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VA Layoff Rumors

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine dept.

VA 189

An anonymous reader noted that Slashdot's Parent Company VA Linux Systems has made an appearance on f'dcompany. I'm sure I'm not the only one who frequents the site, so I won't bother explaining it. The report says that VA is planning a lot of layoffs. Amusingly enough, it also mentions that VA hardware largely powers F'd company. Your guess is as good as mine wrt the truth in this rumor, and what it means if it is.

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VA is incredibly overpriced (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138980)

VA's stuff is incredibly overpriced, anyway. I'd buy from them if they were within a couple hundred dollars of what I'd pay if I assembled a server myself, but I won't pay thousand dollar premiums when I can trade two hours of work for it. Neither will a lot of other folks they need to start thinking about...

(1) $700 PC (2) Install Linux (3) Sell for $1800. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138981)

Or (1) Buy $999 Laptop (2) Install Linux (3) Sell for $3500.

I see nothing special about VA's hardware. It's all off the shelf stuff. I can't even opt out of the "support" to save $$$.

Next up: Transmeta! Is anyone buying their stuff? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138982)

In this age of dirt cheap GHz chips from the AMD/Intel wars, I fail to see how Tranameta can survive. What ever bacame of this "code morphing"? Nothing. Because they kept it's secrets (i.e., native TM instructions) s3cr33t. OK, so it's low power. It's also low on usefulness.

Re:This is not news (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138983)

They ought to be selling other OSes with thier systems. There is no advantage to a VA box over any other pc. A Dell or a Compaq cen be had with 4 hour response on support 24x7. The VA box can't or couldn't when we went shopping so they didn't even get considered. Trying to compete with the big guys using little guys tactics wont work unless you are a LOT cheeper. They aren't.

Re:VA Linux is dying (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138984)

PLEASE NOTE: the above post is a parody. If you have never seen the "*BSD is dying" troll around here, you wouldn't get it.

Re:the source of the fucking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138985)

How long have you been in IBM? I, together with my teammates from R&D, were layoffed during 90's, because some idiots at that time focused on 'business and consultancy services'(i.e. they don't need no stinking R&D)

It's proven to be a biggest failure. IBM cannot live by offerring services alone.

Well, let's see. According to IBM's 2000 annual report, 37.5% of IBM's revenue last year was from services, and the services share is increasing. In 1992, IBM made $33B in hardware sales and $7B in services. In 2000, IBM made $37B on hardware sales and $33B in services. You can try to argue that IBM would have done better to focus more on software and hardware products and less on services, but you can't hardly claim that the move was a "biggest failure".

Actually, though, it's clear that Lou agrees with you that IBM can't live on services alone: IBM spends over $5B annually on R&D.

When they told you IBM don't layoff they lie. Good luck. :)

Everyone knows that IBM has had layoffs. That wasn't true for many years, but it became true around the time you were dumped and it's a fact of life now. It's a fact of life at every company, and it should be. Even successful companies have to clean house periodically.

As you're squeezing those sour grapes, consider this: According to many long-time IBMers, during the bad years company ended retaining all of the so-so people. The truly lazy and stupid were booted and the really smart and agressive took the money and ran.

Which were you?

Sorry, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138986)

but I am not going to judge VA Linux by whether
you do or don't get an internship.
It was a nice idea that didn't pan out.

Seems like they have more important things on
their minds these days.


Re:Where's the good will? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138987)

CNN does post false stories. Amazon does collect personal information and redistribute it. Moron.

You're all idiots. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138991)

Perhaps not all of you, but it seems like most of the people who post on slashdot actually hate the site.

If slashdot's so fucking stupid, why the hell are you losers here?

I like slashdot. I've been here as a regular visitor almost from its start. I sincerely wish CmdrTaco, Hemos, Timothy, Michael and everyone else the best of luck whatever happens. They've got a very nice site, despite all the negative comments that have become common around here.

I know one part of VA Linux that is immune... (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138993)

...I'm sure there aren't any layoffs coming at ThinkGeek [] .

Those guys gotta be making some serious dough. Getting people hooked on high-dose caffeine products [] (I mean, come on! SCHEDULED [] deliveries? THAT is GENIUS!)... Free advertising on Slashdot in endless rotation... What do ya figure the gross margin is on that "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" [] shirt that is being advertised right above me as I type this? 50%? 60%?

I bet during the VA Linux heydey, at $300/share, ThinkGeek was seen as some dorky little t-shirt & caffeine selling bastard child. Now I gotta bet the bigwigs at VA Linux [] are saying, "Maybe we should dump selling overpriced servers and turn VA Linux into a pure Linux merchandising play, so we can actually make some money!"

Hats off [] to the geeks [] with a business-model that will actually survive the downturn... I hope you guys spin-off of that cumbersome, bloated beastie [] with the triple-black-diamond ski-slope for a stock chart [] - and go public yourselves in 2002, when the money runs out [] at your parents' place.

I just saw cmdrtaco (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138994)

he was carrying a sign that said "will post news articles for food" alongside him hemos, michael, and timothy were stripping the Slashdot PT Cruiser, they're so ghetto

Hey Taco!!! (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138995)

This link [] might be useful very soon for you and the rest of the /. staff! Consider it a token of my appreciation.

What's ESR surprised by now? (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138996)

I can't believe no one has linked to this yet. []

You know, I still own lots of stock in overhyped companies, and when the dot-com crash happened, I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But I swear, it was worth it just to know that ESR's shit-eating grin has finally vanished -- you know, that one I imagine he had on while writing Surprised By Wealth [] , the most insanely arrogant, egotistical, boorish, and self-centered brag piece I have ever seen from someone who has money.

