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Linux Business Security

TSL Is Dead, Long Live TSL 107

Posted by timothy
from the by-any-other-name dept.
Masta writes "Trustix AS, the company behind Trustix Secure Linux filed for bankruptcy on monday. Erlend Midttun and Christian Toldnes, two former employees of Trustix AS and the main developers behind Trustix Secure Linux, founded a new company, named Tawie Technologies AS. They continue the work on TSL, under the new name Tawie Server Linux. All former volunteers and contributors declared their support for the new distribution, so 'TSL is dead, long live TSL.'"
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TSL Is Dead, Long Live TSL

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  • by another misanthrope (688068) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:41AM (#7102518)
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Trustix Secure Linux: The future is secured

    Founding father of Trustix Secure Linux, Erlend Midttun, along with Trustix Secure Linux developer, Christian Toldnes now offers development, maintenance and support for community and commercial customers from the newly started company - Tawie Technologies AS.

    Trondheim, Norway - 1st October 2003 - Erlend Midttun, a seasoned UNIX and Linux system administrator and the creator of the Trustix Secure Linux distibution, along with Trustix Secure Linux developer Christian Toldnes, founded Tawie Technologies AS as a means to provide full support and services around the Linux operating system in general, and the Tawie Server Linux product in particular.

    Erlend Midttun says: "The community and several commercial customers needed someone to guarantee the future of the Trustix Secure Linux product. This move ensures the customers and the community that the future of Trustix Secure Linux is secured. The name of the product is also changed to Tawie Server Linux, to reflect and state what the product is and to avoid any conflicts with trademark ownership. The product will continue to be developed under the GPL".

    Tawie Technologies AS not only employs Erlend Midttun, experienced security and software engineer Christian Toldnes was also part of the founding duo. Christian is the current maintainer of SWUP, the automatic software update tool for Tawie Server Linux (TSL).

    Christian was instrumental to the release of TSL 2.0 this summer, and says: "We have received several reports of TSL 2.0 installations in several 30+ server environments. Serving Windows and UNIX users, primary DNS, web and e-mail services in Europe, Americas and Asia. Systems administrators rely on the stability and security of TSL, and our move to Tawie Technologies AS now gives us the time and security we need to focus on TSL".

    Tawie Server Linux 2.0 provides full cross upgrades from Trustix Secure Linux 2.0. The details for doing this is provided on the Tawie Technologies webpage.

    ABOUT Tawie Technologies AS Tawie Technologies AS was founded in 2003 and provides consultancy and service contracts for the Tawie Server Linux. Services are provided world wide, with a wide range of support options available.

    For more information about Tawie Technologies AS, see http://www.tawie.com

    ABOUT TAWIE SERVER LINUX Tawie Server Linux is a Linux distribution targeted at companies, of all sizes, in need of a low footprint and high security server operating system. Tawie Server Linux includes the open standards based SoftWare UPdater, SWUP, which keeps all software packages up-to-date, resolves library dependancies and integrates public key cryptography to ensure safety and security.

    For more information about Tawie Server Linux, see http://www.tawie.net/

    PRESS CONTACTS: Jo Uthus,

    Linux is trademark Linus Torvalds All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
    • TSL? TSR? How many folks did a double take on that? I know I did. Hmmm. I thought TSR had "died for our sins" long ago.
  • OSS Business model (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Interruach (680347) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:41AM (#7102525) Journal
    If lots of OSS companies start going bust then starting up again, will that shake investor confidence in the other companies (eg, redhat) even though their business model may be sound?
    • Probably not. Look at the world of small business. People start businesses all the time. Sometimes they fail. These same people will start another business.
      It is no reflection on other established businesses.
      • Indeed, some investors won't even look twice at an Entrepreneur until he's had at least on good failure. Investors know the new ventures are a crapshoot. They want to invest in someone who is going to get back on the horse after it throws him or her.

