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Love Says Caldera's Doing Fine, Despite Losses 120

sanpitch writes: "Caldera is barely scraping along, (in contrast to little brother Lineo, which may not survive). Their latest move is to close the Chelmsford and Erlangen offices, as well as lay off 73." At least not Noel Coward writes: "The bad financial report out of Caldera yesterday is actually good news, says Ransom Love in an interview on Linux and Main. Now, he says, they're ready to go forward with their grand strategy, which unfortunately has nothing at all to do with desktop Linux as we know it."
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Love Says Caldera's Doing Fine, Despite Losses

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  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Friday May 10, 2002 @06:19AM (#3495627) Homepage Journal
    First: Love Says Caldera's Doing Fine
    then.. Caldera is barely scraping along. Those statements are mutually exclusive.

    (in contrast to little brother Lineo, which may not survive)

    In contrast to? If Caldera are 'barely scraping along' then surely they might not survive either.

    The bad financial report out of Caldera yesterday is actually good news

    That makes absolutely no sense.

    This story sounds like a giant spoof. Noel Coward.. (of "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun" fame?).. And 'Ransom Love'? Eh?

    Is Slashdot trying to be The Onion of tech stories? If so, do your homework, this is only funny because of how stupid it is.
    • First: Love Says Caldera's Doing Fine then.. Caldera is barely scraping along. Those statements are mutually exclusive.

      Well, I suppose if you work for VA Something, "barely scraping along" and a stock price that's only down 80% sound pretty solid. Compared to "Well, we gave up on the Themes.org guys doing anything useful, so we moved all their stuff to Freshmeat."

      The bad financial report out of Caldera yesterday is actually good news That makes absolutely no sense.

      Well, what he actually said was that the downturns in the financials were the result of reducing and focusing that will lead to long-term profitability. Not that I actually believe that, but it's not out of the realm of logic.

      By the way, what's up with modding down the guy who mentioned Katz's appearance on Letterman tonight [cbs.com]? It's the most interesting comment to this story. I see I missed Tony Hawk on the show last night -- ironically because I was busy playing his game instead of checking what was on TV.

    • The bad financial report out of Caldera yesterday is actually good news

      That makes absolutely no sense.

      Read the article, not the /. blurb! Love never made any such statment in the article. Timothy botched the recap. The closest statement that I can pick out which may correspond to what Sanpitch was trying to summarize was:

      Ransom Love: I hate to take a negative and entirely make it into a positive, but in reality some of it is just the ongoing work of streamlining the business, and, frankly, we're making tremendous progress there.

      Translation: "I really hate sounding like I'm full of s**t, but one of my responsibilities as CEO is to put a positive spin on "screwing the pooch". So I'm going to put the blame the negative quarter on restructuring and streamlining, and we did such a tremendous job, it can only get better from this point."

      (Rant: I submit a wonderful article on how IIS grew market share at the height of the "Code Red" contagion, and it gets rejected. Meanwhile, drivel from the CEO of a non-player in the Linux world is given the front page. *rrrrrr*)

  • To use Love's term, they are "streamlining" their business.

    They may find themselves streamlined out of business soon.
    • To use Love's term, they are "streamlining" their business.
      After I was let go, a startup I worked for put out a press release that announced they lost the last of their installations and that they were "downsizing."

      To which I thought, "Yeah, 'Downsizing.' Meaning 'We're getting rid of those pesky customers.'" They went bankrupt shortly thereafter.
  • Caldera is dying.
  • I'd be more worried about

    "its chief technology officer, Drew Spencer, and chief legal counsel, Harrison Colter, have left the company"

    Is this a rats jumping a sinking ship or somehow just bad timing?
    • You know, it's possible that they were part of the layoff. Caldera did drop 73 people, after all. Upper management isn't necessarily immune to cuts.

      If people really want to figure out this puzzle, look to see if Caldera replaces Drew Spencer and Harrison Colter. If not, they were part of the cut. If Caldera hires a new CTO and a new chief legal counsel, then it's safe to conclude that Drew and Harrison quit unexpectely.

