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Linuxcare Reincarnated as Levanta

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the digging-out-a-classic-icon dept.

71

ches_grin writes "BusinessWeek is running a nice profile on Levanta, the former dot-com poster child once known as Linuxcare. From the article: 'It's not that Matt Mosman has an easy job. As Linux continues its march deeper into Corporate America's racks and racks of servers, his small Silicon Valley company, Levanta, is one of many trying to help companies install and manage all those servers--a big, complex problem that's not being solved very well right now. Still, Mosman has one thing going for him: He can't do much worse than his predecessors.'"

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First step with the company.. (4, Funny)

GonzoTech (613147) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575898)

... hiring Martin Taylor for Levanta LIVE!

but what we all really want to know is... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15575907)

...does Ceren Ercen [spilth.org] still work there?!

Re:but what we all really want to know is... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15575930)

I heard they fired her and replaced her with someone who was actually good looking.

Jesus. (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575911)

This happens quite often, and I'm always scratching my head, why would they take a perfictly reasonable and understandable company name and "synergize" it in to something stupid. Case in point, "Linuxcare" changed to "Levanta". I would avoid them based on that stupidity alone.

"Levanta" is Portuguese (2, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575994)

"Levanta" means "rise" in Portuguese, in the third person present tense. The infinitive is "levantar".

Re:"Levanta" is Portuguese (2, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576043)

If his company was based in Sao Paulo or Lisbon that'd be great, but in San Jose nobody is going to get it.

Re:"Levanta" is Portuguese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576176)

Give it a few years, once the first US Latino president is elected, or the "new" GOP continues it's current ways, the flood gates from Mexico will open and it'll make much more sense than Linuxcare.

Re:"Levanta" is Portuguese (0, Flamebait)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576322)

Latinos speak Spanish. Twit.

"Levanta" is also Spanish (1)

goodben (822118) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577490)

Except that it means the same thing in Spanish as it does in Portuguese and I'd bet over half of California took at least Spanish 1 in High School.

Oh and the million people in San Jose, Costa Rica might argue that your statement doesn't make any sense.

Re:"Levanta" is Portuguese (1)

Anthracks (532185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576171)

Means essentially the same thing in Spanish, for what it's worth.

Re:"Levanta" is Argentine spanish (2, Informative)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576623)

In Argentina we ask "Levanta?" when we want to know if a system/computer/program etc is booting up alright.

Re:"Levanta" is Portuguese (2, Interesting)

Phaid (938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576251)

I'll name my US-based Linux company "Rise". Or "Elevate". Or just go for broke and name it "Superlative". Because those all obviously indicate that it is a Linux support company, unlike "Linuxcare", the meaning of which I can't even begin to fathom.

Re:"Levanta" is Portuguese (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577894)

Err... no wonder it sounds like a Viagra competitor.

Re:Jesus. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576004)

It's not as bad a name as "Mandriva", which is a little too close to "Mangina" for comfort.

Re:Jesus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576020)

why would they take a perfictly reasonable and understandable company name and "synergize" it in to something stupid

Because Levanta means nothing. It does not create an mental images. Linux on the other hand immediately creates a mental image that is neither flattering nor desirable for a corporation. When selling IT products and service Linux is an impediment.

Anecdotal evidence to support this assertion is my own business. It languished on the edge of bankruptcy while trying to "sell" free software and services. I was never able to get anyone interested in free software. However, as soon as I removed the free software references from my website and started pitching Microsoft centric solutions two things happened.

1. People started biting on my sales proposals.
2. Because of the cost of the Microsoft centric solutions, it was no problem to add on a healthy markup. Therefore, I suddenly had excellent profits.

The best thing I ever did for my business was to drop Linux. As for Linuxcare? Well, obviously, no one "cared" for Linux.

Re:Jesus. (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576218)

Anecdotal evidence to support this assertion is my own business. It languished on the edge of bankruptcy while trying to "sell" free software and services. I was never able to get anyone interested in free software. However, as soon as I removed the free software references from my website and started pitching Microsoft centric solutions two things happened.

As if it mattered whether or not it was a Microsoft-centric approach.