Fine, Eric. You made money. Great. Lots of people did. But most people don't go shouting from the rafters "Look at me! I have money! And you can't have any! And I will not give any to charity unless they grovel and beg, but don't do that because then I won't give any to you!"

Whoa, that rant has been building for a while.

Re:Where's the good will? (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#138997)

Come on, you don't see a difference between VA Linux's relationship to the Linux community, and Apple's relationship to the Mac community?

Apple created something. People then and now loved the product, thought it was insanely great, signed on to Apple's vision and philosophy. And it was Apple's vision, it was Apple's philosophy. They were not only its advocate, but its architect, its visionary.

How do you figure VA Linux has done anything even close to that for Linux? Linux's first kernels were released in, I don't know, 1990 or 1991. VA Linux did not do that. They weren't even in the first round of commercial companies that did things like sell distributions (e.g. SLS). They are a latecomer, and by the time they were founded there were dozens of other companies just like them.

Now, don't get me wrong -- VA Linux is a great company, they are giving back to the community, and in retrospect they have distinguished themselves by being more successful. But there is no way they are the heart and soul of Linux. And the death of VA Linux, the company, will absolutely not mean the death of Linux the OS or movement. That is why there is no rallying cry around them like there was with Apple/Mac; because Apple's death would have meant Mac's death, and here the stakes are nowhere near that high.

Bad memory (2)

heroine (1220) | more than 13 years ago | (#139004)

Makes me feel sorry for the guys still there. It's hard to imagine 4 months reading layoff rumors every day, goung to sleep not knowing if the lifestyle you've known for the last 3 years will still exist tomorrow, every day being another test of faith, my bad memory being their way of life for 4 months. Wonder if the second round will get severance packages.

Re:RedHat is profitable (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#139007)

Yikes! That's what I get for getting excited about a press report. $600K is not a whole lot of profit when you have $20 million in one time charges. Still, it looks much better for RedHat than for VA Linux. Their revenues are up, and they are able to partner with Dell, Compaq, and IBM instead of having to compete with them. Plus, RedHat isn't quite as extravagant with their money. Their big ticket purchase was Cygnus (who had a proven track record of actually making money, and a huge pile of gifted hackers). VA Linux, on the other hand, bought into the whole dot com buzz to a much larger extent. Most of their clients were dot coms, and they themselves have spent a substantial amount of money on web properties like Linux.comm, sourcefore, freshmeat, and (of course) slashdot. Until advertisers realize that online ads probably are at least as effective as print ads web properties are going to be hard pressed to make a profit. Even if their sites are popular (and their ads well targetted).

RedHat is profitable (4)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#139008)

On a much lighter note, it would appear that RedHat, at least, is actually profitable [] . What's more, they are making a profit at a time when everyone else is feeling a definite crunch.

VA Linux's business plan of selling servers to dot coms looked like a pretty good idea when VC funded flowed like a river, but now that times are tight the hardware market is pretty amazingly brutal.

Re:the source of the fucking (5)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#139009)

It's not slashdot that I fear for, as much as I love it. Heck, my productivity would improve quite a bit without slashdot. I am much more concerned about There are a lot of important (and not so important) projects going on at sourceforge. I personally think that the Free Software movement would be dealt a substantial blow if we had to go back to relying on Anonymous FTP at sunsite (er... metalab, er... ibiblio).

I imagine that there is a pretty signficant cost associated with hosting sourceforge.

Re:RedHat is profitable (3)

sheldon (2322) | more than 13 years ago | (#139010)

Am I the only one puzzled by an announcement that a company is profitable despite losing over $20 million in the quarter?

Yeah yeah... one time charges. By why do they keep making one time charges once per quarter? :)

Re:What's the good news? (2)

ksheff (2406) | more than 13 years ago | (#139011)

This is the same sort of thing that Bill Parish has been ranting about Microsoft and other companies for quite a while. One legal method of adding up expenses to show Wall Street that you are making money, another legal method to include stuff you've written off to limit the tax liability to the IRS and state govts. Also, are they refusing to give guidance at all or just didn't have good estimates at the time the analysts wanted them?

Riiight.... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 13 years ago | (#139013)

"I'd place a lot more value on a MSFT support contract than a LNUX one."

Evidently you've NEVER contacted MS for support or you're high enough on the food chain (i.e. someone like Dell, etc.) to get decent help.

There is no value in a support contract with a company that's going to be around for a while when the support's largely useless to most people.

They don't deserve it. (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 13 years ago | (#139019)

The VA Linux IPO was a simple pump-and-dump stock scheme, which is partly the reason they're now being sued, probably with good reason.

Notice how fast Robert Russo ran off with around $6 million [] as the stock petered out? How many others inside the company did the same thing?

Read it all here [] .

This isn't an intentional troll or flamebait, I'm just trying to point out the truth of the situation here. The layoffs are happening because the company cannot support them, and the investments are running out. Looking the other way out of a sense of 'good will' and 'community' is for the suckers.

Re:This is not news (2)

Ian Schmidt (6899) | more than 13 years ago | (#139020)

Because people just as strident as you (maybe even you?) would claim there was a Massive CmdrTaco Conspiracy if the news was NOT reported, given that VA 0wnz /.

