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Doc Searls with Don Harbison, Marketing Manager, Notes/Domino Product Marketing, at Linux World Expo in August

Doc Searls: Why Linux now?

Don Harbison: Customer demand. When our president and CEO Jeff Papas announced at our Lotusphere event in January that we were adding Linux as the newest platform to the Domino stable of platforms, he got a standing ovation from 10,000 business partners and customers in this Disney World ballroom. It was huge. If you go to our site, you'll find that now is the first time we've made code publicly available.

Doc Searls: What's the difference for you, now that you're overlapping with the open-source world?

Don Harbison: In the open-source world, the technical community has the ability to influence the direction of the OS. So the tool kit is not hostaged by one entity. This also gives us a new model for rapid development of innovation. It's exciting!


On Bill Gates' tombstone: “This man has performed an illegal operation and has been shut down.”--BBC Radio 4


Start-ups are all in the same business—selling promises to venture capitalists. And what a business it is. In the second quarter of this year, VCs spent $2.13 billion dollars US on 227 start-ups in the Bay Area alone. That's nearly double the money spent in the same period one year earlier. Most of the recipients were in the “Internet space”, and at least two were Linux-related. One was VA Linux Systems, which received $25 million US. The other was Google, which received another $25 million US. (Source: San Jose Mercury News, Wednesday, August 11, 1999.)

If the amount of ink being spilled on a subject is a good harbinger of investments to come, look for Linux to be a prime attractor of VC money very soon. Right now, the only thing holding the VCs back is the same question that kept them from investing in those Internet companies a few years back: “If it's free and nobody owns it, how can you make money at it?”

We're sure you can think of an answer.

—Doc Searls


For most of this past July, the Borland Developer Solutions Group at Inprise ran a Web-based survey on Linux development, which they promoted from links at Linux Journal, Slashdot, Linux Today, SuSE and Borland.com. It was the largest survey of its type in the company's history, generating over 24,000 unique survey submissions. There are pages and pages of results, which you can read at http://www.borland.com/linux/. But none make side-by-side comparisons of responses from programmers currently using Linux or Windows as their primary development platform. The results are pretty close (hey, they both want to work on Linux). One take-away is a shared appetite for Rapid Application Development (RAD), Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) such as Borland's own Delphi, and—especially important to the Linux natives—IDEs that work with existing standard Linux tools.

—Doc Searls


  • WebNet99, World Conference on the WWW and Internet, http://www.aace.org/conf/webnet/advprog.htm, October 24-30, 1999, Honolulu, Hawaii

  • USENIX LISA, the Systems Administration Conference, http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa99, November 7-12, 1999, Seattle, WA

  • COMDEX Fall/Linux Business Expo, http://www.comdex.com/comdex/owa/event_home?v_event_id=289, http://www.zdevents.com/linuxbizexpo/, Nov. 15-19, 1999, Las Vegas, NV

  • SANS 1999 Workshop on Securing Linux, http://www.sans.org/, Dec. 15-16, 1999, San Francisco, CA. The SANS Institute is a cooperative education and research organization.



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