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Andover.Net and VA Linux Join Together 276

As you may have heard, VA Linux and Andover.Net are gonna be joining up. We thought it would be dishonest not to say something about it, but as you probably understand, we're sorta restricted in what we can say. Of course, you can say whatever you want, and you can read the press release if you're curious about some of the details. Creative control of Slashdot will remain where it always has been.
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Andover.Net and VA Linux Join Together

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  • i just want to know when RedHat and VA will merge :)
  • by jonathansen ( 68749 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:48AM (#1308858)
    It sounded more like an acquistion of Andover, to me.
  • Hmmm, so what is the focused market going to be? Selling hardware with a linux distro with netscape on it that by default points to slashdot {:-)

    In all seriousness, good luck guys, the more big companies we have on our side, the more market clout we all have for Linux!

  • You guys are like the Jeffersons, movin' on up!
  • Wow, if your servers ever poop out on you, there ain't *no* excuse good enough! :)
  • by Romen ( 10819 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:49AM (#1308863) Homepage
    Linux Daily News [lwn.net] had Slashdot scooped on this issue by more than an hour, and I submitted this half an hour ago. It was promply rejected. I sort of wonder why Slashdot is now the last news source to get anything, even when it's about them.
  • by ruud ( 7631 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:49AM (#1308865) Homepage
    How does this affect the server51 [freshmeat.net] (Andover) and sourceforge [sourceforge.net] (VA) projects, since they both appear to have similar goals?
  • Glad I held on to some of my VA stock, considering what mergers tend to do to stock prices. :)
    "If ignorance is bliss, may I never be happy.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:50AM (#1308867)
    Sorta puts that postponed Larry Augustin interview into a new light, eh?

    BTW, you are opening yourselves to a lot of jokes by saying "Creative control...remains where it's always been".
    Java banners:
    Bad for users because Java kills Netscape
  • Does this mean you will give away workstations now? :)
  • by dougman ( 908 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:53AM (#1308872)
    First, I like the idea of Andover and VA Linux marrying. Both companies seem to be to be of the rare breed that "get it", and seem to do the right thing in almost all circumstances.

    I'm wondering how this would affect the potential for Slashdot in the future to on it's own, or in partnerships, expand into other subject areas with its brand of site design and format. Granted, with the emergence of the open source Slash engine and PHPSlash, dozens of Slashlings are sprouting up everywhere (my own site included).

    I guess I was just thinking at some point down the road that a "portal" or "index" of Slash-based sites covering a wide array of subject areas would emerge, either under the direct auspices of SlashDot, or some other party...I'm not sure how this acquisition would affect that scenario, tho.

    Either way, I'm not disaffected. I think it's a great merger and I can't wait to see the results of the open Slash engines on the 'net.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:53AM (#1308873)
    Creative control of Slashdot will remain where it always has been.

    With the auto-posting perl scripts?

  • Quite frankly I was surprised that I read about this hours ago on CNNfn before any notice ever appeared here. I even submitted a story [cnnfn.com] to get it reported here.

    The critical question remains - does the editorial control agreement that Rob and Jeff have with Andover transfer intact to VA?
  • Mergers don't always do good things to stock prices. have you been watching the AOL stock plunge after the Time-Warner merger?
  • It can be found here [zdnet.com].
  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:55AM (#1308878) Homepage
    -- Consolidate the complementary networks of VA (including Linux.com, Sourceforge.net, and Themes.org) and Andover.Net (including Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net) to create the Internet's leading destination for Open Source developers, with nearly two-thirds of the total traffic of major Open Source sites and putting the combined network in the top 100 web destinations worldwide;

    Oh boy, here it comes. All this is well and good, but how does it affect /.? This is not intended as flamebait but I think that since Andover bought /. The quality has gone downhill, mostly due to the increased traffic which also increases the trolls and the fray. When VA Linux takes over I'm curious how the flavor of /. Will change. Will added participation and content value come through more participation (on a massive scale)? Will the /. model change, part of what make slashdot so successful is the simplicity of the model. Time will tell, but I think that VA will add bureocracy and overhead to the site and change it in a way that takes it furthur from what has made it so great.

    Never knock on Death's door:

  • Makes sense to marry the linux.com domain with the top Linux content and community sites.

    Congratulations all around.