      Don't jump to conclusions.
  • I know that this post may start a large discussion, but I just absolutely feel like saying something. Caldera was definitely in the game a few years ago, but the momentum which they had has been usurped by RedHat and some other distros. Caldera is now a large company which will soon be a small one. It seems that the main reason that Caldera is hurting right now is they simply lack vision. Love talks about selling to server-side clients and Unix clients, but it seems that this focus has changed from his mentioned graphical install and the desktop presence of Linux, something which he once thought that Linux could achieve. This interview shouldn't have taken place. If he doesn't have a business plan, he should do something about it or step down and find someone who can get a vision for Caldera. The last thing we need is to hear of another Linux company which isn't on the ball. Especially with the successes of new releases of OpenOffice, KDE, Mozilla, WineX, etc. (although WineX could arguably be a failure for Linux strategically).

    I've got 40 strong reasons why Linux will have a powerful desktop presence in the near future and Microsoft is running scared, and Caldera needs to wake up and stop trying to market to the wrong target. And no, I'm not biased about Linux, I've just done my research. I'm prepared to remain in the top of the software industry no matter what curve balls come my way.


    • I've got 40 strong reasons why Linux will have a powerful desktop presence in the near future and Microsoft is running scared,

      Care to list them?

      • I've got 40 strong reasons why Linux will have a powerful desktop presence in the near future and Microsoft is running scared, ---Care to list them?

        I think he was hoping that you would guess what they were (they're not too hard to figure out, right?). Teach a man how to chew gum, he'll chew for a day. Teach a man how to scrape gum off things, he'll chew for a lifetime - anonymous.

        • I think he was hoping that you would guess what they were (they're not too hard to figure out, right?).

          I must be really slow today, I didn't see a list of 40 or any reference to 40 anything elsewhere in the thread. <shrug>

    • Re:sad.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vorpal22 ( 114901 )
      I've got 40 strong reasons why Linux will have a powerful desktop presence in the near future and Microsoft is running scared

      Linux fanatics have been saying this for a *number* of years now. I got into Linux three years ago and used it exclusively. Every issue of Linux Magazine and Linux Journal that was released at the time sang the success stories of Linux, and how mainstream Linux adoption was just around the corner.

      Well, it's three years later, and Linux still only appeals to a very small subset of computer users.

      I think Linux had its chance to make it big when the stock market hype was building up around it. Unfortunately, it missed this chance by being unusable by the average person as a desktop OS, and a financially unsound choice to build companies or business strategies around (*cough* Corel *cough* *cough*).

      Linux will, of course, never die. But I don't suspect that we will we see a significantly huge increase in the Linux userbase.

      Especially now, with the arrival of Mac OS X - many Linux users, tired of waging constant (and unproductive) sysadmin war, switched when OS X was released *raises hand*. Hopefully someone will release a well-supported (in terms of both industry-standard software and hardware) UNIX variant for PCs with a consistent user interface experience. As far as I'm concerned, Linux doesn't cut it here. Linux offers choice, which is good when you're knowledgeable enough to make those kind of decisions. But the average Joe Blow doesn't want 30 different GUIs on his computer.
      • Re:sad.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by x mani x ( 21412 )
        Your points would all be valid if Linux was primarily a desktop OS, like MacOS 9 or Windows 9x.

        The truth is, not many people aside from enthusiasts, students, software developers or sysadmins use Linux on the desktop. I personally always used to develop software on Linux since 1996. I recently switched to using Windows XP with Cygwin, using XEmacs/Win and the MSVC++ 6.0 debugger as my development environment. (IMHO!!) It beats using XEmacs and ddd (or gdb) hands down.

        All that aside, walk into any server room and you'll see Linux _everywhere_. Admins can set up servers to their heart's content without having to worry about getting audited for it. Most IT managers by now have realized the TCO advantage of going with Linux/*BSD, and if they don't go Linux/*BSD its because general cluelessness (this is a major problem among IT managers) of political reasons.

        For smaller shops going for a Dell or IBM Linux server is almost a no-brainer. For bigger Sun Enterprise-using shops, they're phasing out their older servers with these shiny Dell and IBM rackmounts as well. While Sunfire servers are still pretty much unmatched, IBM's Linux on Big Iron hardware must be scaring the shit out of Sun.

