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Death of a Rebel 94

Posted by michael
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
jwunderl writes: "Just a quick word to let you know that Rebel, who took over the NetWinder line from Corel has gone the way of the dodo. Claining a failed partnership with Fuji, the company informed it's creditors it could no longer continue. The full story is available at the Ottawa Citizen's page." Linux appliances don't seem to be the sure-sell that everyone thought they would be.
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Death of a Rebel

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    What the hell were these guys thinking when they thought they would be able to take a FREE OS, give it away, and somehow become millionaires in the process

    Uhhh.... they sold HARDWARE.

    And if you disagree, please include the name of ONE profitable Linux company in your reply.

    Red Hat: Red Hat in the Black [slashdot.org]
  • Those are all great reasons for a bit of help in a time of trouble. However, it is also 100% true that had Bombardier not been a Quebec-based company, they would have not seen a single cent from the federal government.

    Taking money from other provinces and dumping it into Quebec is practically the official sport of the politicians up here...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:57AM (#87207)
    Years before they paid $5million for the rebel name and the James Dean crap, Rebel were known as "Hardware Canada Computing" (http://www.hcc.ca). HCC had a nice big cushy contract with the Canadian Federal Government to supply unix workstations and such. It was one of those "Open" contracts where if someone in the government wanted something, they could call, HCC would send it to them, the government would get billed some exorbinant rate, and nobody would really care. That meant that overall they could sit on their butts and do nothing, but still rake in the cash.

    The problem was for private companies like mine. Call for a quote? Never call you back. Call again for a quote? Send you a quote for the wrong items. Call for service? "Call the manufacturer, it's not our problem". I did manage to drop a few tens of thousands into them over the years because they did have good prices (over say... Sun Canada, which wasn't saying much). They were the quintessential canadian business: buy something from someone else, and sell it for a higher price, and offer nothing added.

    Then they did this whole $5million for James Dean and scribbling "LINUX LINUX LINUX" over everything. I could never get a quote out of them again. I will not miss them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:14AM (#87208)
    I was one of the original Corel NetWinder owners. I far as I can tell, there was three problems with Rebel.com

    1- They paid a fortune for the 'James Dean' image and the Rebel.com domain.
    I remember hearing $6 million at the time. I could be wrong (especially since I thought it was way too much money, even in the .com heyday) Flush with Corel money, they went on a 'branding' and 'mindshare' quest. woohoo.

    2- The hardware remained essentially the same years after its introduction.
    (Since Rebel.com is down, I can't verify though) Why would I pay a premium price for a 266Mhz StrongARM, when I can get a crazy PIII Celeron system for cheaper. At the time it was introduced, the NetWinder was a decent price point (as a dedicated web server), but not now.

    3- Out of their league.
    Hardware Computer Canada (HCC) was a small reseller before becoming Rebel.com, and trying to compete with the likes of VA Linux, Sun, and whoever else. They also lost sight of the fact that NetWinders appealed to geeks, and they tried to reposition it as an workgroup office server (an underpowered office server, that is)

    Anyway, take what I say with a grain of salt, since they haven't been on my radar screen for a while, and since the site is down, I can't verify what I'm stating based upon today's information. And you can't trust AC's. *wink*

  • Rebel goes down - and lineo just created a new company - called: snapgear [snapgear.com]


    The hardware (at least from outside) looks very cool

  • Posted by polar_bear:

    According to Patrick V. Slackware had been profitable, and we'll see if they can be again. I think they can because they're not trying to be something they're not -- they take Linux and other Open Source/Free Software and bundle it, put it together with a decent installer and make a nice convenient distro. They sell enough to make a small profit and grow moderately. Not impossible.

    I agree, Linux isn't a commercial OS -- but there are plenty of business models that support using Linux -- but boxed sales and *overpriced* appliances aren't one of them. Lineo may (they're not public, so it's hard to tell) be making a decent profit off of Linux in appliances.

    Frankly, I'd love to see an appliance priced so that I could buy one for my grandparents and friends who don't have computers -- so they could use email and whatnot. Linux would be ideal for such an appliance, but a $500 or $1500 appliance is way too expensive. Most people don't really NEED a PC.

    Oh well, I just hope that Linux doesn't fade away completely when all these Dell and Microsoft wannabes fade away.

  • I would probably have bought one if it didn't cost so darn much to ge one. A hint for anyone who might try this in the future: $1,000+ is not inexpensive. $500+ is a little more reasonable. By the time I would have bought the netwinder, I would have had something that fit on a bookshelf, but would have cost as much as a normal PC with half the horsepower.

    Linux appliances are a good idea, but thee needs to be some serious inroads into making them affordable, or you might as well not even start.

    Too bad they couldn't have died in a blaze of glory like their namesake.

  • Explain why Wal-Mart can't sell them (There seems to be a LOT of them in their clearance areas- all models including the newest top of the line with the HD...) and they've reached the saturation point such that places like Big Lots and MacFrugal's (closeout stores) are trying to move them now.

    WebTV's interface stinks and for many TV's it's painful to use because the NTSC set doesn't have the requisite sharpness to even do 60dpi.
  • Don't worry, they couldn't get it right either. Getting delisted is fun. Also, I like focus shifts. [google.com]
    ------------
    a funny comment: 1 karma
    an insightful comment: 1 karma
    a good old-fashioned flame: priceless
  • by laertes (4218) on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:14AM (#87215) Homepage
    I can't wait for linux to be ported to the following devices:
    • Toilets
    • Watches
    • Sprinklers
    • Lawn-mowers
    • My wife's eighteen inch black dildo
    • And my PS2 (cause that's be so useful)

    Okay, dildos aside, how many of those actually are going to happen?