  • Well I don't mind saying I'm delighted VA Linux is
    going to be the senior partner in this arangement.
    No offence to the slashdot folk or the freshmeat
    guys (guy?) - I'm just pleased to see the 'heavy hitters' of Linux
    content under the banner of a company thats proved
    itself capable of more than just buying other people.
    Congrats to slashdot for making andover buyable :)
  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:57AM (#1308884) Homepage
    But of course you're now going to have to fire Jon Katz, because now you're one of those big media conglomerates... ;-)

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • I am concerned that creative control will remain where it has always been (since the Andover takeover)... in the not-so-capable hands of Andover.Net Editor-In-Chief, Robin "Roblimo" Miller. (Anyone for an article on "how to pick up chicks"?) VA has done a good job with Linux.Com, etc... hopefully this will "raise the bar" as far as Slashdot is concerned. I know this is almost cliche now, but I remember the *old* Slashdot... *sigh*.
  • by Duxup ( 72775 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:58AM (#1308886) Homepage
    So I'm at VA's site and I see the following press release titled:
    "VA Linux to Acquire Andover.Net in Most Significant Transaction in Linux History"
    I can't help but giggle a little at the hype. I appreciate that this important to me and allot of other /. users but the tittle just seems to imply allot more than there is to it. I'm trying to picture Mr. T (Linus) and such people running around calling people saying "Oh my god! This is 'Most Significant Transaction in Linux History'"
    Sometimes corporate hype is just too darned funny to take seriously.
  • by Frank Sullivan ( 2391 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @05:58AM (#1308887) Homepage
    Creative control stays
    with Anonymous Cowards,
    Natalie Portman

  • So what the hell does a hardware company need with a company that provides content? Why does VA think it can run Andover better than Andover? Do VA's shareholders benefit from this?

    (Note, these are all rhetorical questions... the answer is, simply, that "Internet companies" have higher stock multiples, and VA will get a nice bump in their stock price with this).
  • Is anyone else disturbed by this conglomeration of power? Andover has already bought most of the good Linux sites. VA Linux is busy sucking up the others, as well as other random companies. If Red Hat merges with VA someday, won't all our eggs be in one basket?
  • by luge ( 4808 ) <slashdot&tieguy,org> on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:00AM (#1308890) Homepage
    Frankly, I'd been occasionally worried about Andover's direction and commitment to free software, but I absolutely trust VA and their commitment, so in that sense I welcome VA's involvement. It also seems that since VA is getting so heavily into the media side of things themselves, this match makes a lot of sense and will reduce the squandering of resources by the movement as a whole. (server51 and sourceforge really just seemed like good ideas that didn't need to be competing against each other.)
    Good luck, Rob- I remember the days when I contemplated getting some CD's through your links so you'd get some spare change from CDNow. Glad to see things have changed for you all.
  • "Andover.Net and VA are a perfect match," said Bruce Twickler, CEO of Andover.Net. "We both believe in the future of Open Source. We both believe that live software communities on the Net are more important than packages that ship once every three years and companies that simply intermediate between developers and users."

    Back the ethics truck up for a minute. I believe that Twickler and Augustin believe in the profit stemming from the future of open source. They are profit modivated period. That's their job, they have to make money for the investors and the bankers.

    Never knock on Death's door:

  • by donfede ( 6215 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:00AM (#1308892) Homepage
    Rob and others at slashdot. I (and so far the other posts) are happy for your success...

    But, regardless of the fact that you state "Creative control of Slashdot will remain where it always has been"... I find it difficult to believe that slashdot can really remain as independant as it was (especially when it was completely self run). I (and surely many others) come to slashdot because of the independant perspective presented by the editors and next by the readers. The quality/independance of the editors has already gone down since the andover purchase, I fear what will happen now that slashdot it owned by valinux...


  • I'd guess they'll merge right after all the better distributions go away... :)

    --From the makers of lumpy linux

  • When does SlashDot IPO? I want to buy stock. Pretty please?

    Bad Mojo
  • by mochaone ( 59034 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:01AM (#1308895)
    but I think that since Andover bought /. The quality has gone downhill, mostly due to the increased traffic which also increases the trolls and the fray

    I disagree. I think it's fashionable to wax nostalgic once something loses its "newness" or feeling of exclusivity. All I know is I keep coming back here 20 times a day to see what's going on becuase Slashdot does it better than any other site I know. Let's give them credit for working very hard to handle the explosive growth. They're working very hard and, in my estimation, getting better all the time.

  • by dieman ( 4814 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:02AM (#1308896) Homepage
    Everyone knows this is all about server51. sourceforge.org is to become the nexus of opensource... With server51 in the picture, they saw an opportunity where there could be competition, not cooperation. I think that the server51 dudes and sourceforge dudes will be hooked up and all will be good.

    I dont think server51 had the hardware resources VA had. Just think.... the sourceforgenetwork. A whole ton of "mini" sourceforges that differ in setup and stuff like that. Heh.. perhaps not

    Perhaps there will be skinning of sourceforge :)

    Have a good one out to Andover and VA.

  • yes indeed:

    The transaction is expected to be completed during VA Linux Systems' third fiscal quarter and will be accounted for as a purchase.
  • They have now 50 percent of Linux destinations?

    Hope these guys aren't going for the monopoly-price?

  • Maybe because they're biased to the point that they don't report negative news about themselves (only about Linux related information).