        All this is just the tip of the iceberg, in my opinion. I haven't even mentioned how fast Linux servers are quietly eroding MS Exchange and MS file/print serving marketshare.

        So, yes, Linux is years behind in terms of desktop useability ... but the truth is not many people really care. The server market is where the real money is at, anyway.

        • *Agreed completely*.

          I wouldn't consider using any MS product on a computer that was designated to be a server - I'd definitely reach for OpenBSD, FreeBSD, or Linux in this case.

          I wasn't arguing this at all, however. Please go back and read my post - I was addressing a comment made by the initial poster regarding the viability of Linux as a significant desktop presence.
    • I've got 40 strong reasons why Linux will have a powerful desktop presence

      Funny, I can only think of one: Open Office (/Star Office). Then again, I can only think of one reason why M$ have a strong desktop presence: MS Office. I mean, seriously, everything else has a non MS equivalent which is better. But in terms of a proprietary standard which everyone has to have, its MS Office. Just for Word alone they dominate the market.

      Even MS know this - I can't see them issuing a version of MS office for Linux until they are facing a real risk of a minority share of the office market. Which is why they have never issued a version of office for Linux.

      As for the rest, well. Photo editing? GIMP, PSP, Photoshop. Whatever. If you are a professional you may want all three. Video editing? Get an iMac now. And so on. But office dominates, and will continue to do so for a long while, at least in terms of file formats.

      Having said all of that, I'm incredibly impressed with the open office stuff. Its great on Linux, but its probably even better for having a win 32 version. I can think of a heap of computers that I could install that on. Its version 1.0, it will still lose out feature wise with MS office, but from what I can see of it, most end users won't care for what it doesn't have.

      By MS own figures, over 90% of feature requests for the next version of office are already implemented in the current version - most users have no idea of how to use even a fraction of the features. Thus, most users will like open office, and its good enough now to use now, even though it doesn't come close to the full feature set of MS office. And I don't doubt that version 2 will become very threatening to MS.

      Anyway, 'nuff said - my 2c worth

      • Though, MS Office helps that's not the only reason for MS presence on the desktop market. If it was only for MS Office than a lot more people would be using Macs. Especially since the new iMac line came out and with the presence of MS Office for OS X. MS Office on Macs have been better than the Windows Counterparts for a while now.

        I'll just take the small-medium sized business arena. Here there's a huge amount of niche market applications that only run Windows platforms. For instance AutoCAD is the defacto standard for 2d/3d drafting/design software here. When a company needs a more powerful alternative they switch to a few Unix machines as that's the platform that most of the heavy 3d analysis and structural modeling software run on.

        Then there's all the specific software that is used to actually manage and support a company with. Most of the software here runs on Windows as well. This software is generally expensive enough and if there does happen to alternatives then it's either Windows based to or Unix based and a lot more costly.

        For this Linux developers need to focus on providing software that can be used by these niche markets. There also needs to be a way to present developers currently in these markets a feasible way develop Linux versions of software and have a business model that will keep them in business.
    • Re:sad.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Master Bait ( 115103 )
      I've got 40 strong reasons why Linux will have a powerful desktop presence in the near future...

      Hmmm. let's see...