Most customers don't actually care as much what the solution consists of -- Microsoft, Open Source, "Free" Software, whatever -- what they want are the following:

  1. It solves the problem. It does what the customer needs it to do, meeting all of the customer's functionality requirements.
  2. Performance is adequate for the task at hand. Performance isn't top of the list for most customers, but they also don't want to spend too much time waiting on the system, either.
  3. The system has good usability and minimizes the cost of training.
  4. Compatbility with the customer's existing systems and infrastructure. If it doesn't work with what they've already got, they won't touch it.
  5. The solution comes with good support for every aspect of the system. If they can't get it fixed by someone other than you, the solution is useless to them.
  6. The cost to install and maintain the system is within their budget. If they can't afford it, they just won't do it.
  7. The consultant designing or implementing the system demonstrates that he or she is knowledgeable and has good business communication skills. The consultant needs to understand the customer's project, budget, and business requirements on a deep level.


    If you have these things covered, it won't matter to the vast majority of customers what vendor(s) you use. Linux, Windows, Mac, whatever -- as long as it does what the customer needs and fits the above criteria, customers will flock to your solutions and pay you well.

Re:Jesus. (2, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576779)

You are right in that it should work like that. If only it worked that way in the real world. What I have seen is:
  1. Many small businesses (SBs) start off using Microsoft-centric solutions because that is what comes installed on the computers they bought from (insert vendor here). It is real easy to get a turn key business computer, complete with MS Office, Project, Quickbooks, etc installed and ready to go.
  2. "No one has ever been fired for going with Microsoft."
  3. Most managers and SBs don't like change.
  4. Most managers and SBs don't like things they have never heard of.
  5. Managers and SBs believe "You get what you pay for."
  6. Managers and SBs want a person or company behind a product. They want someone they can turn to when they have questions and need help. They don't see that in the FLOSS community.

The last one is the major stumbling block in a number of cases. After all, what do they do when you go away? In their minds, it is a custom solution and they don't have anyone to call but you. It can be a standard LAMP project that many people can work on easily, but, who do they call for Linux if it is not Redhat or Novell? What is the 800 number for Apache? How many MySQL certified DBAs are there? Who certifies PHP developers, or Perl developers, or what ever?

That is what the SB owners and managers care about. In business, it is about covering your own ass first and saving money second.

After all, what good does it do to save a company US$10,000.00 only to be fired when a problem develops?

Re:Jesus. (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576860)

Well, Zend does offer a PHP certification. I don't think many people have actually gotten one, but it is available.

Bzzztt!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15578667)

If you have these things covered, it won't matter to the vast majority of customers what vendor(s) you use. Linux, Windows, Mac, whatever -- as long as it does what the customer needs and fits the above criteria, customers will flock to your solutions and pay you well.

I'm afraid you're quite wrong. Here are two specific examples.

In the first case, the customer was complaining about the spam that was flooding into their inboxes. There were many solutions available but we decided to offer a gateway with Linux under Postfix, Spamassassin, ClamAV and RBLs. We used the free versions of a major commercial distro so, if they wanted paid support, it was available as well.

Key selling points we offered to the customer included, highly effective, reliable, plug and play/no reconfiguration of the existing mail system, customizable, zero software cost, zero software maintenance costs, free signatures and free software upgrades, the same labor cost of any other solution. Total cost, 90% less than any similar commercial solution.

They chose to go with another company that offered them a Symantec SMTP gateway running on a Windows server. The price was thousands of dollars higher than what we offered. We countered with the identical solution for 10% less than our competition was selling to them and they still declined. The scuttle butt was that management was put off by our initial choice of "cheesy" products(Linux, etc.). No Sale!

The second opportunity was very similar to the first. This time we offered two solutions from the beginning. We presented them with both the Linux option and the Symantec/Microsoft option. The commercial offering was $5,500 more in up front cost and there were further recurring costs. We explained to them that the cheaper solution was just as reliable, virtually maintenance free, no recurring costs, no upgrade "protection", no subscriptions. They chose the $8,000 solution over the $2,500 one! Why!?!?!? They "just felt better about big names like Microsoft and Symantec".

After that, we took the free software references off our website and business has been great! Now I sell software and make a profit on every sale. For me, this beats the hell out of giving it away. But, I also enjoy a great deal of service revenue due to the constant need to reconfigure, patch, fix, fiddle with, reboot, etc. the commercial software solutions. The customers literally ask me to take their money and I'm happy to do so.