        Anyone who wants a sure bet should stick to stuffing money in a bank account. Mattresses don't accrue interest. For every other investment avenue there is inherent risk. Stocks dive. Bankrupt companies don't pay back bonds. Real-estate is a giant game of hot-p

    • Don't think so. Redhat for instance has strong support by important hard- and software vendors. And that's because a lot of people within the major companies recognize the strong points of Linux.

      Right now the OSS companies are still experimenting with different business models. The mere fact that one company the size of Trustix goes bankrupt only shows that the companies still have a lot to learn. But they will succeed in the end.

    • Normally, the brand (in this case, "Trustix") is an important asset when a bankrupcy is declared.

      The concept of rebranding the distribution to the new company will probably make some lawyers scratch their heads for a while.

      However, most of Trustix' products are standard software (standard as in "you pay for the software but you actually only have a license to use it, blablabla" - just like in the Windoze world), and these products still belong to the bancrupt Trustix and will be part of the assets potenti

    • If they see it as a Linux vs. rest of the world, then yes. If they see it as an internal shake-down in the Linux market, no. Then the others have managed to drive a competitor out of business, proving their products, services or solutions superior. (Ok in real world it's not that clear-cut with marketing, FUD, public perception etc., but that's the general idea).

      Quite frankly, with the number of distributions competing for the Linux market (yeah yeah, I know they compete in different markets, but do the in
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @08:48AM (#7102557)
    Its good to see Open Source show its strengths like this. In any other development model, TSL would have died and been sold off in small peices, no longer much use to anyone. TSL is a valuable player in the Linux distribution markets, and many people would be sad to see it go, not to mention, unable to find a suitable replacement! For those that do not know, TSL has a large range of innovative features, many of them innovative even in the Linux market space where innovation is always abundent (Just look at KDE, or Gnome!)

    However, one thing still bothers me. Apparently, it is O.K to spend cash like water, rip of your creditors and declare bankruptcy, and then just do a little paperwork and carry on as before? These people have no shame, and the "volunteers" who continue to support these shucksters are fools for trusting a bunch of people who are demonstrated themselves to be crooks. The Government should investigate this immediatly, and freeze the assests of this so-called "new" company until the previous creditors have been paid off in full. Personally I feel it is high time we brough back debtors prison for amoralistic scam artists such as these.
    • I agree wholeheartedly with you on this. How can a company declare bankruptcy, and then the ppl involved with that company start a new company and continue on as usual without any repercussions?
    • by tyldis (712367) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:00AM (#7102641)
      However, one thing still bothers me. Apparently, it is O.K to spend cash like water, rip of your creditors and declare bankruptcy, and then just do a little paperwork and carry on as before? These people have no shame, and the "volunteers" who continue to support these shucksters are fools for trusting a bunch of people who are demonstrated themselves to be crooks. The Government should investigate this immediatly, and freeze the assests of this so-called "new" company until the previous creditors have been paid off in full. Personally I feel it is high time we brough back debtors prison for amoralistic scam artists such as these.

      If you are referring to Trustix and TSL you are wrong. TSL was one of the products Trustix had (they had so many they went bankrupt). Only the two main men behind the Linux distribution went on to form a new company to support the distro they developed. It is not 'same shit, new wrapping', it is a completely new company with no other relation to Trustix than that they were emplyed there at one point.

      • It is not 'same shit, new wrapping', it is a completely new company with no other relation to Trustix than that they were emplyed there at one point.

        Pity the headline and blurb didn't explain that. You summed it up in as much text, but made it clear.

        but, whatever.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Do some research. Trustix wasn't a linux distribution company. They made and sold a closed source firewall package for linux. Trustix linux was largely an offshot of their main business and was never used to generate revenue. So their real product, which is what has value, has gone to the creditors as it should.
    • However, one thing still bothers me. Apparently, it is O.K to spend cash like water, rip of your creditors and declare bankruptcy, and then just do a little paperwork and carry on as before?

      Depends. First, this is the whole idea of having a "business", "company" or whatever: You invest in something, but have a fixed amount of money to loose, because you can go bankrupt and start all over. When you start a bussiness, you can be sure, that if the business goes down, you will typically loose money, but it wi
      • The greater impact of this, is that lenders and bond holders and stock holders will be less likely to invest in open source projects, because they know if it goes under, there is nothig to recover.