      1. Computing in the third world (see Peru)
      2. IBM
      3. Sun
      4. SGI
      5. KDE evolving
      6. Samba evolving
      7. XFree86 evolving
      8. Kernel evolving
      9. GCC evolving
      10. Glibc evolving
      11. Ximian and Mono
      12. Suse
      13. Mandrake
      14. Use of LFS as compsci education subject
      15. Microsoft's licensing strategy
      16. Microsoft's security problems
      17. BSA's anti-pirating strategies
      18. Political pressure on governments to adopt open source (see Bundestag)
      19. 64-bit x86, Linux already ready
      20. Growth of Internet surfing
      21. Cheap all-in-one motherboards --> ressurection of the Xterminal
      22. Cheap VIA C1 low-power CPU
      23. Continued growth of number of developers in open source projects
      24. People's Republic of China and Red Flag Linux
      25. the superior 'po' internationalization system
      26. Mozilla
      27. OpenOffice
      28. Lyx
      29. DECSS and xv
      30. 359 Database front-end projects on Freshmeat
      31. 3071 multimedia projects on Freshmeat
      32. 708 Office/Business projects on Freshmeat
      33. 1531 Desktop Environment projects on Freshmeat
      34. 1408 Games/Entertainment projects on Freshmeat
      35. Xwindow drivers for most AGP video cards
      36. Alsa sound system included in 2.5 series kernel
      37. OpenGL
      38. Crossover et. al.
      39. WINE
      40. VNC
      41. Steve Ballmer
  • by cigarky ( 89075 ) on Friday May 10, 2002 @07:15AM (#3495713)
    Ransom and Caldera have always been rather "offbeat" members of the Linux community. I see no problems with them further withdrawing from the community into the proprietary software world - which is where I think Love is planning to take them. This recent spate of business "writing off" or "taking" losses is in part due to the Enron scandal. No company wants to be seen as hiding losses which might be discovered by the SEC, plantiff lawyers for shareholders' lawsuits, etc.. So no surprise as many other companies are rushing to confess losses.
  • Caldera... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Qwerpafw ( 315600 )
    Apparently their strategy is to copy what IBM did with OS/2. Brilliant.
    LaM: So your desktop interest would be in the areas that, for instance, IBM pursued with OS/2 [...]

    Love: No question there.
    This could be bad news. Very bad news.
  • *growl* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <ememalb AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 10, 2002 @07:33AM (#3495744) Homepage Journal
    The bad financial report is actually good news. Yeah, good in a sense they can MAYBE show a little profit, or atleast a decline in losses. However, (comma) it is never a good thing to put a "happy" statement right next to the statement that says how many people they are laying off...remonds me of my former employer:

  • They share and make illegal copies of all their music, they steal bandwidth. Man! Will they stop at nothing?

    I would hate to hear someone say that. We don't need more reasons to enforce crazy laws!
  • The more sunshine management spreads around, the more likely rain is in the forcast.
  • Title. (Score:4, Funny)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Friday May 10, 2002 @08:07AM (#3495833) Homepage
    Love Says Caldera's Doing Fine

    That sounds like the beginning to a really dreadful country song.

    • So I guess when we get to the point where his girlfriend leaves, takes all his beer, drives off with his pickup truck and runs over his dog we know Caldera is REALLY going down?
    • That sounds like the beginning to a really dreadful country song.

      In that sentence, isn't "really dreadful" redundant? Or are you implying there are other types of country songs besides dreadful ones? :o)
  • Frankly ;) my current opinion on Caldera is not very flattering. Frankly, I do not know anything concrete about them, I just have the image, that they have tried to knock multiple doors to enter the desktop. Now, I read that they are not aiming to hit the desktop. Frankly, I do not have any hunch on why buy something from Caldera.... I just think that they decided to choose "business customers" to have better change to survive only by effective lobbying and no realworld evidence.

    I have not used any time to find out what Caldera really is, or wants to be, but this is what they have been able to communicate to me so far - not very convincing. By looking at their financial figures I assume they have been able to communicate the same image to others as well.

    Redhat, instead, might not be "that" different, but they have been able to create an image, that they are thriving to do something concrete and something that might become beneficial - Caldera just is - atleast for now.
  • Conectiva [conectiva.com.br] announced [conectiva.com.br] this week that it's going to sell Caldera products here in Brazil.

    Use the fish [altavista.com], luke.
    • <off-topic>Hiya Eliphas. LTNS.</off-topic> Let me just add something to your post...

      Conectiva will not only be selling Caldera products in Brazil. It will be taking over the whole Caldera operation on Latin America, including consulting and support works. I was not mentioned on the PR, but I think it also include SCO and friends.

  • Don't think Caldera ever supported desktop Linux. For Caldera, RedHat, VA I.O.U. it was a brief experiment. Caldera and RedHat went embedded and VA I.O.U. dissappeared.

