It was not "I ran a routine update on my system and something broke."

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518907)

Mkay...just a quick google
Here's a bug from 2008 [launchpad.net] in which an upgrade toasted some Perl stuff. Oddly enough, it seems to show up in a 2012 post as well [ubuntuforums.org]

Now then, that said. Yes, maintainers make mistakes just like MegaCorp$. Linux is not infallible. Some distros suck worse at things than others. I'm glad there are many. There is only one Apple OS and only one Windows OS. If either of those suck, you're really out of luck. You cannot "switch" to a different, yet compatible, system. With Linux you can. In the end, I'll take wrestling with busted packages on Linux any day. On other platforms is usually shut-up and reinstall. Thankfully, it's not as common as the rpmhell back in the 90s.

Sad example. A bug with a distribution upgrade 5 years ago is not an "apt-get upgrade" issue. Not to mention the one from 2012 looks more like someone dicking around with the perl libraries and it broke when upgrading their distro.

By all means, keep grasping at straws. Linux does have its issues, the vast majority of which are on the backend and out of sight for users. There is no perfect OS, but to try and compare it to the shitfest that is windows and it's upgrades..... sorry no. You're way off course.

Rely on packaging? not really (1)

LesFerg (452838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519773)

"Citation needed. I can't remember the last 'apt-get upgrade' that broke something on my system."

Recently I thought I would try the latest Qt IDE on Ubuntu 12.04. Did the apt installs and tried to use the IDE, got strange error messages and a crashing app just from trying to access some of the tools. After going thru all the obvious steps and finally ending up on the forums with the appropriate authorities on Qt, I get advised that I should uninstall the Ubuntu packages and download and build it all myself, cos the Ubuntu packages are usually borked.

And this after I had just spent several months trying to convince myself that Linux had come a long way towards being a reliable click-and-go desktop solution.
Not a hater, I have been used Linux for fun and a little programming for well over 10 years, I just feel disappointed every time I have to sift thru the crap and read the discussions across several eras of a library or app's evolution to find the solution to a problem, cos I relied on the packaging system of the distro I am using at the time. Its fun and all, at first, but eventually gets tedious. Perhaps I should ditch Ubuntu, but its not like this is the ONLY distro I ever encountered this with.

Re:Rely on packaging? not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520503)

IDEs from repositories are better to be avoided. They usually have enough bugs in themselves so that you'll need to keep an eye on the version you use, as accidentally updating an IDE can break things. They also tend to be quite picky, and the packaging is rarely done fully correctly. Luckily, at least in Eclipse's case, using the software from the official source is simply "extract and run".

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

andrewa (18630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520287)

I think just about every time there is a kernel update to my Mint distro, the following break with absolute regularity: vmware workstation, conky, cairo-dock, 3d graphics drivers. Now, that's more likely to be a fault of the applications, but I for one would expect vmware to not fail so miserably with each kernel update.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520409)

In fairness, Mint is just about the buggiest and unstable Debian based distribution in the entire world.

Re:Everything he mentions could happen on Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518421)

Linux doesn't do away with any of this.

Actually, it does. For one thing, pretty much no common *nix file system requires defragmenting. That is a NTFS (and FAT, I guess) specialty. You mention adobe updates specifically, but I've never actually seen any adobe update requirements in my 10 years of using linux that wasn't masked by the normal package manager. For that matter, I haven't seen anything adobe-related on my linux systems since I got sick of Flash back in 2010.

Riiiiight.... (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518099)

"You might also want to note that Ft. Myers, FL, where Frank is located, is not exactly famous as a hotbed of leading-edge technology"

It also, you may want to note, isn't exactly hillbilly country - Monster has 16 high-tech jobs in Ft. Myers area [monster.com] right now, much more if you expand your search area...

It's no Silicon Valley, but then again neither is about 99.99% of the country...

Re:Riiiiight.... (1)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518203)

16 whole jobs? Say it ain't so. Why that's absolutely booming! /s

Re:Riiiiight.... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518279)

And at least 2 of them are looking for plumbers for the sewer system of Microsoft Hell :-Z

What's your point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518297)

I know a guy out in the mountains of Appalachia who has a nice computer support side business. He's not getting rich or anything, but it brings in extra income.

I would think that being AWAY from an IT hotbed would be a GOOD thing because the local market isn't flooded with every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Mary who has an IT support company - like in Metro Atlanta.

And don't give me this "Well, the best will shine and others will fail" nonsense. If you get shit to work or give a good line as to why it doesn't, then you're golden - see big chain squad that makes a lot of money.

Re:Riiiiight.... (1)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518537)

>>It also, you may want to note, isn't exactly hillbilly country

I beg to differ. I just spent a week there visiting my dad and was surprised with the diverse range of people in the area. It is definitely crawling with hillbillies. Mullets and Pick-em-ups (trucks); I thought I was back home in the Carolinas for a second!

Anyway, now that I know there's a local LUG, I'll have to check it out next time I'm in that area (which is beautiful, BTW).