      • Thus, at any time, the value of the "intellectual property" contained within the open-source company is effectively zero.

        Apart from the value of brands/trademarks, this is true. That however is not a reson for investors to avoid investing in open source / Free Software companies. Every investor who knows what he's doing will estimate the risks of the various investments (at least how big the worst-case loss is), and the investor will diversify in order to avoid as far as possible the possibility of unac

    • by christht (712369) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:15AM (#7102745)
      What bothers you would bother me too. If it where true that is.

      Erlend Midttun and I have only been working as developers for Trustix AS, and solely with the open source project TSL. I got laid off the 25 of juli this year, and have been working with the distribution as a volunteer since then. So has Erlend.

      We are two developers wanting work with what we love. I'm sorry to experience the consequences of bad managment, and hope we will do better with the support services we offer, than the Trustix AS management did with their commercial products.

      Erlend and I have started the new firm with our own savings, and hope it will bring a solid future for the TSL development. We might loose, but please don't compare us with the old owners / managment of Trustix AS.

      I just wanted to set things straight. :)

      • First of all: Lykke til!

        Second: Didn't your mother teach you never to ruin a perfectly good discussion with facts, of worse, first hand knowledge? Stop reading Slashdot and get back to running your company!

        Third: According to the Trustix web site, Jo Uthus is/was still VP [trustix.com] of product marketing, yet you've just (according to the press release above) hired him for the new company. That validates the comparison between the companies. Why would he do a better job for the new company than for the old?

    • What innovations has TSL made? I'm genuinely curious, and you didn't list any examples of what you are referring to.
    • In any other development model, TSL would have died and been sold off in small peices, no longer much use to anyone.

      You mean, "no longer much use to anyone who couldn't afford the purchase price", right? Or, do you really believe that when one company buys part (or all) of another company's assets they don't expect to get anything of worth out of the deal?

    • Personally I feel it is high time we brough back debtors prison for amoralistic scam artists such as these.

      Yeah, and for those that default on there Credit Card payments and those that have been victims of ID theft, but the Finance Industry would rather right it off as "Credit Loss."

      And lets not forget those that are late on those college loans. Those are half way "educated" people that need to be watched before they get ideas into there head.
  • I use it for all my small linux machines.

    Very streamlined, very well supported (I'm gonna start donating so they will have a little more $incentive$) and just plain small.

    A great project!
  • by jagilbertvt (447707) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @09:01AM (#7102645)
    1. Start new company
    2. Create Product
    3. Declare Bankruptcy
    4. Start new company selling product made by previous company!
    5. Profit!
    6. Rinse and Repeat!
  • So the answer to #2 in:

    1. Make Linux distro.
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    was "declare bankrupcy." Please tell me, how do I invest in this new startup?
  • Sad... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by DrFlex (711207)
    This is truly sadening to see an OSS company with a functionnal and viable product go down.

    Looking at it from the business perspective, does that mean that there was no demand for the product? Or is the business model that is not viable??? I vote for the second option. Open Source is nice on paper but it struggles in a world driven by profit margins.

    It kinda ressembles the Church business model. Have faith and contribute... Some have faith and will contribute. Some have faith but need some proof to be
  • Main rule for business:
    You won't succeed if there is a well established, cheaper, reliable Competitor (OpenBSD) out there.

    But at least they can truthfully blame Theo for their failure.
    • You won't succeed in business if there is a well established, cheaper, reliable Competitor [sic] out there.

      Explain Microsoft again to me then? Bottled water? 93 Octane gasoline?

      • Explain Microsoft again to me then?

        Simple, they were there first. Altair BASIC was their first product, and one of the first commercial products available for microcomputers. By the time IBM wanted an OS for their "PC", Microsoft was firmly established.

        • We're forgetting CP/M aren't we?
          • According to this page [sbcglobal.net], MS released their Altair Basic in 1975, while CP/M wasn't released until 1977. The IBM PC wasn't released until 1981.