  • Incorporate your home as a non-profit shelter for orphaned hardware and take the write-offs.
  • Some folks seem to confuse the way Netwinders were first used (as development desktops for the eventual product) with what they really were: appliance servers.

    I saw their latest model a couple of weeks ago at PC Expo. It was a nice iteration of the Cobalt Qube/Whistler InterJet concept: a small-office smail/print/gateway/firewall/file/web server. It had a nice interface and a bit more flexibility in the web GUI than a Qube. The RISC processor was traded in for a Transmeta chip, and the OS was a 2.4.x kernel and a lot of recent package revs on top of a stable RedHat 6.2 base.

    But the Qube isn't what made Cobalt the big success it is. Cobalt made (and makes) its money from selling the RaQ series: turnkey virtual-hosting servers to web hosting providers. Same hardware, different enclosure, but a different software mix and a different customer. The Qube sells, and they continue to make them because it's cheap to do as long as the hardware is taken care of by the RaQ R+D. But it's not their core business.

    Rebel also had products closer to the RaQ model, but where they arguably had a nicer Qube than the Qube, their other products were inferior to the competition on the software side. You can do batch configuration of dozens or hundreds of RaQs out of the box. Corel and Rebel didn't get that far.

    On another note, Rebel was an outgrowth of HCC, a Canadian VAR. They had a sales team that was no doubt good at doing direct sales to Canadian companies and government agencies, but probably not as good at getting things into the mainstream corporate sales channels: the catalog vendors. Rebel machines, like Cobalts,a are appliances. They generally get installed and configured by the customer, not by a consultant from a VAR.

    Ever seen CDW or Insight or PC Mall selling Rebels? They sure as heck sell Cobalts, and keep them on hand. Anyone know if Rebel machines are available through Ingram? Were they widely available from any major disttributors in the US and Europe? Were the distributors and large corporate resellers educated on it and get the collateral and training necessary to sell it effectively? Call some web hosting providers and see if they had a Rebel rep calling them to sell them on their RaQ-ish machines. Bet they didn't.

    My guess is HCC misjudged the product when they bought it from Corel and didn't know how to sell it properly. And that they also lacked the marketing and sales skills in the markets it belonged in, which were different from HCC's core.
  • Linux appliances don't seem to be the sure-sell that everyone thought they would be.

    Damn, I wish hardware vendors would get this through their heads. Repeat after me: Special-purpose "information appliances" don't sell. No one wants them. Pundits have been running at the mouth about information appliances and digital convergence and the death of the PC since the 80's and it just isn't happening. I can't think of a single dumb idea that's been "the next big thing" for nearly as long. How many times does this crap have to crash and burn before VCs stop pouring money into it?

    --

  • Well three of those are already here. IBM did the linux watch (it's been covered on /. a time or three). As for sprinklers, the big industrial systems are already computer controlled, some of them use embeded ppc controlers, and linux on ppc is here today so that's do-able. And linux has been running on PS/2s for a while.
  • by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost@@@syberghost...com> on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:36AM (#87220) Homepage
    All these Linux-based appliances are failing for one reason:

    They're Linux-based appliances first, appliances second.

    Come in with a sound business plan and a device that fills a niche, and happen to use Linux on it, and you'll clean up.

    Come in with Linux in your head and try to build a "cool" device, then try and graft on a half-ass business plan, and you'll fail.

    Duh.

    -
  • Let me get this straight - they live in a burnt-out house in a poor part of town, but managed to get their local teleco to set them up with a DSL connection without being told "it will be at least 10 years before we offer that service in your area?"

    My parents clearly need to move.
  • Linux appliances don't seem to be the sure-sell that everyone thought they would be.

    It doesn't matter if they're running Linux, BeOS or WinCE. No Internet appliances have taken off they way they were predicted. Paying $300 for an appliance when you can get a full featured computer for $400 is a really hard sell.

    F.O. Dobbs
  • Pundits have been running at the mouth about information appliances and digital convergence and the death of the PC since the 80's and it just isn't happening. I can't think of a single dumb idea that's been "the next big thing" for nearly as long.

    Interactive Television

  • Which is why e-smith [e-smith.com]'s business model is much better. They distribute a GPLed Linux-based OS on a CD that will turn your commodity Pentium into a network appliance. It's really cool, and very easy to install and configure. The internals are easy to customize if you like to hack things. I had my system up and running with a 3rd-party streaming MP3 plugin within an hour of popping in the CD.

    e-smith gives away their distro, making money by providing support and services for the businesses who use it. They also support community development and re-sellers; check out their community site at http://www.e-smith.org. [e-smith.org] They'll do a lot better by selling services than by trying to sell hardware. Everyone's got a random P-100 lying around to run their software on.

    Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with e-smith; I'm just a satisfied user. But they are very cool.

  • Actually, I'd say you're just about spot on. They were working on a Crusoe-based version for their "next big thing" but it was still going to be underpowered compared to what's available.