    Ars Technica seems to be much better at providing computer-related news now, and their site is cleaner too. I'm considering switching permanantly to them.
  • Granted some important stuff is missed and comes much too slow and has been getting somewhat worse here. However I think an hour is pretty acceptable. If everything came up within a day of when the news broke I'd be quite content.
  • Andover always struck me as a company that saw Linux as a money-making opportunity, and Rob's comments about their occasional early attempt to influence his content only affirmed that.
    VA, on the other hand, has always done the right thing by the community, and since it has always been a Linux company (unlike Andover, who were a failing "tech" company before /.) I think it's commitment is much more genuine. I can't imagine that they'd burden Rob with anything he doesn't want or need- Larry Augustin used to post here, ages and ages ago- he knows what this site is about.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:03AM (#1308902)
    "...we're sorta restricted in what we can say..."

    "Creative control will remain where it's always been."
    Java banners:
    Bad for users because Java kills Netscape
  • by BenHmm ( 90784 ) <[moc.yelsremmahneb] [ta] [neb]> on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:03AM (#1308903) Homepage
    you're not making sense...how does the ownership of a site make any difference when the site itself is created by its users.

    I don't want to denigrate the good Cmdr, Hemos et al, but their role is actually quite limited to keeping the thing running...it's the users that make the content. VA linux - or anyone else -can't change any of that.

    If the quality has gone downhill because of increased traffic, that isn't because andover is driving the traffic here - just that slashdot is good, and people just want to come along and join in.

  • Maybe they've seen how much space /. devotes to all things Linux? Maybe /. should replace its tagline: "News for Linux Geeks. Stuff that matters (to Linux Geeks)."?

    VA could point to /. and call it a Linux discussion site.

    BTW, shouldn't ./ be a .com now, instead of an .org?

    George Lee

  • Perhaps more participation will not be a bad thing. I forsee a future in which the existing section structure of /. is more strongly emphasised. If people only read (and commented on) those sections that interested them, the signal-to-noise ratio should go back up.
    To break things up like this requires a certail critical size of readership as a whole, to ensure that the current lively discussion continues in each of the various sections. Pulling in VA customers/associates might push things over the line.

  • by Fat Cow ( 13247 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:05AM (#1308906)
    "-- Consolidate the complementary networks of VA (including Linux.com,
    Sourceforge.net, and Themes.org) and Andover.Net (including
    Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net) to create the Internet's leading
    destination for Open Source developers"

    they will consolidate, if they do what they say in the press release

  • Rob is on the Andover Board of Directors. (See the SEC filings.) I think they call him "Mr. Malda". So don't worry too much.

  • Creative control of Slashdot will remain where it always has been.

    With the trained chimps and grits boy?

  • by doodzed ( 35795 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:08AM (#1308913) Homepage
    >>First, I like the idea of Andover and VA Linux >>marrying. Both companies seem to be to be of the >>rare breed that "get it", and seem to do the >>right thing in almost all circumstances.

    I met most of the VA crew including Larry a few years ago and was impressed. They do get it. Both the business and the linux side.

    They are the only company who I would buy an assembled computer from. They do it right. The machines that we bought from them run 100% stable and have never given us problems. They are not alway the cheapest, but the quality AND support we got was worth it.

    On the personal side they were doing linux before it became fashionable. They also tend to know what is going on in the community. Recently they have been hiring like mad, snagging developers(ie. Raster and Mandrake) like crazy. Not all of these guys are as high profile, but a lot of them are really important. Few other companies contribute as much as them even though they are not a software house.
  • "Consolidate the complementary networks of VA (including Linux.com, Sourceforge.net, and Themes.org) and Andover.Net (including Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net) to create the Internet's leading destination for Open Source developers, with nearly two-thirds of the total traffic of major Open Source sites and putting the combined network in the top 100 web destinations worldwide."

    This means that one source is controlling 2/3 of all Open Source web pages! No one else hearing alarm bells ringing? It is really important to have no monopoly in the media, especially in this case where Open Source is going to have a strongly increasing influence on society.

  • Had it been the other way-round, (slashdot scooped others by an hour) what would we say then?

    Well, looky! Slashdot is already the PR mouthpeice of VA and Andover! What happened to journalistic integrity and independance?

  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:12AM (#1308921) Homepage Journal
    From my brief look at Server 51, SourceForge is lightyears ahead in terms of functionality - I don't think there is much question as to which will be folded into which!


  • This can only be good news.

    IMHO Andover has done crap with the money earned from their IPO while companies like RedHat and VA Linux have taken their money and put it to good use.

    This makes me happy, andover hasn't made a penny while VA was in the black when they went public. Obviously Andover is getting the sweet end of the stick on this deal.

    As for creative control.. I think the Tacos of this {/. world} might be in for a shock when they suddenly are required to take some stock in the words they publish. I somehow do not feel VA-Linux-in-charge would stand so quietly over something like the /. "interview" and the severe disrespect towards the /. community's very basic and simple questions.

    Great news to hear... It can only mean more for /. with VA Linux in the picture.