This is not news (1)

wesman (6993) | more than 13 years ago | (#139021)

Why is this news? I don't see posts for other companies having layoffs. Why is VA special. Dell sells Linux boxes too and you don't see a slashdot news link when they have layoffs. At the end of the day VA Linux is just like any other PC reseller. They buy a bunch of pieces from other manufacturers and put them together and put their name on it. If they go down in flames it still isn't really news for slashdot. Rumors certainly aren't.

I now fully expect to be moderated down by the anything with the word linux masses who read this site.

Re:Question for the Corporate Linux-types (1)

RC Pavlicek (8145) | more than 13 years ago | (#139025)

VA Linux et al are not "fools" at all.

No major corporation -- NONE -- will authorize the use of any software for mission-critical purposes without a support organization on board.

Geeks don't need formal support. But they are not the ones that buy formal support. Companies need it -- and they buy it.

It is a basic rule of IT. Ask anyone who makes IT decisions for large (Fortune 1000) companies.

Re:This is not news (2)

FallLine (12211) | more than 13 years ago | (#139035)

Haha, funny!

Re:Riiight.... (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 13 years ago | (#139036)

But, i think the point was, that even a support contract from a company flled with clueless staff is worth more than from a company that doesn't exist anymore...

Re:RedHat is profitable (2)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 13 years ago | (#139037)

Yay! 2% margins... They sold 25.6 million in services to attain 600,000 in profits.

sorry, but that's less than the interest on my checking account. and if i had untold millions to deposit, (they have the cash, they did IPO), i'm pretty sure a 7 or 8% (maybe even 10%, if you loan to the right people) interest rate isn't completely unattainable.

And yes, people are feelinga crunch, but that just means their profits are falling down, only a few of the real (non-dot com) companies are actually losing money, it's just that they're not making as much as they were last year.

give them 3 or 4 more years, if they're around still, then pat them on the back... Right now, they've just burned through millions in cash, and earned less on their sales than if that money was in bonds. not very successful.

finally it happens (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#139038)

A story when all the trolls about VA Linux going under are actually on-topic! Have at it, guys :)

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:You're all idiots. (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#139039)

I'd subscribe, especially if it would return the site to the kind of discussions it had a couple years ago. Just a modest fee to wade out the amateur trolls, please...

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:Who got fired (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#139042)

Ha ha, but in fact "wrt" is a perfectly good acronym for "With Respect To", although it is usually in caps: WRT. Of all the potential targets, you picked the wrong editorial mistake :)

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

What's the good news? (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#139043)

RedHat actually lost a net $27.6 million this past quarter on revenues of only $25.6 million. Some fancy bookmaking allowed them to present this as a profit, but not everyone was fooled. c|net's lede [] read: "Red Hat, the top seller of the Linux operating system, became profitable by some measurements while meeting analyst expectations for the most recent quarter."

See, this so called "profit" was only due to all the adjustments they made, just like last quarter, when RedHat said that they broke even (or at least came within $600,000 of it), even though they really lost over $24 million. Be skeptical when a company tells you that they turned a $600,000 profit when they're taking a $20.8 million charge for "amortization of goodwill and tangibles." Yeah, okay....

And not to be too doom-and-gloomish, but the revenue for the quarter was 7% less than what RedHat told Wall Street to expect, revenue is 5% down from last quarter, revenue from their network consulting services are already dropping, and they're now refusing to give analysts any guidance for RHAT performance in future quarters. Maybe they've run out of book-keeping tricks? :) "None of the other companies I cover have refused to give guidance," Prakesh Patel, analyst with WR Hambrecht and Co. "It definitely is troubling. Regardless of the economic environment, the company has a sales pipeline and should have estimates of closing deals that's the job of management."


Re:What's the good news? (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#139044)

Heh, you mean that guy actually rants at other companies besides Microsoft? ;) I think we'd all agree that Microsoft is making money, and that a lot of people can tell when a company is getting a little fancy with their book-keeping in order to report a profit.

I actually take RedHat at face value and consider them to have turned a profit this past quarter. Like you said, other companies have their own tricks to make their financials say what they want, and RedHat has every right to do the same. I just wanted to point out that behind the rosy headline, there are some worrisome realities in their numbers.

As far as your question goes, RedHat's CFO flat out told Reuters that they wouldn't be reiterating their guidance for the rest of the year, which they issued back in March. If you remember when they came out with the previous quarter's numbers in March, RedHat guaranteed that they'd be profitable in the next quarter, which I think is by far the biggest factor behind the numbers they announced today.


Quite unpleasant (2)

HiThere (15173) | more than 13 years ago | (#139046)

Quite unpleasant. OTOH, they have been spending to grow during the last several years. Perhaps the best thing to hope is that they have acted in time. If this measure is sufficient for them to become profitable, then it will have been the right measure. When the economy is in a downturn is not a time for the cash strapped to be adventurous. Only for the well funded, and the desparate. We know that VA Linux isn't well funded, and we sure hope they aren't desperate. So this may be the best of the possible choices open.

At least the e-mail is clear about which divisions are being maintained, and which cut back. Many companies act treacherously at times like this.

Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.

Re:Where's the good will? (1)

Jon_S (15368) | more than 13 years ago | (#139047)

What you say is true, but you have to give VA some "pioneer credit". They were on of the first, if not the first actively selling Linux boxes. I first recall them back in 1994 when they were still called Fintronic. I suppose they started earlier than that. OK, sure that isn't 1991. But were you using Linux, or even better, selling, Linux in 1994?