Re:Bzzztt!! (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15578870)

After that, we took the free software references off our website and business has been great! Now I sell software and make a profit on every sale. For me, this beats the hell out of giving it away. But, I also enjoy a great deal of service revenue due to the constant need to reconfigure, patch, fix, fiddle with, reboot, etc. the commercial software solutions. The customers literally ask me to take their money and I'm happy to do so.

This is why ISVs love MSFT and Linux will not gain traction anywhere but Large Entities.

Re:Bzzztt!! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15583316)

No, I'm still not wrong.

It's about how you presented it. Don't present it as 'free software'. Become a Red Hat channel partner and SELL the stuff. People equate free with "cheesy". But when they pay for it (even if it is something they could have acquired for free) they get a warm fuzzy feeling that they are being supported and, more importantly, there's someone to sue.

It's the approach I've used and I've actually sold people 'free' software solutions, they just didn't know they were free software.

Re:Jesus. (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576050)

Well, there's probably a few reasons in this case.

  1. They don't want to get sued by Linus over the use of the 'Linux trademark.
  2. They don't want to get pigeonholed into doing just 'Linux' support. They're probably already doing some level of application support, and they might want to expand into *BSD, OpenSolaris, etc. later.
  3. To a suit, 'Levanta' probably just sounds cooler than 'LinuxCare.' LinuxCare sounds utilitarian, while 'Levanta' sounds like it could be the next acid blocker medication, right along side Nexium, Zantac, Pecid and Tazac.

Levanta was a drug name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15577233)

I heard that Linuxcare had to buy the rights to the "Levanta" name from AstraZeneca, who had trademarked it as a possible name for their Viagra-clone.

Levanta was chosen more or less randomly at the 11th hour because the preferred choice, "Levanto" was unavailable as a domain name. It's a town in Italy, and they unsurprisingly didn't want to give up the name.

Re:Jesus. (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577264)

To a suit, 'Levanta' probably just sounds cooler than 'LinuxCare.'

To me, too. Levanta definitely sounds like something from a drug ad where there's soft fuzzy lighting and Really Pleasant Music playing. But LinuxCare has this homeopathic quality to it that I don't like... is Linux sick?

Re:Jesus. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576080)

Levanta (Spanish) = Stand up! (English)

  I'm a spanish spoker (as you can see i don't write englsih well) and i'm wondering why, when english people choose a name for his creations, never check if the name as another significate in other languajes, for example Levanta or, the worst one, "inkulator" than sound in latin as "inculator", that means "ass fucker"

  BTW:

    "no se me levanta", spanish phrase that means .... "i have no erections" xDDDDD

 

Re:Jesus. (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576543)

What on Earth is wrong with naming a company something like "Stand Up!"? That's the sort of thing a marketer loves in a name- something motiviational and cool-sounding at the same time. Stand up, rise to the challenges, yaddayaddayadda....

Re:Jesus. (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 8 years ago | (#15578227)

something motiviational and cool-sounding at the same time. Stand up, rise to the challenges, yaddayaddayadda....

Just like Levitra [levitra.com] .

Re:Jesus. (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 8 years ago | (#15579064)

There is already a company making pantyhose by that name. In that case the name makes
sense, both functionally and in terms of getting erections. But for a tech company???
Do their servers need motivation to stay up?

Re:Jesus. (3, Insightful)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576137)

Because "Linuxcare" is mentally associated with suckage and failure, and the "Hi! I know we went out of business, but we're back, PLEASE hire us!" sales pitch wasn't working out.

I'm not saying it's right to associate them with that, it's not entirely their fault they fell apart, but that's a perception that many hold regarding them. The name needed to change.

Re:Jesus. (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15578385)

Oh, it's their fault they fell apart.

Why?

Frankly, they were con artists. SOWs, unless they are 20 pages long, tend to lay out the principal of work involved. They tend to indicate what the desired outcome is. LinuxCare thinks that a two page SoW (for $100k of work) is a contract, not a statement of work. They think that unless every specific piece of work and coding is listed there, they did not agree to perform said work. This is regardless of verbal meetings prior to the SoW that back up said work.

Just how, for example, can one design an authentication system for a web application, without a usable, working login prompt? How can someone provide an authetincation system, without a means to manage it (add users, etc)? These things were all discussed during meetings, but not on paper.. although the spirit was.

For example, if I hire someone to provide me with a car.. and we have verbal meetings about what type of car, and how I want to use the car to drive 100 miles every day.. providing me with the parts of the car is usless, yes?