    They are a threat to free speech and must be silenced! - Andrea Chen
  • by dave_aiello ( 9791 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:13AM (#1308926) Homepage
    I have to admit that I didn't understand what VA Linux meant when they said that they wanted to expand into Linux-oriented services. I originally thought that they would roll out services that supported their hardware business. Now, I see that they mean to provide services to support OpenSource development. This means that VA has undergone a pretty amazing transformation. Does this mean that the hardware end of the company is less strategically important than it was yesterday?

    I think that their track record of support for major Open Source projects ensures that the Slash Engine will continue to be a strong project. I'm not sure what this will mean for the project that is called Area 51. It will be interesting to see how SourceForge and Freshmeat interact.

    In any case, I think a combined VA-Andover has a tremendous supply of proven talent. They have the people in place to create a lot of new and interesting software and Web Sites. I think it will be interesting to see whether the majority of these people will stick around, or if they will leave, as many did when RedHat bought Cygnus.


    Dave Aiello

  • by 348 ( 124012 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:13AM (#1308927) Homepage
    "This acquisition moves VA Linux forward on the path to being the biggest name in Linux and Open Source,"

    This is flatly not true. If they wanted the biggest name in the Linux and Open Source community, they should have gone for:

    V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A L-I-N-U-X
    V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A L-I-N-U-X
    A-N-D-O-V-E-R-D-O-T-N-E-T A W-H-O-L-E-L-Y O-W-N-E-D S-U-B-S-I-D-I-I-A-R-Y O-F V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A L-I-N-U-X I-N-C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-E-D
    A-N-D-O-V-E-R-D-O-T-N-E-T A W-H-O-L-E-L-Y O-W-N-E-D S-U-B-S-I-D-I-I-A-R-Y O-F V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A L-I-N-U-X I-N-C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-E-D
    Or, A-N-D-O-V-E-R-D-O-T-N-E-T A W-H-O-L-E-L-Y O-W-N-E-D S-U-B-S-I-D-I-I-A-R-Y O-F V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A- L-I-N-U-X I-N-C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-E-D, O-W-N-E-R-S O-F S-L-A-S-H-D-O-T
    Or better yet,
    A-N-D-O-V-E-R-D-O-T-N-E-T A W-H-O-L-E-L-Y O-W-N-E-D S-U-B-S-I-D-I-I-A-R-Y O-F V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A- L-I-N-U-X I-N-C-O-R-P-O-R-A-T-E-D, O-W-N-E-R-S O-F S-L-A-S-H-D-O-T

    Never knock on Death's door:

  • I've been seeing little comments about this all over /. all morning and I wasn't surprised that they didn't break the story.

    Think of it this way. This is a story that's going to affect Hemos, Taco, et al in a big way and their presentation of it is probably a lot more important than their presentation of other stories in that they will see a lot more criticism for this one. I would imagine that they all sat down at a big table in the geek compound for a couple of hours this morning sipping blueberry squishies and talking this out. It's no surprise that it took a while.

  • Actually I first read of this deal a few minutes before 7 AM EST (more than two and a half hours before /. posted it) on the ANDN message board over at Yahoo. I'm sure there are many, many stockholders of both ANDN and LNUX that read /. first thing in the morning that would have liked to know this news prior to the market opening. According to the VA press release, this was the "most significant transaction in Linux history" yet the leading site for Linux news and information is scooped by the entire Internet. VA's own press release was up for at least a half hour before /. posted the news, surely something could have been said earlier.
  • I'm not really financially-oriented, so could someone please explain what happens to Andover shareholders?

    They get .425 VA Linux shares per Andover share, but then the press release mentioned something about cash payments?
  • Can anyone suggest why VA is accounting for this as a purchase? I heard that many de facto buy-outs are accounted for as a "pooling of assets", because then it doesn't go on the books as an expense for the purchaser. Have the rules for this kind of thing been tightened recently, or does VA have some advantage in accounting for this as a purchase?
    "But, Mulder, the new millennium doesn't begin until January 2001."
  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @06:17AM (#1308935) Homepage Journal
    The more I think about it, the more I would like a story queue and moderation of stories. I think there is a lot of news for nerds that doesn't get reported on slashdot because it is good but not great, or because there are a dozen better stories that day.

    On days that I'm really bored at work, I'd like to be able to read 50 news for nerds stories, but on days when I'm busy, I'd like to be able to see just the cream of the crop, maybe 5 or so.

    More stories! Moderate stories!Threshhold for stories!

  • I think that since Andover bought /. The quality has gone downhill, mostly due to the increased traffic which also increases the trolls
    I almost agree, except that is it anything to do with Andover? Wouldn't that increase in traffic have happened anyway?
    Stop Lights Timed For 35mph Are Also Timed for 70mph.
    17.5mph, surely, not 70mph? But that's not such a useful observation... :)
  • My _guess_ is that they don't really want to make money right now. From the little I remember of my Accounting 101 class, companies have several years to prove they can make a profit. It is therefore to their advantage to _avoid_ a profit for the first few years, avoid paying taxes on any income, and build their business up. This of course will have to change within the next two or three years, but for now, they are tax-free.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, please...
  • They will be combined into a new service, to be called sourceserverforge51, which will list itself as "alien technology AND not alien technology".