My experience with VA (3)

Teferi (16171) | more than 13 years ago | (#139049)

I'm feeling somewhat disgruntled towards VA right now myself.
This summer, being in San Jose anyway and being a stockholder in the company, I wrangled a tour of the corporate HQ there. It was neat...a lot of really nice guys, and father and I (disclaimer: I'm 16) talked to Larry Augustin himself, who broached the possibility of my getting to intern at VA's NYC office (I'm from NJ) this summer.
At LWCE in February, we again talked to Larry, and to some really nice guys from the NY and MA offices, who said that it was a virtual certainty that I'd get the internship, AND that I'd get paid.
About a month ago, new terms: no pay, but internship will work.
Three weeks ago: my contact's boss is blocking the internship
Two weeks ago: my contact says that that hurdle is over
One week ago: Contact says that the head of HR and his pet lawyer are blocking the internship because - get this - they don't have ANY forms or procedures for internships. Which is bullshit, because one of my friends's friends interned there last year.
Now: Still unchanged. I certainly didn't get the 'sure thing' internship, for incredibly petty-seeming reasons. My contact is considering resigning over this debacle, and I can't blame him. It's absolutely absurd that a company so publically committed to OSS ideology would be so petty and closed-minded in its internal procedures...

Re:I just saw cmdrtaco (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#139050)

Man, he must be desperate to throw away his sign that said, "Will post inflammatory fluff accompanied by illiterate commentary for food."


Doubt it (5)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#139052)

Taco wouldn't last an hour. Those menus have to have correct spelling on them, dude. Who is going to buy a Bag Moc, Kwertor Pondar, or Phillay 'A' Phist?


Re:the source of the fucking (1)

Tarzan (18557) | more than 13 years ago | (#139054)

Unless you have a vested interest in VA, I wouldn't worry about sourceforge. Open source will survive with or without sourceforge. My own company, for instance, is planning to release OPP 0.3 [] (when completed) using our own open source 'distributed collaborative development environment'. That notwithstanding, I believe that most of the underlying sourceforge software is itself opensource; so it shouldn't be too difficult to duplicate.

- Joel Peterson

Index of Alternative Operating Systems

the cruiser? (2)

timothy (36799) | more than 13 years ago | (#139061)

Wasn't me -- I think those cruisers are pretty hideous. (And automatic transmission, too.)

I like my 95 escort a lot better than that -- if I were to win a cruiser in a contest, I'd sell it immediately (but not disassembled) and put the money into a nice trip to Nepal and an engagement ring for Ms. Right.

Just to clarify things.


Re:Where's the good will? (1)

macinslak (41252) | more than 13 years ago | (#139062)

Well, this is a bit different than the "Apple is dying!" deal. If Apple dies, the Mac dies as well. Linux is in no danger, only one company which supplies hardware that runs it. Personally, as necessary as the contributions of large corporations may be to the future of Linux, I get rather nervous when any one company gains as much influence in the community as VA has. They may be a great resource, but they are also a huge liability, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has noticed this.

Re:Riiight.... (2)

throx (42621) | more than 13 years ago | (#139063)

Given that we are talking business sales rather than home user sales (in terms of support contracts), you should be able to get your support call escalated to someone who knows what they are talking about fairly easily. Every time I've talked to Microsoft Support, I've gotten past the first operater very quickly and had someone from the specialist team call me back (we are a development house with about 25 people, not Dell). We've even had special hotfixes made just for us at times.

Even if you consider Microsoft's tech support fairly bad (which I disagree with), I wonder what sort of value you place on, say, 3dfx's support at the moment? Personally I prefer support from a company that exists - however bad - to support from a company that doesn't exist.

Nothing to do with cost of product... (3)

throx (42621) | more than 13 years ago | (#139065)

Actually, it makes sense to purchase from a company that has a significant chance of existing for the foreseeable future. The day MSFT goes Chapter 11 will probably come a long time after the current batch of Linux vendors are well and truly forgotten.

In a world where Linux vendors are selling support and not software, you have to be careful that your support contract is actually worth something. With the present financial climate, I'd place a lot more value on a MSFT support contract than a LNUX one. Nothing to do with the cost of the product - everything to do with the performance of the company.

VA Boxes are Intel servers. (1)

dmaxwell (43234) | more than 13 years ago | (#139067)

There isn't special Linux only stuff in VAs servers. They have a reputation for building servers like tanks and some of their customers view them strictly as a hardware vender. FuckedCompany probably just wiped the drives and installed NT/IIS when the boxes arrived.

Who got fired (1)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 13 years ago | (#139068)

The report says that VA is planning a lot of layoffs...Your guess is as good as mine wrt the truth in this rumor, and what it means if it is.

It must be bad, they already fired the /. editor! Oh, wait a second...

Re:This is not news (1)

alehmann (50545) | more than 13 years ago | (#139069)

Well, it is a tiny bit more relevent because VA owns and operates Slashdot. Read the freaking post.

Re:I just saw cmdrtaco (5)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 13 years ago | (#139071)

He was carrying a sign that said "will post news articles for food" alongside him hemos, michael, and timothy were stripping the Slashdot

JonKatz was there also, but his message was so long he could barely fit it on 8 signs ...

interesting part of this (2)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#139072)

Aside from the layoffs which are expected to hit all walks of e-business, I wonder how this will impact Linux to have a company go under. See what I mean by this is, VALinux is pretty cool (wassup Jim Gleason) but their model of selling Linux only appliances is trivial.

Why didn't they just focus on selling servers no matter what they were running. VABSD, VANT, nothing else but Linux came out of it. Now when you look at CTO types who know squat but sign those purchase orders, sadly they're likely to be under the impression if it doesn't have a price it's not worthy, meaning Microsoft lurks in their eyes.