Thanks LinuxCare. I hope you crash and burn.

(and I hope anyone supporting LinuxCare because they are an "open source" company.. and "part of the movement", keep in mind that in that context.. so was SCO)

Re:Jesus. (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576250)

because they used to actually do linux administration, that is no longer their focus. They changed the name of the company to relfect a change in business model. Welcome to marketing101. There's no way anyone was giving "linuxcare" anymore VC money, as was pointed out if you RTFA.

Sounds like a laxative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576293)

My doctor said Levanta!

Re:Jesus. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576349)

I'm always scratching my head, why would they take a perfictly reasonable and understandable company name and "synergize" it in to something stupid.

New-age marketing is all about obfuscation and suggestion. A name should not confer facts - it just stimulate feelings that are reinforced by underlying suggestions in ads.

"I took a couple of Levanta ('cause I asked my doctor if I needed it), this morning. Then I called my broker at Levanta. After that, I read a letter from my HMO, Levanta and a bill form my cell provider Levanta. The I got into my shiny 2006 Levanta 480ZX and drove to the new housing development in Levanta, to the home of my hip new multi-racial girlfriend Levanta who lives on Levanta Avenue. There we downloaded and listened to 'trax' from the latest one-hit wonders, Levanta."

---

For years this re-naming of companies and products (to remove any suggestion of what they are), the last syllable of which is usually the feel-good "a", has been making me puke.

Re:Jesus. (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 8 years ago | (#15578156)

Problems began when my Spanish girlfriend said, 'no se te Levanta'.

Re:Jesus. (1)

e40 (448424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576539)

I would avoid them based on that stupidity alone.
That's funny, because I would avoid you based on your stupid username.

Lowest price for Levanta! (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575917)

Don't let Levanta's nondescript, prescription drug-sounding name fool you

Glad I'm not the only one who immediately thought I'd be getting spams saying: L3van7a at l0w lovv pr1ce5

Re:Lowest price for Levanta! (2, Funny)

dubmun (891874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576199)

Your comment has just caused us all to experience complete and total spam filter failure. Noooooooooooo!

My doctor said Levanta (3, Informative)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575931)

I understand, from one of the developers of Linuxcare, that the company was managed poorly, chose silly routes for their services, and were probably a little ahead of their time. Let's hope they make this work.

Re:My doctor said Levanta (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15575963)

Didn't the original company get in trouble with the law fornot paying employees and various other dubious practices. Also wasn't it originally based in St. Louis, or am I thinking of a different company?

Re:My doctor said Levanta (1)

booch (4157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15580185)

You're thinking of Linuxgruven.

Re:My doctor said Levanta (1)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15579902)

Common side effects of Levanta include dry mouth, headache, poor judgement and poor foresight. People with high blood pressure or a history of circulation problems should not use Levanta. Levanta should not be used by women who are pregnant or could become pregnant. Should Levanta start to smoke, run away, seek shelter and cover head. Levanta may stick to certain types of skin. Do not taunt Levanta. Levanta, Accept No Substitutes!

It's a good name (3, Funny)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575932)

As the name is close enough to Levitra, with some clever marketing people will believe the company can keep your computer up.

Re:It's a good name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576034)

Quote: As the name is close enough to Levitra, with some clever marketing people will believe the company can keep your computer up.

at least for 36 hours!!!

Re:It's a good name (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576060)

Please contact your sysadmin if your computer stays up for longer than 48 hours.

Re:It's a good name (1)

mr_flea (776124) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576756)

Especially if it's a Windows machine...

Re:It's a good name (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576805)

Please contact your sysadmin if your computer stays up for longer than 48 hours.

Microsoft has a solution for that. And it's blue as well.

Re:It's a good name (1)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576832)

As the name is close enough to Levitra, with some clever marketing people will believe the company can keep your computer up.

There's already a company that is doing this, they call themselves Liagra.
*Ducks*

Re:It's a good name (1)

L the Cat (965633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577009)

Especially in Portuguese, where "levanta" means "get up"!

Re:It's a good name (1)

BenHoltz (909754) | more than 8 years ago | (#15578386)

WARNING: Side effects include high fan speeds, loud noises, and a rare case of windows. If uptime on computer last for more than 3 hours discontinue use and consult a doctor Immediately!