    The new company will be releasing their new auto-acquisition system "Andover va linux server, now!" sometime in the 2nd quarter.

    In related news, reports of flying disks around Roswell, New Mexico, and the sight of a large number of men in tuxedos and dark glasses was hotly denied by an air-force official in a penguin suit, who claimed that Freshmeat's maintainers weren't even in the area at the time.

  • Ars Technica seems to be much better at providing computer-related news now, and their site is cleaner too. I'm considering switching permanantly
    to them.

    Or you could just surf both regularly, most ISPs allow this.

  • Also becuase Andover's stock has benn on a one-way downhill slope since it opened. It was only a matter of time before it slipped below the opening amount.

    Now VA has all of these properties and the people at Andover (incl /.) are rich again.

    I guess we can look forward to lots of anti-VA stories being posted now. Riiiight.
  • How will it affect Freshmeat [freshmeat.net] (owned by Andover) and LinuxApps [linuxapps.com] (a 'partner' of linux.com, owned by VA)?

  • Since when is this negative news? I think this is good news, it creates a solid OS/FS front. Even stronger than they used to be, so this is good news!

    I like /. a lot and it's still easy to ignore the articles/comments I don't want to read. Guess we won't see you much around anymore and I can't really say I'm sorry because I really don't care.


  • Not really. I try to get news from a variety of sources. I admit to having Slashdot as my homepage at home and work, but I try to keep up with Linux, Open Source/Free Software, and general computing news from other sources. The internet is large enough to find a lot of information in different forms and with different perpectives.

    I think the very nature of our community prevents a centralist monopoly of information. If we freely share one set of ideas (code), we also freely share other ideas as a consequence. Any one company trying to do this is going to alienate the one thing that makes our community different. That's us. The people who use Linux, FreeBSD etc do so because it works, and they have the freedom to use it. These people already reject the centralist view by not using the software of our favourite monopoly. They'll have no problem rejecting a monopoly of information like this, and starting new news sources.

    Colin Scott

  • Funny. For most companies, the Slashdot users (and you personally may or may not be this way) get all antsy with mergers. Witness the talks over the AOL/Time Warner merger. Now there is going to be lots of backslapping and high fives.

    -- Consolidate the complementary networks of VA (including Linux.com, Sourceforge.net, and Themes.org) and Andover.Net (including Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net) to create the Internet's leading destination for Open Source developers, with nearly two-thirds of the total traffic of major Open Source sites and putting the combined network in the top 100 web destinations worldwide;

    Two thirds of the total open source traffic, discussion, and news will be 'owned' by one company?? This doesn't concern anyone? Sure, CT can claim that he will maintain control, but I'd love to see his contract proving that. Money changes things and people.

    This article [slashdot.org] seems to indicate that advertising is already cropping up as editorial content. How different is this 'story' from this one [slashdot.org]? Sure, it might be nice to make notice of the live broadcast, but mentioning The Sync both times seems a bit inappropriate.

    Now, before getting flamed and moderated, let me explain one thing: I'll give the Slashdot gang the benefit of the doubt. Most of them are younger than me by a couple of years, and I know I'm not fully baked. But I expect they'll have to learn fast. Just as important as actually maintaining independent editorial control (there was a story a few days back that mentioned someone trying to get andover to force a story, but CT et al. said no.) is maintaining the appearance of objectivity.

    To that end, perhaps the main page needs to be redesigned with an announcements section that concerns /. specifically. Similarly, if they are going to get help or pay for services for other companies, and they feel these companies deserve mention, put that in a 'supporter' slashbox. It should be a small thing, and would go a long way towards assuaging my concerns.

  • Pooling of interest is a "dirty word" in the M&A market at the moment. The SEC and other regulatory agencies have cracked down on it due to how it distorts the balance sheet and earnings per share. Of course, if both acquirer and acquired are both gushing losses and investors don't care, there's no need to piss off the regulators as well -- Pooling of interest has no advantages in that case. Regardless, pooling can only be done when you have a merger of equals. In this case, VA Linux is significantly larger, at about $5 BN in market cap. Therefore, it can only be accounted for as a purchase.
  • You are correct, the rules have changed for this, in the last quarter or two (maybe the end of 1999). It's much harder if not impossible for companies to account for mergers as a pooling rather than purchase.
  • So you actually enjoy the idea that the "biggest network of opensource/linux advocacy sites" is going to be owned by the largest sole distributor of Linux systems?

    Talk about slanting the tables a little!

    If Microsoft tried to buy ZDNET, everyone here would cry foul.

    If Apple tried to buy MacWeek and MacWorld from ZDnet, again, everyone would cry foul.

    If Sun went and bought performance computer, AGAIN, everyone would cry foul.