Moreso interesting, Linux posted its first profit [] which sadly is puny on a business aspect. So will VALinux' layoffs shadow Linux as a whole to people who don't know much about OS' ... Think cluebie here "Linux stinks because they make no money, and their business falter.. I'll stick with MS, a money maker they must be doing something right."

Re:the cruiser? (1)

lw54 (73409) | more than 13 years ago | (#139074)

I'd sell it [...] and put the money into [...] an engagement ring for Ms. Right.

Have you found her yet? What's she like? Does she realize your in the IT biz? What about your nerd friends? Does she have any sisters? Wow... she must be so cool!

Pud is doing fine (1)

owillis (74881) | more than 13 years ago | (#139076)

According to news reports he's pulling in $60k/month from subscriptions.
OliverWillis.Com []

Maybe if they just stopped wasting money... (5)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#139079)

on Jon Katz.

VA could divest itself of non-core interests? (1)

JoeGee (85189) | more than 13 years ago | (#139080)

VA Linux acquired some of the more notable web sites during the net boom. One would think that if worse comes to worse VA might consider selling those assets not directly related to its core business.

This is not too far of a stretch:

"© 2002, Slashdot, a member of the C|Net family of web sites."

AMDZone [] recently published an article by Van Smith that discussed the buyout of tech sites [] by commercial interests.

/.'s a well known brand, which makes it a very tasty property.

Re:the source of the fucking (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 13 years ago | (#139082)

I believe that most of the underlying sourceforge software is itself opensource; so it shouldn't be too difficult to duplicate.

I don't think that's the real problem. The problem is getting machines and bandwidth. Especially bandwidth. Even if there are tons of people who will help work on/admin sourceforge-II, without a bunch of $$$ it won't happen.

Eh... I don't know. While metalab, etc are far from ideal, it's not really necessary that all the projects be hosted by a single site. would work well as a base for a universal index, as long as it could a) enforce using Trove categories, and b) check links periodically and remove those that were dead, to keep it updated. And provide SF like stats for downloads, etc (which I rather like). Then people host web, CVS, ftp, whatever from their ISP or home box or wherever, but everyone can find stuff without resorting to google searches and such.

I have a project on SF, and I find the main advantages are the indexing and statistics capabilities. I can host web and FTP myself no problem (no universally true, but I think it would be OK for the vast majority of people/projects). The shell server is not at all useful (to me), and the compile farm seems to have been dead for some time (at least I can't get in), so even that's out.

And, like a lot of other people, I find SF's universiality unsettling, especially with the recent crack. I figure within 6 months I'll move the project off to my machines.

Re:Bye, Taco (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 13 years ago | (#139089)

sorry it was clear to me from the start.

what it means if the rumor is true.


maybe this is why we still don't have natural language parsing. because programmers are so anal retentive they refuse to understand something unless it conforms to artificial grammar rules they were taught by frustrated latin teachers.

natural language is flexible, fault-tolerant, ever-evolving. None of which applies to programs as they are currently written.

Re:Hey Taco!!! (2)

LordSaxman (118168) | more than 13 years ago | (#139092)

I would've linked to Taco Bell [] ...

I wish VA Linux had better management (2)

Jello7 (119778) | more than 13 years ago | (#139093)

Someone I know tried to pay money to get VA Linux to come and set up Sourceforge at his company. Even after repeated telephone calls, VA Linux never replied and finally a consulting firm (not VA Linux) offered to get paid to do the work. My friend gladly accepted. I've actually heard this kind of thing more than a few times with VA. Is it just me or is VA notoriously bad at customer service. Is it that hard to return phone messages and e-mail?

Basically what I'm saying is no wonder they're losing money, people try to throw cash at them and they don't catch it.

Re:just waiting for... (1)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#139094)

its only one guy doing everything I think, so it would be more like 'fucked company can't pay its bandwidth costs anymore'

Re:This is not news (1)

_Bean_ (128235) | more than 13 years ago | (#139095)

What's the difference between Dell and VA Linux?
Well just look at the names. Linux is the focus of VA's business.

Re:Too bad VA didn't do a second offering Like RH (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 13 years ago | (#139098)

Looks like they spent it well [] , too. Not that $600K is anything to call mom about. Profit is profit.

Re:Where's the good will? (5)

elegant7x (142766) | more than 13 years ago | (#139100)

Well, for me, the primary reason for wishing ill on VA Linux is Eric S. Raymond. The man is a parasite on "Open Source", although he seems to think he's their savior. Raymond holds a seat on VA's board, and his fortunes roll with it. I have no ill will toward VA in general. But I delight in seeing Eric Raymond eat his "I'm rich now ha ha" words. As his once $35 on-paper million dollar fortune drops to below a meg.

But other then that, there is a real difference between Apple and the crop of Linux companies. With the Mac, everything depended on Apple, and really it was Steve Jobs who designed the thing. But these Linux companies are just making money off something that's already popular. VA does give back to the community, but they also take. Slashdot was around long before VA bought them (or rather the company that /. Sold to. CT initially didn't want to be owned by one of the Linux corps, and refused to sell directly to VA)

The real and fundamental difference is that without apple, there would be no Mac. Without VA, what do we loose? You can buy Linux powered hardware from most of the major players nowadays, and Most of the commercially produced Linux code is coming out of Red Hat.

I think a lot of the animosity generated towards VA is caused by the fact that they tried to be 'the' Linux company, getting the stock symbol "LNUX" and everything, buying all the major Linux sites, that kind of thing.