Re:It's a good name (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15589455)

Oddly enough, in portuguese "levanta" is a form of the verb "levantar", which loosely translates to english as "to raise" or "to keep up". Odd coincidence, isn't it?

wow (1)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575940)

just read that:
Linuxcare was a San Francisco-based company founded in 1998 by Dave Sifry, Arthur Tyde and Dave LaDuke. The company's initial goal was to be "the 800 number for Linux" and operate 24 hours a day.
obviously, it didn't happen quite that way... but wow! i had no idea.

Interesting idea (3, Informative)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575955)

I've seen Levanta's ads in Linux Journal [linuxjournal.com] before. Besides the silly name, it sounds like a pretty interesting premise--remote administration, deployment, and management of servers. I don't know how well it actually works, or how painful the integration with the managed servers is, but it certainly sounds cool.

Are you Syria? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15575982)

Sounds like heart burn medicine or a Hezbollah training camp.

How it works (4, Interesting)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15575992)

For those who, like me, are wondering about how the Levanta Intrepid (the actual box) can remotely manage servers with such "precision"... I looked it up on their website.

Basically, all of the servers that are managed by the Intrepid are set up to network boot, and use network disks. So the Intrepid controls the kernel they boot with and their filesystems. This gives it the ability to install or uninstall software behind-the-scenes, as well as make byte-level backups of servers and transition them to other machines (simply by switching around which server boots to which disk).

To me, at least, this seems quite clever.

Re:How it works (0, Offtopic)

myspys (204685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576131)

I looked it up on their website.

and just WHO do you think you are?

we are the slashdot, we don't look at website, we don't read articles

we "debate" without facts!

ghee, get a grip

Re:How it works (1)

martinbogo (468553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577248)


Nothing surprising there. This is just how a Beowulf cluster is provisioned and maintained. For more info, see Penguin Computing/Scyld.

Someone please refresh our memories (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576110)

LinuxCare had a very colorful history, with VCs installing people with known fraud backgrounds as CXO level execs only to later have him sexaully assault guys working there (where further digging revealed that they had been accused of this in the past) and contributing greatly to the company's death due to calling in of favors he owed other companies. I hear they made some of their employees use Windows software (requiring a second computer) as one of those deals


If LinuxCare left any mark on the world, tt's a poster child of bad-behavior of VCs and the importance of founders keeping in control when negotiating with them.


Someone with a clearer memory than me, and hopefully references, please fill in the details.

Re:Someone please refresh our memories (1)

hartek451 (971580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15584625)

I'm a Linuxcare survivor. Almost nobody remembers the original pitched name of 'the penguinarium', but I remember when CNN-Financial called us 'Linux services Powerhouse'. If not for the VC meddling, we would have stomped red hat into being just another distro. At the very end, we were trying to merge with Turbolinux (remember them too?) just to stay afloat. The real Linuxcare ended then. What came after was just a rotting corpse...

At one time there where around 300 really smart people working there, with a couple of
self-serving brainless VC plants in charge trying to squeeze money out of an unworkable business plan and into their own pockets. Employees included the original authors of PHP, Samba (one of), kernel traffic (hey zack!), and too many apps to remember... we did the first version of a 'sourceforge' (our demo was basically copied.. hey, isn't that open source though.. they did it better). We did the first custom builds of debian for IBM
thinkpads (I think they are still using them). The Linuxcare BBC (bootable business card) was one the best little tools around. I still love scaring M$ 'security' admins with one of them.

Not to name names, but do you all remember when Etrade was having all kinds of problems back around '99 and '00, being down for hours on end, the wrong trades going through, accounts getting redirected, etc. Their CIO(CEO? don't' remember) eventually left under a cloud. Took his 'secretary' (using the term very loosely for what her duties actually were.. couldn't spell or type, but certainly took dictation quite well) and a few months later was CIO at Linuxcare. We talked with friends at Etrade, and got the bad news. He brought his own ideas on how everything should run. It was all very new, groundbreaking, earthshattering technology (if we happened to be in the year 1965!), and of course brought in the 'consultants' from a firm that he and the CEO just happened to have a lot of investments in.

When the entire IT, Web Dev, and Labs departments start having secret meetings about how to get rid of the CIO, you know there's a problem. The best was when we hung effigies of him in our areas, with nooses made from CAT-5.

Ah yes, the good old days.. Dave, Dave, and Art were the best guys I had ever worked for, but they got eaten alive by the VC sharks. Hopefully sputnik.com will make it big for dave and art..