There are tons of small businesses in the Ft. Myers area, which are perfect for a small IT shop to service. In another life, I worked for a similar operation and rolled out many a SAMBA server for small businesses. They didn't care that it was Linux, they just cared that they didn't have to pay for the OS or CALs. There's plenty of money to be made in this type of business, and it's really no secret. Like anything else, it all comes down to your ability to sell; the product and service are secondary.

Driving revenue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518151)

You see folks, the #1 question to answer when being an entrepreneur is: How do you drive revenues?

I.E. Get sales.

From what I gather, he poached customers from his former employer and I based that on his statement (to paraphrase) a cabal of loyal people - or some such thing.

He also offers other services - like telephony; which I have a sneaky suspicion is his bread and butter - not the Linux support.

I think it's great that he's doing well and can join a country club and have a couple of cars. Awesome! More power to him!

But what I'd LOVE to see, is someone who is not only a Linux geek, but someone who built up a business like this from nowhere - as in NO source of customers. A nobody.

That's what I'd like to see.

Re:Driving revenue. (1, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518239)

If you want to talk to a nobody who's running a business, I've heard about a guy named Ballmer.

If he asks you to take a chair, literally take it because that's going to be your weapon against him a friendly game of "chairmen".

Re:Driving revenue. (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518245)

See my earlier comment [slashdot.org] .

That tells me nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518383)

Sorry, but exactly what do you do?!

Ads on Craig's list?

What?!

the advice above is in every (varous versions) marketing book!

Re:That tells me nothing. (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520595)

Sorry, but exactly what do you do?!

Did you not read my comment? I started out doing Linux consulting, but now we develop and sell anti-spam software and services.

Re:That tells me nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520887)

Sorry, but exactly what do you do?!

Did you not read my comment? I started out doing Linux consulting, but now we develop and sell anti-spam software and services.

Told me nothing.

HOW do you GET the people to BUY your services?

HOW do you get them to BUY you anti-spam services?

Ads in the newspaper? "Buy my anti spam services!" Hookers? What?!?!?

Most people don't know linux from a hole in the wall! All they now is they have an HP or Dell!

I've been there!

God!

Why is this such a hard question to answer - unless you don't have a clue......

Re:That tells me nothing. (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521915)

HOW do you GET the people to BUY your services?

Initially: Through people I knew (basically, I networked like crazy.) Eventually, word of mouth.

HOW do you get them to BUY you anti-spam services?

A combination of advertising, reputation, word-of-mouth and cold-calling.

You just got lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518555)

I read your recommendations.

They don't work because I did that in my market. See Here [wikipedia.org]

Congrats on a +5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518975)

for posting nothing.

You are either clueless are a great scammer. Because what you posted is shit.

I KNOW because I have been in business. AND I was stupid enough to get a MBA in Entrepreneurship because I thought I didn't know enough.

But I can say this sir, you posted NOTHING! Nothing that can help us geeks. IF you REALLY think that what you posted was your secret to success - then keep going! That would really tickle me if you kept doing what you're doing - considering your moderation.

You got lucky and you're too stupid to know it. I've been there - several times.

HOW TO GET BUSINESS! HOW TO GET THAT CUSTOMER - would help us and you did NOT post that.

You, sir,. are a fraud.

Re:Congrats on a +5 (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520611)

If you want to call me a fraud... meh. Fine.

My first customers were my former employers. I did consulting for them.

I spread the word around my local LUG and got my next set of clients that way. Once I had a core group of clients, the rest came through word of mouth.

It's not rocket science.

Oh, and another thing... (2)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520645)

One more thing.. if you have the skills, a great way to become known is to write and give away Free Software. I wrote three GPL'd software packages: RP-PPPoE [roaringpenguin.com] , Remind [roaringpenguin.com] and MIMEDefang [roaringpenguin.com] which got me far more business leads than $100,000 worth of ads.

That's nothing to be ashamed of! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520825)

My first customers were my former employers. I did consulting for them.

You couldn't say that when you posted your first comment?

Really?

It does say something about your skills that you were able to get your employer as your first customer.

Just say'in.

That's what I was getting at .... you had some IN.

Some way of getting those first customers .. and it sickens me that I had to Troll you to get the information.

That's all I wanted to know. See, that's the hardest part of starting a biz is getting those first customers to get going. TO build the name. The whole "work hard, don't preach, yadda..yadda...yadda..yadda..yadda" is all horseshit and I know it - YOU know it.

Why couldn't you be really honest?

Everyone I know who has been successful at their own business built their clientèle at their former employer - and in some case SUED by them for "stealing" customers.

Re:That's nothing to be ashamed of! (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43521929)

Why are you so bitter? Lots of people leave a job and stay on very good terms with former employers.

And only my first two customers were former employers. The next batch were through networking with peers, the local LUG, etc.

Now my business is big enough that we can advertise and hire people to do cold-calling.

It's not rocket science.