    They did support netwinder.org [netwinder.org] which was a netwinder "community" site. They even had personal pages put up by some of their employees with pictures of the internals, a 15 node beowulf cluster of caseless netwinders, and a page describing how to change the horrid little fan inside them to one that's a lot quieter. Unfortunately it seems this was stored on Rebel.com's fileserver which has disappeared.

    They are nice little machines. The size of the box is just about perfect, and they run off 12V so you can make a UPS out of a car battery. But I guess that's the sort of thing that appeals to geeks, and as you noted they mostly stopped caring about the geeks.

  • That's a very good point. The TiVo runs Linux and does quite well, exactly because it's a personal video recorder that happens to run Linux, not a Linux box that records video.
  • This hardware actually goes back to the Moreton Bay NETtel platform. Moreton Bay were the guys that ported Linux to the Coldfire (slashdot story [slashdot.org]) and were then acquired by Lineo. There are some pictures of Coldfire Linux based boards [uclinux.org], including the original Moreton Bay NETtel.

  • Well, rebel took down only their main page [rebel.com] so google's cache [google.com] comes in handy here. Also, the only links of any importance on that page are to their Netwinder [netwinder.net] division, and to the Enterprise [rebel.com] pages, both of which still work right now.

    In case the links stop working, or Google gets moody, the following pages link to google's caches:

  • The problem with netwinders is that they were overpriced, underpowered, and too loud (!) for the home hobbyist market.

    Speaking of being loud, have a look at these fan modifications to make it quiet enough to leave on all the time.

    There's also a good series of NetWinder internals [netwinder.org]pictures. It's a great little machine for hacking on.

  • by mistered (28404) on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:13AM (#87230)

    Yesterday Andrew E. Mileski, a senior software developer at Rebel.com, posted the following to the netwinder.announce newsgroup on netwinder.org [netwinder.org]:

    Rebel.com pulled the plug on NetWinder.org's fileserver.
    [And the Rebel.com mail server's fileserver.]
    The following services have been disabled on NetWinder.org:
    ftp
    rsync
    pop (internal)
    Web access to member directories will also not work.
    I don't know for certain what will happen with mail, but assume it will be spooled.
    We, the people behind NetWinder.org, will try to rectify the situation ASAP.
  • if they weren't so dang expensive....

    Microbob
  • That's a pretty dumb statement to make. Linux is doing very well in the small "appliance" space. All of the handheld makers except for MS are looking to run linux on their devices, all of the TV set to box makers are looking to run linux, and everywhere else I look besides the desktop, companies are falling over themselves to draw up a business plan for linux in their small devices. You must not read the same press releases I do. More and more if its a samll multifunction device especially for the home, we are seeing linux inside. Keep in mind many of the people who read Slash daily these days are PHB's and for them to hear one of the "linux community" doubt linux in an area were it is doing well is needless FUD.
  • Don't forget that Redhat turned a small profit last quarter.
  • I have been seriously looking at getting the NetWinder 3400 ('soon to be released') to use as a NAT/firewall. I was never particularly convinced that the pricepoint would be great, but the functionality seemed excellent. What other products are out there that offer similar functionality, out of the box, now that Rebel is no longer with us?
  • No, the number reported to the SEC includes stuff like past losses (their purchase of Cygnus) amortized over time for tax purposes - it's money they've already paid, but that they're just now reporting. The adjusted (that is, not munged for tax purposes) numbers are the ones you want to look at. See the previous slashdot article for details.
  • I don't know why anyone would think a "computer appliance" would sell.

    Appliances usually do one, maybe two things well. Your toaster toasts. Your oven heats things. Your refrigerator cools and freezes things. A computer, by its nature, does more.

    It sounds like Fuji would (and decided themselves to be) better off with just small, simple PCs. They may still use linux (control features, cost), but special purpose hardware isn't necessary (especially since it's likely just going to be locked in a cabinet).
  • Rebels were never competing for the $500 bracket. Try three times that. The problem with netwinders is that they were overpriced, underpowered, and too loud (!) for the home hobbyist market.

    I seriously looked into getting one, but the 275 Mhz strongarm, single-digit GB HD and double digit MB RAM just couldn't justify the ~ $1500 pricetag, esp as lower end AMDs easily outclassed them in pretty much all regards other than form factor.

    The form factor would have been cool (as would the second eth port) if it weren't for the fact that the fan by accounts was quite loud, meaning that the lack of a power switch became a liability.

    For the same price as a rebel, I could (and did) just as well buy a nonname laptop, be generous with RAM+HD, get more processor power, silent operation, and get an LCD and a battery (albeit a crap battery life, but more than adequate as a 30 min UPS) for free. AND the ability to dual boot into windows for the occasional game.

    Rebel going under isn't a shame, it's just plain common sense. They had pretty much ZERO advantage with which to compete. And I DID try hard to justify getting one, as they were so damn cool, but just couldn't.
  • No matter who tries to sell these things, from Oracle to Gateway. No iternet appliance has ever sold very well. Computer users dont seem to want to shell out $200 to $500 for a machine that has nothing but a web browser. People STILL like PC's because of there various other functions beside the web, even if we dont use them everyday.
  • You carefully selected your comments, didn't you?

    How about the list of businesses provided by Squadboy [slashdot.org] who are profitable using Linux? Did you even read the list?

    How does it feel to be a corporate whore [theregister.co.uk]?

    I hope your asbestos underwear is composed entirely of crocidolite [asbestosnetwork.com].