And of course, employing ESR as their 'corporate conscious' is isn't winning them many brownie points (I hope)

The only thing I can tell from this (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 13 years ago | (#139103)

Is that FuckedCompany's readers are just like /.'s - Or at least, the contributing ones. The message thread has become a Linux vs. Win2k thread and people are insinuating that others have far less experience than they claim - That they may in fact be a pimple-ridden native of Bumfuck, NW.


Revenues (4)

proxima (165692) | more than 13 years ago | (#139105)

Perhaps part (or most) of the problem lies in /. and other Andover/VA Linux sites that depend on ad revenues. From what I've noticed, /. and other VA sites seem to link to each other, with few ads coming from the outside (which would bring in money to VA, obviously). Are they that short of paid ads that they have to rotate in self-promotion?

VA Linux is dying (2)

electricmonk (169355) | more than 13 years ago | (#139106)

LNUX is collapsing in complete disarray.

It is worth considering that you don't need to be a Kreskin to predict VA's future. The hand writing is on the wall: VA Linux faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for VA because Slashdot is dying. Things are looking very bad for VA Linux. As many of us are already aware, VA continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. Their overpriced hardware is the most endangered of them all.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers:

Slashdot leader Taco states that there are 7000 users of Slashdot (the rest of the accounts are for trolls to mod themselves up). How many users of Plastic are there? Let's see. The number of Slashdot versus Plastic posts on their respective sites is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Plastic users. Geekizoid posts on their site are about half of the volume of Plastic posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Geekizoid. A recent article put Slashdot at about 80 percent of the VA market cap. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 VA Linux users. This is consistent with the number of alpha-stage SourceForge projects.

Due to the troubles of Andover, abysmal sales and so on, they went out of business and were taken over by VA Linux, who sell another troubled OS. Now VA Linux is also dead, its corpse turned over to another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Slashdot has steadily declined in market share. Slashdot is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Slashdot is to survive at all it will be among fanatical open source zealots. Slashdot continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Slashdot is dead.

< )
( \

Truth to the rumor (3)

bataras (169548) | more than 13 years ago | (#139107)

Amusingly enough, it also mentions that VA hardware largely powers F'd company. Your guess is as good as mine wrt the truth in this rumor

I believe it is definitely true that VA Linux powers most of FuckedCompany.

Re:Question for the Corporate Linux-types (1)

kz45 (175825) | more than 13 years ago | (#139112)

Funny, i Thought the GNU license supported commercialization?!

Sublet the Veterans for Administration? (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 13 years ago | (#139114)

600,000 JOBS FOR THE TAKING (Source: Despite corporate layoffs, employers confront a shortfall of technology workers. What's this about? []

LP (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#139119)

damn i wish i had mod points for this one...

Re:You're all idiots. (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#139120)

Of course! I'm a big fan and would subscribe if that's what it takes to keep /. running.

That said, part of /. is making fun of Taco, Hemos, et al., so you really can't blame the /bots for taking this fairly grand opportunity to do so.

Hope it's not too late (1)

jchristopher (198929) | more than 13 years ago | (#139121)

I admire the efforts of the programmers who make Linux possible. But soon all the Linux "companies" will be gone. Yet still no one cares about the user interface of Linux.

Unfortunately, it will probably be too late when the coders realize that user interface and ease of use DOES matter. What can be done to kickstart an EASY distribution?

Re:the source of the fucking (1)

evocate (209951) | more than 13 years ago | (#139125)

Don't worry, I'm sure ESR will see the importance of sourceforge to the open source community and deign to share with it some of his $41 million, er... $31 million, no wait... $400,000. Um, never mind. Don't call us Eric, we'll call you.

Re:Hey Taco!!! (3)

RhetoricalQuestion (213393) | more than 13 years ago | (#139126)

This week's poll [] indicates (so far) 2% attendance at Hamburger U.

A forewarning, perhaps?

Re: fp (5)

BlowCat (216402) | more than 13 years ago | (#139129)

How about LAST post? What if /. closes tomorrow?

Re:What's ESR surprised by now? (1)

hearingaid (216439) | more than 13 years ago | (#139130)

To be fair to Eric, he didn't say he wouldn't give any to charity, he just said he didn't have time to listen to them ask him for it. He did say that he would probably give money to charities he already knew about.

The point of that article, though, was that all that cash was generally nice, but not really important. He just wants to hack. And he figures that he's just like all the other hackers who got rich on IPOs in this respect.

I think he wrote it because it blew his mind, and he had to get it out. But I'm no telepath :)

Re:Where's the good will? (1)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#139131)

And the death of VA Linux, the company, will absolutely not mean the death of Linux the OS or movement. That is why there is no rallying cry around them like there was with Apple/Mac; because Apple's death would have meant Mac's death, and here the stakes are nowhere near that high.

I agree 100%. It's not surprising that VA doesn't attract the kind of hysteria that Mac users had about the possible loss of Apple. I do think, though, that it's noteworthy that a company that puts so much effort into what you're supposed to do to be a good Linux citizen attracts zero sympathy and lots of jokes about how Rob and Jeff are going to be to flipping burgers or turning tricks.

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Re:Where's the good will? (1)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#139132)

Off topic, but:

Seriously, with market share being less than 5%, down from very sizable number in 80s one could easily conclude Apple is still on their deathbed.

Yeah, but that's 5% of a far larger total, and a rabidly loyal 5%, all of which buys high-margin Apple hardware and most of which spends a ton on software and peripherals. IMHO, which isn't worth a vast amount, Apple is continuing to tread water with flashy new hardware until OS X is ready for widespread use and has a good native software pool. If they can get it together in the next year or so and especially if Motorola ever figures out how to make faster G4's, Apple will grab 10-15% of the desktop market.