    But, if VA Linux buys Andover.net, it's a *good thing*?!?

    Wake up, guys!
  • Does anyone actually know what the deal is between sourceforge.net and server51.com (freshmeat.net)? Will they exist next to eachother, or on top of eachother?

    Kinda scary, don't you agree? One omnipotent ruler in OSS-land...

  • I finally own a piece of slashdot... :-)

    New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

  • The way I read the announcement, this is a good thing for the shareholders of both companies and is an indication that VA Linux is doing well as well as the fact that Andover.Net is an attractice company to purchase. I am also happy because I have confidence that VA Linux will let Andover.Net continue to do the things that I think everyone reading this appreciates. The combined company will have a bit more weight to throw around as well and will be better able to weather shifts in the marketplace because of a broader base of services.

    Okay, enough hype. All of what I've said may be and probably is true. But I am still concerned. Can VA Linux manage the rate of growth that has come with it's success? And as other people have pointed out here, as open source companies merge, are they bigger competitors or more centralized targets?

    As long as viable new players with new ideas keep springing up and creating niches for themselves and the big players don't forget what makes their reputation in the open source community, I don't think I'll worry. If we end up with one behemoth as the only corporate player in the open source world, then I will suspect a problem. Not because that company got big; I hope that VA Linux and Redhat continue to grow. But any market that isn't spawning new ideas is dying.

    So my message to the open source companies is simple. Stay young and alive for as long as you possibly can. It's more fun and you'll have the support of a lot more open source developers. Don't grow at the expense of who you are. This merger has every sign of being the right direction.
  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @07:01AM (#1308983) Journal
    That's GOOD?!?

    From now on, Slashdot, which has been actively covering every twist and turn with Redhat's and VA Linux's stock (which I personally got rather sick of) may need to stop and VA story when it comes time to announce earnings?

    This is BAD BAD BAD! Why can't many people see that?

    You get angry when AOL buys time/warner because they'll monoplize consumer content on the internet, and rejoice when ANDN takes over most of the good site and then gets bought by VA Linux, who will now oww 50%+ of the real Linux related sites.

    Short sited.
  • What, pray tell, would be a larger transaction? It's skewed in the fact that the History of Linux isn't particularly long (esp when mixed with the word "transaction"), but I can't remember a bigger one. It's just PR speak anyway, filter it before you process it.
  • I wrote an essay about what makes Slashdot popular, and I'm willing to send it to you (plain text, of course). Just email me and ask me about "Slashdot's Edge."

  • by Evro ( 18923 ) <evandhoffman@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday February 03, 2000 @07:14AM (#1308992) Homepage Journal
    I thought the reason you guys (Rob & Jeff) decided to be bought (or whatever the technical term is) by Andover was because it wasn't a Linux company, so it wouldn't seem like you would be losing any partiality. I realize you guys and VA have been buddies for a long time (IIRC, most of Slashdot runs on VA Hardware, bought through the barter system [they get free ads, you get free hardware]... right?), plus, Rob's (one of) the webmaster(s) (or some dang thing) for Linux.com, which they own. So VA and Andover were probably already pretty chummy... but what prompted this? I.e., why?

    I don't know what you all are allowed to say, what with SEC restrictions and all that kinda stuff, but (how) will this affect Slashdot? Will we get even more editors (like the advent of Roblimo when Andover took over)?

    I'm just guessing, but I assume Mr. Malda is pretty high on the Andover totem pole. What's going to be his new position at VA Linux, or is he going to remain at his current position inside Andover?

    I think the Andover aquisition was a Good Thing, and VA seems like a nice company, so I guess this will also be a Good Thing. Then again, you know how the Open Source Community(tm) feels about monopolies...

    Any info from higher-ups would be appreciated... and if you can't say anything, then say that you can't say anything! Otherwise I will have hurt feelings...
    • Andover always struck me as a company that saw Linux as a money-making opportunity, and Rob's comments about their occasional early attempt to influence his content only affirmed that.

      VA, on the other hand, has always done the right thing by the community, and since it has always been a Linux company (unlike Andover, who were a failing "tech" company before /.) ...

    VA is not just a money-making opportunity? It could be argued that now it's VA that is the failing "tech" company. They've still failed to produce a profit, right?

    Weren't you even a little concerned about Larry Augustin's answers in the recent Slashdot interview [slashdot.org]. He appeared to dodge at least one pointed question about lack of support for AMD processors and it's relationship to Intel's investment in VA. But, read the whole thing, he sure comes off as a businessman interested in making money first and foremost. In fact, the publicly traded nature of VA probably requires a fudiciary responsibility on Augustin's part to try and make money. Nothing wrong with this. I'm just pointing this out to you as you seem to believe differently.

    I think clues to the motivation for this merger can be found in this interesting article [upside.com].

    Disclaimer: I work for Compaq. I have absolutely NOTHING to do with PC or PC Server sales marketing, support or service. However, I do work for Compaq. Compaq DOES view itself as a direct competitor to VA, so take this into account when reading the above.