  • >>selling hardware and servicing that hardware is a *very* good idea.

    >VA Linux seems to think otherwise...

    TiVo and IBM seem to think otherwise to your otherwise....

    Have we approached infinity yet?

  • Your comments were directed at SOFTWARE, but the topic being discussed was a HARDWARE vendor.

    Now you seem to be skipping around your first assertion that Linux-based operations could never generate a profit.

    Face it, the companies listed by Squadboy are as valid to this discussion as Rebel - ergo, a hardware vendor who sold equipment relying entirely on an open source solution.

    All of your gyrations to get out of being tagged a MSFT wannabe are just evidence that you haven't a clue.

  • What makes you think the only kind of person who would think Linux is a losing deal would be a Microsoft wannabe?

    Previous experience.

    I know plenty of people who hate Microsoft and consider business Linux a pathetic joke.

    Sure - Mac/Solaris/Amiga/BeOS/*BSD users don't particularly like Linux.

    Only the Micro$oft Drones write with such disgust about Linux.

  • by Vicegrip (82853) on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:23AM (#87243) Journal
    In this case, Rebel is was in my opinion having problems because they were unable to carry through their promise of "total network management". Their service was supposed to totally manage a network for a small company from ground 0 ... they would handle any problem and necessary network reconfigurations. In practice their techs have proven to be less than knowledgeable and incapable of trouble shooting problems. In the end, our marketing guy knew more about trouble shooting the network then they did. The problem was not the technology. It was 100% an execution problem.
  • They're still working on an assumption that the majority of potential customers are PC illiterates who prefer limited-tasking, ease of use systems to full-featured, flexible computers.

    Granted, there was a time when this held true. Look at the popularity of the electronic "word processors" from companies like Brother in the late 80's to early 90's. Where are they all now?

    The fact is, the world is becoming more computer literate all the time. The current generation has grown up with the PC, and learned all the basics of using it in gradeschool.

    Just the other day, I met a couple who live in a very poor part of town. They live in the upstairs bedrooms of a burnt-out house, with only 2 working electrical outlets and questionable plumbing (hot water runs to the toilet, and their sink only runs cold water). They can't afford a vehicle, so they both take the bus to work each day. Still, they own 2 computers and have a DSL Inet connection. They told me "We find the Internet and computers more fun and more useful than something like owning a car - so that's why we spent our money where we did."
  • > selling hardware and servicing that hardware is a *very* good idea.

    VA Linux seems to think otherwise...
    Easy does it!
  • Everyone sees things through their own filters I guess. I didn't think the James Dean stuff was all that interesting either.

    I do still use my Rebel Netwinder though:

    • It only draws something like 30W of wall current, so I don't mind leaving it on all the time, even at Californian energy prices.
    • It used to be under a thousand bucks (barely), which was reasonable for a special purpose server.
    • It has been pretty reliable (most of my reboots have come from accidentally pulling the power out or similar.)
    • The device is incredibly obscure. Even though I often don't get around to installing security updates for a month or more after they've been announced, very few people have an interest in hand coding StrongArm machine code for the stack overflow bugs.
    • Netwinder.org is a great resource.

    On the other hand there were several annoying aspects to the Rebel servers:

    • IT is often a bitch to get things to compile on it. This is mostly the fault of the braindead decision of ARM computer makers to set a standard for C-struct padding that doesn't match standard UNIX.
    • I would really rather be using a 3.5" drive. Much less expensive, and easier to upgrade. Also considerably faster throughput.
    • The web-based server management software distributed on the machine is pretty useless.
    • Getting the beast back for defect fixes was a royal pain. Triplicate customs forms, outrageous shipping charges, ...the machines probably should have been burned in with a complete function test at the factory before shipping to the US.
    • They inexplicably started raising the prices on machines already released, without any significant improvements as far as I could tell. That is the wrong way to go guys!
  • Step 2: SELL Linux APPLIANCE

    Just because selling free software isnt a good buisness model doesnt mean people cant make money from associated fields... lots of companies do.... IBM

    You are the latest troll, 12 months ago you would have posted "Id like to see a beuwolf of ...."

    Grow a brain
  • The Netwinder failed because it was way too expensive. Why buy a Netwinder for twice the price of a PC?

    There are companies like e-smith that turn a PC into an appliance just as easy to use as the Netwinder. Their software is freely-downloadable, and support is cheap.
  • They were not selling Linux!
    They were selling SERVERS!

    This was not a "Linux" company. They could have used anyting they wanted to on their servers. They were selling little plug-n-play boxes that served files, printers, web access, ect...
    Where the hell do you get off bashing the commercial viability of Linux? They were not "giving away software", they were selling hardware. If they had used software that thay had to licence from some huge redmond corp, they would have gone belly up faster becouse their costs would be even higher for boxes that do the exact same thing.

    1 company that makes money and uses Linux?
    Easy! TIVO.
    Rebel's problem was they they were to busy trying to brag about the fact that they used Linux instead of braging about how they fixed customers problems.
    When was the last time you heard a Tivo commercial that said "Our product is great becouse we use Linux. So buy it!"
    Duh.

  • Toilets: just wait a little for those hightech japanese shit-analyzing ass sprinkling things to evolve some little more

    Watches: there's a linux watch.