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Where's the good will? (5)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#139133)

Isn't it funny how much effort VA Linux put into Giving Back To The Community, Showing That They Get It and other such good-will building exercises? And when they run into trouble the open source mob gets a few laughs out of it and moves on without a trace of sympathy? As a Mac user who vividly remembers the "Apple is dying!" era, the contrast to how the Mac addicts responded is really striking.

Clearly, one lesson is that having one of your board members write an article bragging about how much money he made on the IPO is unhelpful. But could it also be that the way to build a truly loyal user base is to make something that users think is worth paying for, not by telling one's users that they're heros who are owed the world gift-wrapped on a silver platter?

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

They're not usually wrong. (2)

percey (217659) | more than 13 years ago | (#139134)

If a rumor was posted on that site's main page its all but released for public knowledge. Its very difficult times. The crash is starting to close down some of the best known websites, like we saw last week with The problem with open source is that there's no money in it. I believe one of the much touted ways companies were going to make money off of open source was to provide support and consulting for the software. These companies never really sprung up. What ended up happening was that it opened access to these extremely advanced systems to the public which learned them, and then went off to work at websites. Consulting co's could have formed a nucleus of an open source market. Instead we got caffienated beverages sponsoring the websites.

VALinux being a hardware supplier will of course suffer sales slowdowns with the rest of the market. Those kinds of servers, like VALinux and Penguin Computing make are for websites and NOCs, and so many IT budgets are frozen. So what happens when bastions of freedom suddenly need money? Will slashdot sell out? And by that I mean will we start seeing animercials ala zdnet? Possibly a licensing fee for slash code? Perhaps slashdot can sell moderation points on ebay? Will we need to accompany our link submissions with a 20 dollar processing fee? I'm of course kidding, I'm sure Slashdot's much too respectable for that, but it must be one of the highest trafficked sites that VALinux owns, and possibly on the internet period. Unfortunately it looks that the only company making money off the internet is AOL.

Re:It's not so bad, agreed (3)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#139135)

The trick is weathering the storm. Once it's past those in a position to make a run at market demand will do very well. I'm just hoping there's enough of the quality Linux support companies around to give Microsoft hell. If there aren't then it will truly be a bleak future. Even Microsoft fans must concede, Microsoft can only get better while their feet a held to the fire.

All your .sig are belong to us!

Re:Bye, Taco (1)

unformed (225214) | more than 13 years ago | (#139136)

Please take a little more time to proofread CmdrTaco.

Reasonable expactations, man, reasonable expactations. That's all we ask.

Speaking of which, where's your comma?

Re:just waiting for... (2)

unformed (225214) | more than 13 years ago | (#139137)

Yeah sure, whatever, I'm not trying to make sense. I'm just trying to be funny.

In all actuality, though, he could just sell the domain. Remember when he put it up on eBay, and it got up to a few million?

just waiting for... (5)

unformed (225214) | more than 13 years ago | (#139138)

the day when the headline @ fuckedcomapny is...."Rumor has it that is planning on laying off a large number of employees. At this time, employees could not be reached for comment."

Plans for saving Slashdot (2)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | more than 13 years ago | (#139139)

Maybe we should put some plans together for saving Slashdot, just in case...

Re:the source of the fucking (2)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#139145)

I'm lucky enough to work for IBM, in Durham, NC, in a job that mostly calls for Linux skills. So far, IBM has not laid anyone off, and is in fact, doing very well.

How long have you been in IBM? I, together with my teammates from R&D, were layoffed during 90's, because some idiots at that time focused on 'business and consultancy services'(i.e. they don't need no stinking R&D)

It's proven to be a biggest failure. IBM cannot live by offerring services alone.

When they told you IBM don't layoff they lie. Good luck. :)
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

they really need to hire better people (4)

jsse (254124) | more than 13 years ago | (#139147)

Once I hanged around #debian helping a guy who was obviously knew just a little more than basic things.

He told me he's in a hurry because a customer was waiting for the answer as we spoke. Out of curiosity I did a /whois on him:

P.S. I know there are more good people in VA then lousy ones, so no hard feeling here okay?
/. / &nbsp&nbsp |\/| |\/| |\/| / Run, Bill!

Re:the source of the fucking (4)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 13 years ago | (#139148)

It's a sad and scary time right now...

Even as Linux is gaining ever MORE acceptance, the market is still going down. I'm lucky enough to work for IBM, in Durham, NC, in a job that mostly calls for Linux skills. So far, IBM has not laid anyone off, and is in fact, doing very well.

I HATE seeing this happen to VA. They make a great product. And I fear for what might happen to /. Though, I doubt that this site would have any problems getting enough community support to survive, should it become necessary. I'd be more than willing to pay my share of $$$ to keep Slashdot alive.

What it means (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 13 years ago | (#139150)

It means that another bulletin board website will need to be found to host all the inane Slashbots who are suddenly without a home.

Or it could be a cultural revolution not unlike the episode of the Simpsons wherein every kid rediscovers the joys of playing outdoors with other kids.

Of course using a Simpsons reference probably says something, but I'm not sure what.

Dancin Santa

FC vs. /.? (1)

crcerror (266157) | more than 13 years ago | (#139151)

I just went to FC and read through the posts there. Did anyone else notice a great deal of anger between FC posters and the slashdot crowd? What the heck? I'm not blaming it on either group since both seemed to picking their share fare of fights on the board. Did I miss something? Why is there so much contempt?