    For the record, Compaq is a company concerned primarily with making money. I don't deny it and I'm not casting aspersions in the direction of VA Linux for also being such a company.

    -Jordan Henderson

  • by Howard Roark ( 13208 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @07:20AM (#1308997)
    While I like both VA Linux and Andover.Net, this is not a good thing for Linux consumers. Did anybody besides me notice that once Andover.Net took control of Slashdot that the ads for Copyleft disappeared and were replaced by ThinkGeek (which is owned by Andover). Now that VA Linux owns Slashdot what are the chances that we will ever see another ad for SGI or Penguin Computing?
    Howard Roark, Architect
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @07:24AM (#1309002) Homepage
    Okay, I'm all for shameless capitalism, but...

    It seems to me that having a major community hubs like Slashdot and Freshmeat owned by a parent media company was bad enough. Having them owned by a particular producer of Linux products is downright scary. I'm sure that Rob & Co. will argue that content won't be effected. While they might believe this, I sort of doubt the reality of the claim.

    Bear with me here: It figures that Slashdot and Freshmeat are the main portals for Linux information. Therefore, they are the prime ground for advertising by Linux-related companies (especially OEMs). How many Penguin Computing or Indybox ads are we going to see here when VA is fully entrenched? They might not vanish outright, but smart money says that VA will slowly muscle them out.

    Not allowing (or rather, making it difficult for) other OEMs to post up their banner ads is just as bad as if VA imposed editorial restrictions. It also makes perfect sense from a business point of view to keep your competitors from advertising on your channels -- how many ABC superbowl ads did you see on FOX?

    I hope I'm wrong. It could be that the people at VA are more idealistic than the average business types. Even so, management can change -- this cloud will forever hang over Slashdot, Freshmeat and any other major community site which ever gets aquired by a large company.


  • This means that one source is controlling 2/3 of all Open Source web pages!

    Start your own. No one here will stop you. It's what Rob and Jeff [slashdot.org] did, it's what Scoop [freshmeat.net] did, it's what Joe P. [linuxtoday.com] did, it's what the guys behind Themes.org [themes.org] did. Hey, even Bruce [technocrat.net] did it, and he had some money already.

    Unless VA or Andover somehow make it so that people can't visit my site [wgz.org], I won't worry.


  • ... if the Slash source hadn't been opened. As it is, if we feel that /. is compromised by their affiliation(s), and that compromise is disturbing enough, we can go start our own "FreeDot" or something.

    I'm willing, now that /. has 'put up', to stick with these guys and their little website that could. I probably would have even if the source hadn't been released, but I would have had agita about it.

    This is also an important reminder to those of you who _weren't_ whinging about the source release: you don't get something unless you ask for it, and you need to call bullshit when you smell it, that's the true rationalist way (no hypocrisy permitted at all, strict and harsh self-editing must be imposed).. You don't have to be a flaming dick about it, but a polite reminder as needed is a _good_ thing, don't forget that.

    Your Working Boy,
  • I know that in open source this is not a big concern (as far as it's continued existence is concerned) but, does this trouble anyone else?

    The interconnection of huge companies is one thing, as long as there are alternatives. But mindshare is another concern. I suspect that VA Sys is caught up in the mega-merger surge, and is gobbling up the major players in the open-source field. Expect fusion with RedHat next...

    The problem I see here is that with one false step, the reputation of open-source may be harmed. One large company controlling (effectively) the resources that the whole community relies upon (at this point) can be bought by... guess who?

    Now, I know that the GPL protects the source against exploitation, and that we got to where we are without the reliance on a central authority, but... The instrumental people behind the movement have been gobbled up by these companies in the same way as the smaller companies have been absorbed into larger ones. They're under NDA now. Some may leave, others like the money and corporate status.

    I'm getting the feeling that the grassroots movement is getting a new corporate domed stadium built over it.
  • by Frank Sullivan ( 2391 ) on Thursday February 03, 2000 @08:04AM (#1309008) Homepage
    Please answer haiku
    with haiku! Why, you may ask?
    It is more polite.

    Yes, i miscounted
    syllables. It's too early
    for me to count well.

    No need to flame me.
    I'm not perfect, but at least
    admit my mistakes.

    What shall i do now?
    I'll gaze Medusa-like on
    Natalie Portman!

    Haiku is so cool.
    Even Natalie Portman
    jokes can almost work.

    What else can i say?
    Hemos sux? BSD rules?
    Katz is a windbag?
  • your major concerns are about the *banner ads* of all things? well, I read slashdot for the stories, not for the ads.... what I sure hope is that we'll keep seeing stories about SGI's linux boxes and everything else that is interesting but competes with VA-Andover.
  • Geesh. I'm checking my morning news and stuff about Burning Man [burningman.org], and I come across this story [yahoo.com] about VA Linux buying out Andover.net ...