    Lawn-mowers: I read about one that automagically lowned your lawn all by itself, but it ran w1nd0w$, perhaps a port to it would be nice.

    PS2: there's already linux for the ps2 only thing is you need some extra hardware to use it

  • 2- The hardware remained essentially the same years after its introduction. (Since Rebel.com is down, I can't verify though) Why would I pay a premium price for a 266Mhz StrongARM, when I can get a crazy PIII Celeron system for cheaper. At the time it was introduced, the NetWinder was a decent price point (as a dedicated web server), but not now.

    And their market has been effectively commoditized by the Taiwan motherboard makers with their BookPCs. One basic BookPC can be a fanless ViaC3 internet appliance or Xterminal, a thin client, be a 1.33 Athlon office workstation, or put into a 1U rack case. Maybe Rebel would still be in business if they had followed market realities and given up on the StrongArm.


    blessings,

  • I like how, for most Americans, only poor people ride the bus. After all, if someone had the money, they'd surely purchase an automobile (hopefully an SUV or some sports car) so they could show everyone!
  • Thank you! It won't shut up all of the Slashkiddies that blow smoke out of their ass about "Linux internet appliances," but it's good to see someone with the facts. :)
  • Same deal here. In 1998 I put together a PC for myself for $1000. When I saw the NetWinder, I almost wanted one- after all, I didn't really care about gaming, and just wanted a machine to do various not-terribly-resource-expensive sort of things. However, the NetWinders were, even when they came out, more costly and less powerful. It would've been nice to have a quiet and small machine, but it just didn't seem practical.

    That said, I'm finally realizing that dream, and waiting for my iBook to ship, if it ever does...

  • The netwider was a nice little box... It would be nice if they just released all the plans for it - (open source hardware) but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

  • "Linux appliances don't seem to be the sure-sell that everyone thought they would be."

    Remember how many different companies made automobiles in the dawn of the auto industry? How many of those are left? I still think that "Internet appliances" (whether based on Linux or some other OS) will become a big industry, but don't be surprised to see the demise most companies that try to enter this market.

    Not everybody gets to be Ford or GM.
  • No matter who tries to sell these things, from Oracle to Gateway. No iternet appliance has ever sold very well. Computer users dont seem to want to shell out $200 to $500 for a machine that has nothing but a web browser. People STILL like PC's because of there various other functions beside the web, even if we dont use them everyday.

    Do you even know what a Netwinder is? It's not a consumer web browser appliance, it's an office server. We use one at my office as a file server and intranet web server. I'm not at all suprised they went out of business, though- it's slow, has a small HD and is buggy as hell.

    Josh Sisk
  • They're still working on an assumption that the majority of potential customers are PC illiterates who prefer limited-tasking, ease of use systems to full-featured, flexible computers.

    What does this have to do with Rebel.com? Netwinders are a an office server, not intend for use as a computer by anyone. You plug it in, serve files off it, spool your printing, run a webserver or VPN. It's not a netappliance.
  • Again, Netwinders were not intended as computer replacements. They are for an office environment. You can use them as file/print/web servers, if you have two branches, you can use them to VPN your lans together. They are not a mass market type of product. They also have lots of problems and are too expensive, which is why Rebel.com went out of business. I would definitely buy a Netwinder-type product for my office, if the price was right. It wasn't.

    Josh Sisk
  • VA's mistake had nothing to do with the basic businees model. Simply put during the IPO craze they got greedy. Had they been willing to work for years to make a solid business and a good living they would be doing fine with it. Simply put they tried to get rich quick and that almost never works. You will notice on common thing of all the companies/people on my list is that they have all started small and built themselves up over time (or are in the process of doing that). VA tried to start big which was a big mistake.
  • by SquadBoy (167263) on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:25AM (#87262) Homepage Journal
    First of all Rebel was not selling the OS they where selling hardware.
    1. The Tivo line which is just what Rebel was a box with Linux inside.
    2. Cheapbytes.com keep in mind profitable does not mean huge.
    3. My consulting side job. I make a tidy profit using and giving away Linux.
    3. Sun with the whole qube thing.
    4. IBM with all the hardware with Linux on it that they sell.
    5. I would assume most of these people (http://www.linuxports.com/guide/consultants/)
    6. I have not looked in a while but I think Loki is also.
    You are right selling Linux is most likely not a good idea but selling hardware and servicing that hardware is a *very* good idea. The basic concept behind the Netwinder was not flawed. It would seem the implementation was though.
  • This one needs to be +5. The PC still works, people buy it, end of fucking story!
  • s/Claining/Claiming/;

    and a run-away link?

    Sheesh Michael, You'd think that Preview button is put into Slashcode for a reason.

  • Yeah, I can think of a few reasons too...

    Headquartered in la belle province
    Maintains factories in important ridings
    Gives money to the right party


    Let's face it, if it was a Calgary based corporation called "Snowmobengineering, Inc." they wouldn't have seen a dime (4.2 cents in American money)

    Hack into Tom Wappel's database on all Canadians and how they vote and who they support (which the government uses to decide who gets things like pensions and veterans' benefits, among other things) and see how Bombardier stacks up.

    Didn't they just hire Lucien Bouchard as some kind of mouthpiece? That's gotta be worth a few billion in kickbacks.
  • RE: Bombardier have survived and flourished as a major player in multiple engineering and design fields despite the reluctance of the Canadian government to infuse monies into a winning international corporation.