  • Caldera OpenLinux was my first Linux distro a few years ago. It really helped me get started; it had a graphical install, which was a novelty at the time (complete with a game, Tetris, I believe) and a great manual to help you get going with KDE. Without Caldera, I probably would have never gotten into Linux. Now years later, Caldera makes you buy per seat licenses (!) for OpenLinux, has a slow development cycle and it seems to ignore GNOME completely. Other disstros have passed it by in the ease of installation and use. Sad.
    • It was my first too. I used Caldera Network Desktop. All I have left from it is the thin mouse pad.

      I loaded OpenLinux 3.1.1 last week to see the latest. It is OK but nothing to get excited about. Before someone buys a product there has to be a reason to do so. A product needs differentiation beyond a free mouse pad.

      Caldera was special once, a leader. They seem to have devoted much effort and money making their way to the Linux fringe with one disastrous decision after another.

      Does this company have a Board of Directors? When are they going to do something?
  • by talon77 ( 410766 )
    Caldera bought SCO, and thus has a HUGE Unix market share... they will not be going anywhere.
  • Am i the only one who uses Caldera? Its always gave me what i needed, with much less fuss then the others.. More geared to business users...

    True they have given little back to the community lately, but is that a crime, or just someting to be frowned apon?
  • Don't know much about Caldera's Linux, but Ransom Love is an idiot. Anyone else remember when he said he has done more for Free Software than RMS? Ummm.....yeah. In the immortal words of Dr. Forrseter to TV's Frank: "that's an interesting world you've created for yourself there..."
  • Now *that* comes as no big surprise. We tried to use the Moreton Bay (I guess they're called "Snap" now) line of NAT gateways but the prices kept going UP. When we could buy NAT gateways for less than $100 and these things were going past $250 we could no longer justify recommending them even though their use of Linux made them easier to admin (from our standpoint).

    What do we do now? We use freeSCO on salvaged 486 boxes with no hard drives unless we need a full blown firewall... then we install SuSE 8.0 and use their firewall and/or netfilter. We've also not fallen for the $1,000 linux-based "firewall" distributions which license 10 or 20 internal IP addresses... hell, we can build the entire firewall for less than that and have unlimited internal IPs.

    In my opinion (which is worth every nickel you've paid for it) the Linux-based companies are still struggling to find a profitable niche. Except for companies like ours, which simply design and build working solutions using open-source tools on an individual basis. We don't have "products", we just go in, solve their problems and leave. Oddly enough, they're happy to pay us to do that.
    • I was a beta tester of some of Moreton Bay's dedicated firewall gear (later Lineo, now Snapgear), and it's VERY GOOD stuff. Alas, their $250+ prices just cannot compete with a (technically somewhat inferior, but still adequate) $99 D-Link or Netgear unit. Granted, the low-end D-Link doesn't have remote logging or VPN capabilities, but it's really, really hard even for a dedicated Linux advocate like me to pony up 2.5 times the price for functionality I don't use. I like and respect the Moreton/Lineo/Snapgear folks, but they have a really rough price point problem.
  • As a caldera stockholder and previous beta tester, I've been a caldera fan for a long time. When they were involved heavily in the desktop arena, they had the best distribution without-a-doubt. They pioneered so many things which are common to our distributions today, like the graphical installation (no more boot/root disks!), the automatic update utilities, and they even created WebMin.

    However, they're in bad shape now. Their stock price was hovering around 1.00 a few months ago and so they decided to do a reverse stock split 4-1. Yup, I've now got 4x less shares, and guess what the stock price is? It's a 1.02 as of this morning! Now, they've chased out all of the institutional investors because the float isn't even large enough to allow for large share blocks. I don't know what that management team is doing, but they had better get their act together quickly.

    Once predicted a few years back by Linux Journal as being 1 of the 3 linux companies that would make it through the dot-com burst and software buzz (the other two being redhat and va linux), I'm starting to have my doubts.

  • 1) How did Ransom Love get a name like that?

    2) If I change my name to a powerful name of that sort, will I be more successful in life?
  • Well, from a very close and trusted source, Caldera just closed their division that built the product they (used to) sell !

    So, what's next ?

    Maybe try to have a stock value higher than $1 when a year ago it was in the range of $10 and used to be even much higher...

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.