            By the time IBM developed their PC, both DEC and Microsoft were already firmly established companies. For whatever reason, IBM chose Microsoft to develop an OS for their PC, and the rest is history. I wonder if there's a parallel dimension where DEC won that contract, and an updated, graphical version of CP/M rules the market? ;)

      • Explain Microsoft again to me then?

        Unholy business practice [ubersoft.net]? (I'm only half joking)

        Bottled water?

        Snobbery? Plus, the tap water at some locations is simply a no-go. Blame it on the local purification authorities or the pipes or whatever. The fact that bottled water is more expensive that a can of coke, however, always baffled me. Do the really ship it from some mountain in Switzerland or wherever?

        93 Octane gasoline?

        You got me there. I always use 91, since I didn't see a performance difference
      • Explain Microsoft again to me then? Bottled water? 93 Octane gasoline?

        Ha!

        The answer to all three is marketing.

        Many bottled waters just come from the tap in a different city. I have lived in a very few areas where the tap water tastes awful or just has a very high mineral content. By and large, however, tap water is just fine and is no healthier than bottled water.

        Where Octane is concerned, consumers believe that higher is better, as with so many other things. Despite studies [consumerreports.org] that reliably show

      • 93 octane gasoline isn't out there because it is 'cool'. It is out there because some engines are built with high compression and require a higher anti-knock index (the amount that you can compress the vapor before it spontaneously ignites).

        The idea that a lot of people have, that the 93 is 'more powerful' or in some other way better, is a myth that is perpetuated by oil companies. Indeed many have been sued over advertisements that implies that 93 will boost your engine in some way, when in reality 93
        • 93 octane gasoline isn't out there because it is 'cool'. It is out there because some engines are built with high compression and require a higher anti-knock index (the amount that you can compress the vapor before it spontaneously ignites).

          You're obviously an American. I believe the 93 octane comment was made by a European, where 93 octane is the LOWEST normal octane rating available, comparable to 87 octane in the US.
          Thus, your comment is exactly the wrong way around -- still valid, but not relevant

          • Look at the original comment again; The poster is an american, as he is pointing out 3 things for which there are cheaper, equally reliable solutions that are not more successful.

            He was trying to point out 'vanity' products: Microsoft (not cheaper or more reliable that some other server solutions) bottled water (often tap water from somewhere, but it's IN A BOTTLE == fancy) and 93 octane (marketing exists, as I mention, that touts it a more powerful).
            • He was trying to point out 'vanity' products: Microsoft (not cheaper or more reliable that some other server solutions) bottled water (often tap water from somewhere, but it's IN A BOTTLE == fancy) and 93 octane (marketing exists, as I mention, that touts it a more powerful).

              Ah. I saw it the exactly other way around:
              Microsoft, as inferior when it comes to operating systems; bottled water not measuring up to draft beer; and 93 octane not being "super".
              Anyhow, we're way off topic here :-)

              Regards,
              --
              *Art

          • For clarification, I am an American. And the point I was making was that for most cars 93 octane (the way we measure it here) is a waste of money. If any car has a funky octane requirement, it's usually that it needs 89 instead of 87. (Read your manual, YMMV).

            My point is basically that the competition for different grades of gas are right there in front of the consumer. While I have owned cars that needed the 89 octane, 93 is for weird vehicles or folks intent on spending an extra $0.20 a gallon. (About $

  • You can't kill it, not even with armies or nuclear weapons. Despite moving slowly and ploggingly, it somehow overtakes those perky coeds. It's created by lone inventors working at late hours. It has strange power that allow it to do the seemingly impossible. It does not destroy out of passion or design, it just so happens that civilization was in its road.
  • Warning: didn't read article, just the post.

    Isn't this unethical behaviour. They obviously have debts, i.e. creditors. The creditors get nothing, but the same company has basically started again. These sort of phoenix companies are dangerous to investors and consumers. And when consumers get burnt there is an outrage.