    What business does the government have subsidising businesses anyway? Seems to me that another potential Bombardier that was English speaking and didn't have the right Quebecois connections was probably taxed into the Canadian equivalent of Chapter 11 so that said cash could be handed in grants, gifts and golf-course style kick-backs to the company that was in the correct riding, speaking the correct language.

    And Canada wonders why its businesses don't do well. Perhaps cause you tax them to death to bestow handouts on uncompetitive businesses run by your friends. Oh, and by the way it also explains why the CBC sucks, the National Film Board sucks, national politics suck, the brain drain is accelerating and noone in Canada save the immigrants have any drive to do anything anymore.
  • You assume I'm Canadian living in Canada and voting in Canada. Wrong.
  • RE: It's remarks like that that undermine the success of Canada as a world leader in industry and commerce.

    Yeah, that Canada. A huge juggernaut economically, whoo-ee. But with an economy smaller than Indonesia's. By the way.

    RE: It is also a false statement. You would have readers believing that Canada does not subsidize (through investments)

    You meant to say TAXES. When's tax freedom day? July 15th? Work hard, young Canadian. We've got Quebecois and Atlantic Canadians to subsidise and tons and tons of HDRC and other Liberal slush funds to feed, never mind the shady loans to golf courses the PM part-owned.

    RE: other industries outside of Quebec. What about the oil and gas exploration industries (offshore and in the west),

    Ask Albertans how much they ended up seeing of that money once the NEP kicked into effect, coincidentally so Quebec and Ontario wouldn't be TOO overburdened paying market rates, and so Westerners wouldn't get any stupid ideas about being anything other than those that make the money so that Sucking Central can spend it.
  • Actually they ship their most talented people out to try and earn a real living in other countries. It's called the brain drain. Which officially doesn't exist. Mind you, 67% of every graduated Comp Sci class going IMMEDIATELY to the US of A would have some people worrying. That is, those who don't vote themselves a 42% pay raise in one year...
  • Oh, right, sorry. I forgot (consults Red Book) subsidies other countries make to their industries is UNFAIR, but those Canada makes to selected (read: vote the right way, in the right province) companies is just good public policy, levelling the playing field, right thing to do, no, I never owned no shares in no golf course, etc.
  • Reasons?

    Let's take the CBC. Ever watched any of its broadcasting? "CANADA: A History - long boring monologues featuring people in period costume ranting at the camera.". The Littlest Hobo. Katts and Dog. Yet Another Anne Murray/Bachman Turner Overdrive/Burton Cummings special. Cooking With Bruno Gerussi. How about some entertainment? Sorry, gotta reflect Canadian values. Right.

    And its reporting? "Coming up next: Stockwell Day: How this Christian will Ruin Canada. And after that: Our beloved PM, the tough little guy from Shawinigan, decisively crushed some upstarts. And after that, a panel phone-in show, where we'll subtly dig at right wingers the entire time and then slander everyone we feel like as unCanadian and the spawn of Satan. Coming up next season: Four doumentaries on the SAVIOUR OF CANADA Pierre Trudeau, and a rebroadcast of all 14 days coverage of his funeral."
  • No, I wouldn't. Giving tax money to companies doesn't make them competitive. It makes them bloated. Companies that work for what they want to achieve tend to make it. And note: if I tax company A to give money to company B in an effort to make it "more competitive", I bankrupt A, don't help B in any way whatsoever (it papers over its internal problems and has no incentive to improve), and end up screwing up the economy.

    Especially if said companies are given grants based on where they are located and the political connections they have.

    If I was "in charge" I would neither help the Ontarian nor the Quebecois business. It's up to the ECONOMY to decide. Whichever one is more competitive and the better company will win.
  • RE: The great thing about democracy is you get to pick and choose.

    If I was still living in Canada, would I still have the right to decide whether or not to be taxed more than 50% to pay for that leftie enclave? No. Thanks for playing. Nice try on the "you get to pick" thing.

    RE: Have you heard of Sturgeon's Law.

    Damn right - that's the one that says Bruno and Boots had better watch it.

    RE: Yes, I recognize some of those shows as week. (Although I don't think Bruno Gerussi's show has been on for over ten years. And this link I dug up makes it look like it would be more correct to characterize the Littlest Hobo as a CTV production.)

    I'll correct two typo's. You meant to say "weak" rather than "week" - and you meant to say "all" rather than "some".

    RE: As for the subtle digs at right wingers? You know what, if you talk to those on the lunatic fringe of the left they will tell you the CBC has a right wing bias.

    I think calling President Bush a "retard-executin' moron" or whatever that fat cow on This Hour Has 22 Minutes called him was overt. Ditto on the Stockwell Day quote unquote humour.

    RE: They will point out that between them CBC and CBC Newsworld has something like a dozen hours a week of business oriented programming -- but not one labour oriented show.

    And what would they discuss on this labour oriented show? "Work and how to avoid it?" "More pay for less work?" "French - how it can get you promotions you aren't entitled to?"
  • by BluedemonX (198949) on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:47AM (#87274)
    The government would have bailed them out with a couple of billion dollar grants *cough BOMBARDIER cough*
  • I second this - e-smith are way cool. If you ever need a quick NAT/Mail/Web server, check them out.
  • I'm sorry, but is anyone here actually surprised by this?...

    Nobody. That's what I thought.