Linuxcare. Support for the Revolution! err... At the Center of Linux!

Re:Someone please refresh our memories (1)

hartek451 (971580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15584666)

Crap, I forgot..

Our 4/1 joke of ReRover.com was, and still is I think, the best ever...

check it out on wayback...

strange thing is.. it isn't a joke anymore.. it's reality..

ReRover. It's a Dog's life. Again.

Here's what Levanta does (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15576213)

On the downloads [levanta.com] page on the Levanta Web site, you can find a flash demo that gives a high-level idea of what Levanta's product does. If you enter in your name and some contact info, you can download a white paper that describes the technology. It's pretty cool stuff.

Levanta? (0, Redundant)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576279)

Sounds like a erectile dysfunction drug.

This is not an endorsement (2, Interesting)

anothy (83176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15576387)

this is about the stupidest thing i've heard out of a business-oriented rag in a while:
Still, Mosman has one thing going for him: He can't do much worse than his predecessors.
that's not anything "going for him". first of all, sure he can. don't challenge the universe like that; it doesn't like it. it likes to prove you wrong. further, the fact that someone else did miserably doesn't make you any likely at all to do well. even worse, in a smallish niche market (3rd-party linux support), high-profile failures are a significant detriment.
doing better than an unmitigated disaster does not make you successful.

I used to work for LinuxCare... (4, Interesting)

ezrec (29765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577050)

I used to work for LinuxCare, from January 2000 to Sept 2003. I have to say, to was a wild ride. At the 'LinuxCare' phase, I mostly did contract work to write Linux device drivers for 3rd parties. (Including some absolutely evil stuff like a C++ stub for kernel modules, and a 'look like NT' wrapper for a MPEG encoder kernel module.) In early 2000, we moved into our 'new' offices (we took up the entire basement of the huge converted warehouse building we were in), and had 'The Worlds Ugliest Mural' done by a local graffiti artist. The entire floor was carpeded with the LinuxCare 'X' logo. Yes, custom logo carpet. Around 2001, the support business collapsed. The Founders left, except for Art, but we picked up a new CEO, some really smart IBM guys, and started working on what was to be the Levanta project. Originally targeted for IBM z/390 mainframes, it used the z/VM operating system to provide multiple 'on-demand' Linux-on-390 'partitions'. (z/VM is the mainframe equivalent to VMWare, but 20 years old !) Akmal Khan came on board after Levanta was in full swing, and immediately took a dislike to the the distributed nature of our development group. There was Pittsburgh, doing the primary backend database; Ottawa was doing the web GUI and z/VM interface; Las Vegas handled the web infrastructure; project management in Atlanta; and San Francisco was sales and marketing. Except for SF and Ottawa, most sites telecommuted, so no 'office overhead' for those areas. It became apparent pretty quickly that Akmal was the micromanaging type. By spring 2003, A.K. had collected his own group of technical people (very good ones, by the way) in SF, diverted all development of 'Levanta-on-Intel' to SF, and started making it pretty clear to the managers that all sites except SF would be going away. That fall of 2003, the axe arrived for Ottawa, and I walked away from Levanta and the political mess that had developed. I'm glad to have worked for LinuxCare, and had a ton-of-fun working on Levanta-on-z/390.

Re:I used to work for LinuxCare... (3, Informative)

ezrec (29765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577099)

(Dang, I'm so used to Wiki...)

I used to work for LinuxCare, from January 2000 to Sept 2003. I have to say, to was a wild ride.

At the 'LinuxCare' phase, I mostly did contract work to write Linux device drivers for 3rd parties. (Including some absolutely evil stuff like a C++ stub for kernel modules, and a 'look like NT' wrapper for a MPEG encoder kernel module.)

In early 2000, we moved into our 'new' offices (we took up the entire basement of the huge converted warehouse building we were in), and had 'The Worlds Ugliest Mural' done by a local graffiti artist. The entire floor was carpeded with the LinuxCare 'X' logo. Yes, custom logo carpet.

Around 2001, the support business collapsed. The Founders left, except for Art, but we picked up a new CEO, some really smart IBM guys, and started working on what was to be the Levanta project. Originally targeted for IBM z/390 mainframes, it used the z/VM operating system to provide multiple 'on-demand' Linux-on-390 'partitions'. (z/VM is the mainframe equivalent to VMWare, but 20 years old !)