TO build the name.

Writing and distributing Free Software is a great way to do that. It worked fantastically well for my company. I grant you that not everyone has the skills needed to write and maintain software, but if you do.. go for it.

Re:Driving revenue. (1)

geek (5680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518287)

But what I'd LOVE to see, is someone who is not only a Linux geek, but someone who built up a business like this from nowhere - as in NO source of customers. A nobody.

That's what I'd like to see.

Keep looking because that doesn't happen in any line of business. Bakers start out baking somewhere and open up their own shops, customers and clientel from past experience try them out and either stick with them or move on.

Business is as much who you know as what you know. Connections matter and anyone that jumps into a new business without connections is doomed to failure.

Re:Driving revenue. (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520629)

Connections matter and anyone that jumps into a new business without connections is doomed to failure.

That is true. And that's why it's vital to stay on good terms with former employers. You never know when they might become consulting clients and/or send business your way.

This guy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518199)

I am from the area in question, and always found most my work in the same feild somewhere else. Looked into joing this group years ago, but it seemed amature. How he got this on /. floors me.

Re:This guy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43518623)

amature

How he got this on /.

Really?

You're on a site where people think spelling Microsoft with a dollar sign for the s is edgy; where fanboys duke it out constantly over insignificant features that five nines of the world don't give a rat's ass about.

This. Is. Amateur Hour.

How about a useful website? (1)

GerryGilmore (663905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43518829)

First, learn how to create a useful website. This guy's site says "Telephone Solutions", but when I look in what should be the Products tab, I find....a fax server. Really? No mention anywhere about what telephony solutions they have other than that fax server. I'm surprised that he's still in business, though it's probably due to word of mouth referrals for regular IT consulting stuff. Advertise, man! Give all of your products and solutions easy and prominent mention with lots of details so that people can easily understand what you do.

Why Windows works in a small business (0)

DogDude (805747) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519049)

Windows works in a small business precisely because I don't have to hire an expensive IT guy to setup and maintain all of my machines. The amount I spend of software is a tiny fraction of what it costs to have a professional it company take care of things. Lots of people can do lots of things on Windows easily. It Just Works. Having to call somebody every time we need to add a new computer or new piece of hardware is an absurd waste of money, in my opinion.

Re:Why Windows works in a small business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43519333)

Windows works until it doesn't work. Then you have to reload it.

What one can say about Windows is that many devices are capable of running on Windows. It may take five or six tries to install it, but you're a winner if you didn't have to reinstall the OS.

Re:Why Windows works in a small business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43520299)

One of my good friends runs a mostly Windows shop. He dabbles in OSS stuff (such as FreePBX servers and pfSense firewalls) but those don't make him money. He builds it, sells it, and he never hears about it again unless there is hardware failure.

With his Windows Servers, however, he has support contracts and $125 an hour service calls on a regular basis. When his clients mention they could never afford that treatment, he refers them to me for a Linux solution. I don't make a lot of money on them either (primarily they are cloned images of my server, all updates are pushed out one week after my server is updated, the server costs as much as they wish to spend on hardware and I do some manual setup for them initially, never had to come back for more support in 5+ years). They are incredibly happy to have all the features he sold them without all the Microsoft and Windows and massive MASSIVE tech support costs. But he's got a mortgage to pay and a family to feed, so I will not fault him for screwing over customers that quite frankly WANT to be screwed.

Penguin (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43519257)

"When you call your business Penguin Computer & Telephone Solutions, it's obvious that......" you've got no imagination.

I also own an IT Consulting Company in Fort Myers (2)

paulrausch (1788728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43520261)

I own Greenwire Technology Solutions (https://greenwireit.com), here in Fort Myers, FL. I'm from the area, and I've owned my company for five years now. We have 12 employees and do pretty well. That said, I've been a linux user for over 10 years now, and have a lot of professional competence with *nix based systems. We support equipment on a range of platforms. I think it's important to be careful to not try and make a square peg fit into a round hole. There are business use cases where Linux does a great job. But I think it's important to take into consideration that those Virtual Machines, the added complexity of maintaining a cross platform environment, not having native access to specialised line of business applications, and lost productivity due to retraining; all add to the total TCO of changing to a FOSS platform. I personally know what managing these types of issues looks like, because we have environments where they are present for whatever reason. I've found in my professional experience that it's important to not try and 'convert' users. But rather to act as a good trusted adviser and find a solution that is minimally disruptive to their business.

Re:I also own an IT Consulting Company in Fort Mye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43521713)

That's crazy talk man. FOSS or DIE! M$ is the Devil. Forget all that crap about use cases and requirements elicitation and analysis and being a trusted advisor. Just repeat after me "You can do that for free on Linux!!!!". Your customers need to run their windows software, recommend WINE! It's FREE! They need to connect to a domain controller, HELL YES SMB IS SO EASY AND FUN!

Bend your users to your religious will and push FOSS on them, it's the slashdot/FOSS way.

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