I'm not flaming or trolling, just a question because I'd really love to know if this has been a long standing thing that I was unaware of :-)

Re:Truth to the rumor (2)

MSBob (307239) | more than 13 years ago | (#139152)

If that's the case then VA doesn't like to consume their own dogfood: here's the netcraft findings []

The site is running Microsoft-IIS/4.0 on NT4/Windows 98.

Netcraft just won't do (4)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 13 years ago | (#139153)

If Slashdot goes, how else will we be able to stress test all those webservers out there?

Re:Where's the good will? (1)

azrix (398353) | more than 13 years ago | (#139155)

Well, I have to say, I don't think you can judge the Linux Community by posts on Slashdot. Sure, there are a lot of GNU/Linux zealots running around, but that isn't necissarily indicative of the greater community. And the ones saying silly things probably aren't the zealots, they're probably the MS whores that always seem to spew nonsense.

I for one would really mourn the loss of VA. Not so much because I care about their business or their products, but because of their web prescence. Look around. There's OSDN,,, Freshmeat, and of course Slashdot. All of these are owned and run by VA Linux. I visit these sites all the time. Sure they may be bought up if VA went out of business, but it would be a major blow to everyone during the time when everything gets moved around.

And lest anyone forgets, VA employs Rasterman, the author of the very cool Enlightenment WM. He's working on getting E17 out and it looks fscking awsome. Can't wait till it's out.

Re:Bye, Taco (offtopic) (1)

jakuaii (410193) | more than 13 years ago | (#139156)

on a side note: i do consider the "nazi" in "grammar nazi" highly inappropriate. the era was definitely unpleasant, and nobody would like to have the name of the bad boys become frequently used. why not "grammar fundy".

would've sent this as an email, but there's no valid one there...

by law, this thread is terminated now.

Re:This is not news (1)

terri rolle (413434) | more than 13 years ago | (#139157)

Why is this news?

Why? Because many years ago Adam Smith described the perfect lameness filter. It's called the Invisible Hand, and it's about to come down on Slashdot hard.

Re:Hey Taco!!! (1)

leifb (451760) | more than 13 years ago | (#139160)

Commander... Big Mac?

Re:Where's the good will? (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#139161)

"? As a Mac user who vividly remembers the "Apple is dying!" era, the contrast to how the Mac addicts responded is really striking. "

Well, is it over now? Seriously, with market share being less than 5%, down from very sizable number in 80s one could easily conclude Apple is still on their deathbed.

Re:the cruiser? (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#139162)

Not to question your choice but Nepal?
I mean it would hard to find more isolated, cold and unforgiving place than that - unless you are into these things ...

Re:Where's the good will? (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#139163)

"but that's 5% of a far larger total"

Still, Apple can be considered failure simply because they failed to keep their market share ( in fact, it decreased very dramatically in the last 15 years.)

Total number of users has nothing to do with it.

"to tread water with flashy new hardware until OS X is ready for widespread use "

Got to agree here. Recently I had a chance to play around with top of the line Mac running OS X on their wide display flat monitor ( I have no idea what is official name for this thing. )
It was way cool .
There is simply one problem: my heart bleeds when I realize how much computing power I could get for this amount of money on the Intel side.
Apple stuff is simply too expensive ( even considering better quality hardware etc ...)

Yes I am a Moron (1)

OR_BraveHeart (456922) | more than 13 years ago | (#139166)

I had no idea what root meant before i installed linux...i am learning, slowly though. Linux must become easier to use, it is already more stable than windows, more secure than i just need to be able to do simple things like "mount" a secondary hard drive for all my illegal mp3s....i have no idea why i have to "mount" my hard disk and i can't because i don't know the correct superblock size...this is wrong...i shouldn't have to know what mounting should just autodetect my hard drive and use that too much to ask..and samba must be easier to use...i have spent 3 days trying to configure it...i can't get it talking to my windows boxes...really annoying cause if i was able to do these things on linux i would probably switch over all my computers to linux...but can't at this moment cause it is too hard to use...and i don't have time to learn it... that is my rant for now...linux programmers take note....btw...i am quite an advanced user when it comes to Windows systems...i have never used linux before and it is totally must make linux easy for us to we can all fuck bill gates and the microsoft machine

Too bad VA didn't do a second offering Like RH (2)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 13 years ago | (#139167)

When Redhat was up for a while, they where able to do a 'second offering'. This allowed them to sell more shares at then current price (I think over $100/sh). Redhat was lucky enough to do this second offering before the bottom fell out of all the Internet/Linux stock and to pocket alot of cash.

Unfortunately for VA, their stock never stayed up long enough for VA to do this. This could have allowed them to have a large stash of cash for these hard-times.

Who's to blame? I'll tell ya! (2)

standards (461431) | more than 13 years ago | (#139168)

Actually, the current round of VA Linux layoffs is being blamed on the efforts of those formerly WinTel leaders of Compaq and IBM.

So although it's sad to see VA Linux get hit hard, it's also reassuring to know that WinTel powerhouses are seeing Linux as an important (but perhaps not yet significant) piece of the action.

The OBV reporter quoted a study which stated that CIOs who support Linux have very high faith in the established companies, but respect the service and reliability of VA Linux. ( [] references a copy of the report - is the original off-line? Someone follow up if you can find the original!)

It's too bad that everyone can't survive. But given the strong market forces of both WinTel, Linux and MacOS, this should NOT be a surprise - even to the VCs!

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