    Linux is a lot of things. It's scalable, reliable, stable, and (perhaps) best of all, it's free, but Linux is NOT a commercial OS. What the hell were these guys thinking when they thought they would be able to take a FREE OS, give it away, and somehow become millionaires in the process. They must've been smoking some of that moderator crack. The whole situation reminds me of the underware gnomes on SouthPark.

    "Step One: Give away software.
    Step Two: .......
    Step Three: Profit!"

    I must admit that I was disappointed when the first of the Linux startups started going bellyup, but now it seems to be almost a weekly occurance. Christ, you'd think people would learn. Linux has it's uses but it is not some magical healing salve that will make you rich and handsome, and it should not be treated as such.

    And if you disagree, please include the name of ONE profitable Linux company in your reply.

  • */me dons asbestos underwear*

    Obviously you don't know too much about the article you just linked, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell the difference between pure, senseless FUD, and the grim truth.

    RedHat's ADJUSTED earnings were $600,000 on the positive side, however this number is hardly more than corporate ballyhooing from their PR department. Their actual numbers (the ones reported in their SEC filing), show that in Q1, 2001, the quarter in question, RedHat LOST 27.6 million on a total revenue of 25.6 million. That's astonishingly pathetic. RedHat has A LOT of venture capitol in the bank, and they'll be around for a while, but they are far from profitable. Get your facts straight, AC. Your blind alligence to anything Linux will only cause you trouble down the road.

  • Geomon (same applies to Squadboy):

    IBM?
    TIVO?
    Random Consulting firms?

    While those companies ARE profitable, and they DO use Linux as a portion of their business, I'd question your categorizing them as Linux companies. In my opinion, A Linux company is a company who SPECIALIZES in selling a Linux distro, supporting a Linux distro, or selling hardware specifically targetted at the Linux market (VA Linux).

    So, yes, IBM does sell boxen with Linux installed, but I REALLY don't think they would be considered a Linux company. Do you happen to know what percentage of IBM's revenue is related to Linux sales or support. I couldn't find a figure, but I'd be willing to bet it's fairly small percentage-wise.

    Tivo's use Linux. They also use a hard drive as a recording medium. Is Tivo a hard drive company?

    And I'm not going to even start on your comment about the hardware market being profitable. The hardware industry has some of the slimmest margins out there right now. There was a Slashdot article a couple of weeks ago about Compaq exiting the consumer hardware business due to market saturation and lack of profitibility. I'm too lazy to find it right now, but if you're interested here [slashdot.org].

  • Linux appliances don'

    Linux appliances don't seem to be the sure-sell that everyone thought they would be.

    Tivo...whats that?

  • My guess is probably all of them. Heck just today there is a story [theregister.co.uk] about a UK company making a 'cyber toilet' that is voice-activated and has autoflush features and - get this - has the ability to monitor stools and urine for potential health problems. If things are awry, it can contact your GP via the Internet.

    I thought the watches have been done by IBM, the PS2 I though also has been reported to run Linux (if not, it is sure to happen). Sprinklers and lawnmowers seem plausible in this world of screwed-up-business-plans-out-of-touch-with-realit y.

    And as for the dildo, that will happen if only because I bet guys like Katz and Taco would love to have an eighteen-inch dildo that doesn't run WinCE.

  • Doesn't someone have a paten on those little dashes on the toilet paper roll. You could run your toilet on linux but might have difficulties getting licenses for accessing other services in the bathroom.

    Maybe (TP role) could be replaced with a GPL version of (corn cob on a rope). I'm sure the paten is up on that device but get it out there quick before someone adds a handle and claims it.

  • Oh my god the spelling in the initial article--

    it's its being it's again...
    heaven almighty, what do you learn at school you people?!

    --
  • by lseltzer (311306)
    Tivo loses big money. Maybe they'll be profitable some day, but their losses are increasing.
  • by tb3 (313150) on Friday July 13, 2001 @07:53AM (#87284) Homepage
    There appears to be some misconceptions about what the Netwinder really was. It wasn't an end-user 'Internet Appliance', but rather a small, self-contained Linux box.

    From the FAQ [netwinder.org] on www.netwinder.org [netwinder.org]:

    The Corel Computer NetWinder Linux Computer is a high performance, compact RISC based machine equipped with a variety of networking, telephony, and multimedia peripherals.
    Based on the Intel StrongARM processor, clocked at 275 MHZ, the NetWinder uses the performance, and stability of the Linux Operating System to deliver over 250 MIPS of power, while drawing only 10 watts of power.
    There are two basic hardware choices, a plastic case and a rack mount. SCSI is available as an option on the rack mount. The OS (OfficeServer) and TC (Thin Client) models have depopulated boards, meaning certain hardware (such as video capture) is not normally included.
    It wasn't a information appliance for newbies, it was a small form-factor Linux server or thin-client.
  • The recent bail-out that you're referring to is a direct result of unfair subsidies to a Brazilian aerospace company which prevented Bombardier from competing fairly in international markets.

    They're just levelling the playing field, that's all.

  • for that matter. Quit confusing business mistakes with technologicall ones... AlexB And your mother too!
  • the CBC sucks, the National Film Board sucks...

    I should probably just ignore you, since you don't realize how not giving any reasons undermines your credibility.

    I love the CBC and the NFB. They produce very intelligent thoughtful stuff. So what is it that you watch that is so much better?