    What is different here, except you guys think they are the good guys?
    • Those people aren't the owners of the previous company. They are just former employees who start a new company with their own savings.
      • "Founding father of Trustix Secure Linux, Erlend Midttun"

        from the press release
        • "Founding father of Trustix Secure Linux, Erlend Midttun"
          Yes. Note the difference between "Founding father of Trustix Secure Linux" and "Founding father of Trustix AS". "Trustix AS" is the company, and was started by someone else. "Trustix Secure Linux" was one of the products, and I was the employee in charge of it.

          Erlend..
    • So basically what you're saying is; if your company goes down the drain, you should no be allowed to do business ever again?

      I look at it this way; maybe a bankrupcy taught you a thing or two, so that you wont make the same mistakes again.

      Of course if one person goes bankrupt again and again and again there should be some controlling means, but I would also say there is something wrong with investors who repeatedly bet money on a notorious bankrupcy filer.
      • No one of the important ideas of a company is (i forget the economics term) limitation of liability. You don't lose your house because of a company going under. Thats important for corporations.

        But phoenix companies, those that go under with debts and immediately start again are dangerous for consumers and future creditors. The guy was the founder of the previous company.

        If the old business wasn't profitable and had enough debts to be bankrupt. Why is pretty much the same business going to be better n
        • The guy was the founder of the previous company.

          "Founding father of Trustix Secure Linux" (the linux distro) does not equal "Founding father of Trustix" (the company). (Apologies to Erlend if I have my facts wrong.)

          IIRC, Trustix basically used TSL as an underlying open source platform for several other commercial products. I.e. "Let's sell an easily configured [insert service here] on a Linux box. Hmm, what distro to chose? Let's make our own." So TSL was a by-product of the original company, AFAIK. Ki

    • Isn't this unethical behaviour. They obviously have debts, i.e. creditors. The creditors get nothing, but the same company has basically started again. [snip] What is different here, except you guys think they are the good guys?

      What's different is that it's NOT the same company. Check out in this discussion where one of the two people creating the new companycomments [slashdot.org] on the situation.

      The company that went bankrupt (Trustix AS [trustix.com]) had many products. The two people supporting what was Trustix Linux used

  • Anybody know what package system TSL uses?

    I looked around their website, but couldn't find anything on it. If it's dpkg, then maybe I'll have a go at it.

    • Re:Package system? (Score:2, Informative)

      by masta79 (712349)
      It's using RPM. For normal maintaince there is a tool called swup (SoftWare UPdater), which brings your system up-to-date or installs packages via ftp/http.
  • As a tree grows, the weaker branches need to be trimmed. The weak perish so that the strong may survive. Not ethical when it comes to people, but when it comes to business its both ethical and true.
  • I've always loved The Singing Latvians. Rest in peace my friends.
  • Not the same old company. Two developers started a NEW company. The old company is still bankrupt.

  • bubble burst. (Score:2, Insightful)

    soo Linux companies can be scummy shady outfits too it seems.

    Obviously their business plan failed, they stuck all the debt and liability with the old company while putting all the assets into the new company and sank the debt into bankrupcy.

    look for the new company to be wallowing in debt struggling to survive in a year or two due to the same people making the same mistakes again.

    investors should avoid this company like the plague, when times get hard they will just abandon you again.
  • At least that's where my mind was this! Let's go wheelin'...
  • So a couple of Developrs started a company making some cool stuff. However the company went under, obviously because not enough other people thought it was cool stuff. BUT these two people are able to get another business loan and/or fund the SAME business AGAIN? Um... Maybe i'm just a fan of successful business practices, but if your business goes under, I wouldn't start another one doing the SAME thing...

  • They didn't have to change the logos on their polo shirts!
  • Although the employees of the new company will own anything that they create from here on in, they do NOT own the copyright in their old code (unless the employer left it with them initially). Under the GPL, this doesn't create that much of an issue, other than the fact that if someone tries to steal the code, it would be the responsibility of the bankrupt company to sue for the copyright violation on any old code that they own the copyright to.

    Not a big issue, but worth noting.

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