Akmal Khan came on board after Levanta was in full swing, and immediately took a dislike to the the distributed nature of our development group. There was Pittsburgh, doing the primary backend database; Ottawa was doing the web GUI and z/VM interface; Las Vegas handled the web infrastructure; project management in Atlanta; and San Francisco was sales and marketing. Except for SF and Ottawa, most sites telecommuted, so no 'office overhead' for those areas.

It became apparent pretty quickly that Akmal was the micromanaging type. By spring 2003, A.K. had collected his own group of technical people (very good ones, by the way) in SF, diverted all development of 'Levanta-on-Intel' to SF, and started making it pretty clear to the managers that all sites except SF would be going away.

That fall of 2003, the axe arrived for Ottawa, and I walked away from Levanta and the political mess that had developed.

I'm glad to have worked for LinuxCare, and had a ton-of-fun working on Levanta-on-z/390.

Re:I used to work for LinuxCare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15580659)

Damn. You make a post (which is like most posts on slashdot, probably complete BS), wait for it to get modded up and then repost it "formatted" to get modded up again. That's some awesome kharma whoring bro. Keep up the good work.

Re:I used to work for LinuxCare... (1)

hartek451 (971580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15586094)

Actually, it was not the basement. It used to be underground parking level of the 'fashion center' back when it was a fashion center... which explains the huge concrete pillars that held up the rest of the building. We just needed to get away from Sega and Macromedia up on the higher floors... their wireless networks were so crappy, and wide open that we couldn't resist just using them all the time.. we could even read their email...

Re:I used to work for LinuxCare... (2, Informative)

pernicious (984123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15579031)

I currently work for Levanta and overlapped with you for part of the time you were there. I know who you are but I won't reveal your identity.

Perhaps, because I am a current employee, my perspective is more skewed, but my recollections of the chain of events is different from yours.

Avery Lyford was hired as CEO in September of 2001. He hired Art Olbert from IBM in October and Akmal Khan from SGI in January of 2002.

Art started the original Linuxcare product that was later code-named "Odin" using the people left over from the previous Linuxcare incarnation. The project had some major flaws in both the architecture and the implementation.

AK and another ex-SGI engineer, Nate Stahl, architected a new filesystem which later became MAPFS (and was Open-Sourced) which became the core of what is currently Levanta.

You are right that AK made no bones about disliking the distributed nature of the development group as he is a firm believer in centralized development teams for core work. To his credit, he was open and honest about that (as you have noted) and started to put the necessary skills together in SF. He hired Adam Fineberg, who later replaced him as VP of Engineering, and quickly put together a team to architect and implement what was codenamed the Freya project from scratch.

AK was the principal architect of the Freya project and he himself coded the initial object framework. I would describe him as a "hands-on" technical leader rather than a "micro-manager" as you do. He had little love for the zVM project and was more interested in implementing Levanta on the x86 architecture. The first release of Freya, however, was made on the existing zVM machines in order to not abandon the customers who were already running Odin. Freya was implemented from conception to release in about 7 months - an incredible achievement for code written on a blank sheet of paper. I would also note that since then, no project at Levanta has taken more than 6 months to implement - including the Intrepid hardware appliance. The article did not mention that AK was also the architect for the Intrepid appliance.

I can understand the misgivings that those of you who were on the service end of the axe might feel. Having been there myself in the past, I can sympathize fully. In retrospect, the actions taken were probably the right ones and saved Levanta from ceasing to exist.

Matt Mossman joined in January of 2005 to take the helm of Levanta from AK who had been the acting CEO until then after Avery was axed. Matt brings a history of Funding and merger experience from Oracle and some VC company (I forget the name) where he was a partner. He is exactly the skills we need at Levanta to take us to the next level - if not to IPO, then to a profitable acquisition.

Re:I used to work for LinuxCare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15579451)

You didn't walked away, you were kicked to the curb!

If you experience... (3, Funny)

d_p (63654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577306)

...an erection lasting longer than four hours, stop taking Levanta.

Isn't India Already Doing This? (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15577494)

I watched a special on the news a few weeks ago. It showed multiple call centers where the employees were being trained and taught English. They also showed the new movement for IT support. Totally outsources data center management - remote administration. It's already being done and probably cheaper than Lavawhatever can do it for (unless their business plan is to sell the outsourcing)

coc3k (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15578628)

My resignation is busy 1nfighting
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