  • The great thing about democracy is you get to pick and choose. Have you heard of Sturgeon's Law. "Sure 90% of science fiction is shit. But 90% of anything is shit." Yes, I recognize some of those shows as week. (Although I don't think Bruno Gerussi's show has been on for over ten years. And this link I dug up makes it look like it would be more correct to characterize the Littlest Hobo as a CTV [tripod.com] production.)

    As for the subtle digs at right wingers? You know what, if you talk to those on the lunatic fringe of the left they will tell you the CBC has a right wing bias. They will point out that between them CBC and CBC Newsworld has something like a dozen hours a week of business oriented programming -- but not one labour oriented show.

  • I can't wait for linux to be ported to the following devices:
    • Toilets
    • Watches
    • Sprinklers
    • Lawn-mowers
    • My wife's eighteen inch black dildo
    • And my PS2 (cause that's be so useful)

    Okay, dildos aside, how many of those actually are going to happen?

    Okay, I'll run it down fer ya.
    • Toilets - hopefully never. They're mostly mechanical, a microprocessor wouldn't help, just mean that that expensive computer science degree will get you a job making toilets.
    • Watches - already done. IBM's got some working models that are actually fairly cool.
    • Sprinklers - could be done. Now putting an embedded system in a sprinkler head would be silly, but put that system in the controller and you can do cool things like download weather reports, monitor soil moisture, etc, to get the perfect lawn with the minimal amount of watering.
    • Lawn Mowers - again, could be done. Computerize the mower, and you can chill inside while the mower cuts the grass
    • Your wife's dildo - Not as silly as it sounds. Make the didlo an internet appliance and you can download sexual methods of the great porn stars onto your little friend.
    • Your PS2 - Done. It's just not widely circulated yet.

    Don't give me ideas here. I'm enough of an evil genius to actually determine a use for damn near anything.

    D - M - C - A

  • worked there.

    He said that too many people weren't doing jack, and that some middle management hacks were trying to build by stepping on others.

    And so it goes.

    Screw 3...

  • I wonder how many companies out there are saying "Rebel, isn't that the company that wanted to do a merger with us?

    "Boy, I'm glad that deal didn't go through."

    -mark

  • You've got to be kidding me. Have you never used a search engine or heard of these other products? Cobalt Velociraptor NetMAX FireWall Suite GnatBox GB-XXX SonicWALL Not to mention the 100 other ones. -mark
  • Isn't that a fact! The more companies keep paying the big bucks for consultants and listening to the fast-talking suits, the more it seals its fate. The story is the same universally.

    Companies need to realize that it's the big guy with the jeans and t-shirt that's crawling into tiny spaces to run wire and developing the scripts that run networks more efficiently that really earns the bucks for the bottom line. These are the guys the customers contact when there's a problem. They're not polish and shine, perhaps, but they know their shit.

    My husband is a network admin/scripter/programmer/etc/etc/etc with 18 yrs of experience and the ambition to keep-up-to-date with technology. When he heard his superiors say "the network runs itself", he knew the writing was on the wall. He moved on and got a very lucrative job where his skills and professionalism are appreciated and I'll give you two guesses what happened in his former company :P.
  • I can think of a few reasons why Quebec (and it should have been Canada) would subsidize Bombardier Inc.
    • Wholey owned Canadian company that has been in existence for 60+ years.
    • Design and engineering or snowmobiles, mass rapid transit systems and aerospace engineering.
    • Employs millions of people in Canada (not just in Quebec) and internationally.
    • Internationally known and respected as the undisputed leader in mass rapid transportation systems.
    • Did I mention wholey owned Canadian company?
    Bombardier have survived and flourished as a major player in multiple engineering and design fields despite the reluctance of the Canadian government to infuse monies into a winning international corporation. But then again, isn't that just the Canadian way? Alexander G. Bell couldn't get the Canadian gov't. to cough up investments bucks either. :P.
  • Taking money from other provinces and dumping it into Quebec is practically the official sport of the politicians up here...

    It's remarks like that that undermine the success of Canada as a world leader in industry and commerce. It is also a false statement. You would have readers believing that Canada does not subsidize (through investments) other industries outside of Quebec. What about the oil and gas exploration industries (offshore and in the west), the wheat industry (prairies), the fisheries (maritimes), the forestry industry (western), and probably even the technology industries throughout the country?

    Further, Bombardier has many joint ventures with industry throughout Canada and thus is not limited to only one province. They compete (and allow other Canadian firms to compete) favorably on International development projects.

    If ALL Canadians (inside and outside of Quebec) would support Canadian industy as a whole, we would have many more success stories like Bombardier. Comments like this scream of "reverse racism" and only serve to harm us all.
  • Good post ... btw Bombardier has a plant in Kingston Ontario too :).
  • Millions of People? Really? Why would you make up some crap to try and prove your point?

    D'oh .... think globally my friend. Do you really think they ship the workforce from Canada all around the world to work on their international projects?
  • And if you disagree, please include the name of ONE profitable Linux company in your reply.

    Redhat! :-P But I don't disagree. I think people are starting to figure out that planning and products are more important than buzzwords. Nasdaq's sure learning.

    On the other hand, I certainly don't buy the argument that open source is dead because companies can't profit the same way they have in the past. Linux has come a long way on volunteer efforts, and it'll keep going as long as people are interested. Anything else is icing.

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