    Not that I'm complaining, mind you, it's a smart move for VA Research\\\\\\\\Linux Systems.

  • OK, normally you might have a point. But remember that all the Slashdot guys are at Linuxworld. All the time before 10:30 AM was probably involved with waking up, going for breakfast, getting to the convention center, setting up, etc.
  • Yeah, but advertising does work. Consider: Do you buy Coke, Pepsi or Jolly Good Cola?

    Even if you've never clicked on a banner ad, you have to concede that having a majority of the top-traffic Linux sites owned by one OEM is a bit scary in terms of advertising opportunity. Were I, say, Penguin Computing, I'd be sweating right now.


  • Yes, you WILL be argued with. Backing up a statement such as 'Without marketing, Linux is nothing', by informing readers of your accomplishments and respect-status is NOT the same as providing examples and reasons.

    By the way, the very beginning of Linux was not two years ago. My own personal first encounter with Linux was five years ago, and from what I can rememeber, it was fairly fleshed out then.

    Linux existed before it was for sale.
  • Linux.com used to say "Powered by Debian" at the top, and I believe Debian is Rob's favorite distro. Of course, Linux.com had to be powered by something, and ya can't hold somebody's personal preference against them really, so I guess this isn't a conflict of interest...

    Of course, if they really wanted to be "neutral" they could have put Linux.com on NT... lol.
  • I just saw you guys on CNBC for their merger coverage (quick pan over a convention floor). No mention of /., tho...

  • Is it time to get ready to fork? It is still a bit premature, let's wait and see how things work out, but the code for most of these sites is GPL, as long as we have that then if things start to smell fishy then we run.

    Sounds reasonable?

  • And without marketing Crystal Pepsi would have been nothing too :-) Oh wait?
  • Yeah, I've got to agree. I've been on IP since the early 80's and off all the sites/hosts etc. Slashdot remains the far and away leader for both content and "Smilage per gallon".

    Never knock on Death's door:

  • Here's a Salon.com Article [salon.com] that mentions the same point I raised, about Rob saying he didn't want to be bought by a Linux company. I think it says he specifically turned down an offer from VA. But I read it a few hours ago...
  • A lot of my interaction with Slashdot has been squawking about the artist perspective on the music and film industry's abuses.

    I haven't changed: I'm still building my recording studio, still waiting for the ADAT to get back from being fixed, still building all the auxiliary equipment I need (finally finished the recording multiband compressor the other night- thing is the audio hardware equivalent of a crazed Unix console app that can do anything, but with demented syntax- it's an art form just twiddling the controls on this bugger).

    I'm also still looking for ways to tap into good publicity for 'free' ideas and inventions- will certainly begin sharing everything that goes into this hardware design as soon as it seems to be going to an unarguably public place. This is very heavily influenced by open source software. My whole approach to the world has been colored by open source software, the GPL, and my learning to identify with these values. In this way, 'our eggs' don't necessarily belong to one vendor, one company or even one platform or one field of endeavor- I think it's just as important to pursue 'free' audio electronics hacking and share information in a way similar to the GPL- specifically because going strictly philanthropic and public domain is just asking for abuse, it's just putting power in the hands of _collective_ entities such as corporations which can stomp all over individials. For software, the GPL puts some rules on behavior that legislates good behavior. I'd like to see something similar for strictly idea exchange and inventions, or we may be looking at an intellectual property Dark Ages, where you're not allowed to think or innovate because everything is already 'owned' in one way or another.

    That said, of course this conglomeration is unpleasant and nasty. VA Linux has a fiduciary duty to not help other Linux companies, and at the same time is bound by things like the GPL to limit the extent to which they can hurt other people in the community they are theoretically a part of. The people behind things like Slashdot have ended up paper millionares in many cases- and we're not talking dollars, unfortunately, we're talking stock, which means their personal wealth is equal to exactly how much _their_ little projects or big companies can hurt the other people in the community. I think that unlike the hardcore e-business such as MS, many of the Slashdot people will geniunely choose to suffer financial losses rather than hurt the community- this is not unthinkable, for instance Richard Stallman actually declined offers of stock options. However, this can only be a personal choice- for instance, Rob Malda can and probably would choose to suffer losses of half his stock money rather than hurt the community by damaging another Linux company or project. But if Rob is a corporate officer, he's not allowed to make such a decision- he's required to hurt the other Linux company, because it is his legal duty to the stockholders and he is breaking the rules if he doesn't.

    This, not the specific ownership of Slashdot, is the problem, and it's been a long time coming- there have been people pushing for the adoption of the corporate, big-business model (most notably ESR) for a long time, and people who've become upset and argued against it.

    Well, now we get to see what Linux is like when it is all owned by corporations which aren't allowed to share or be nice to each other, and controlled by stock-option millionares whose riches are directly linked to their Linux competition doing badly or failing outright. We can expect to see basically the same state of affairs as commercial software, up to and including the privacy messes we've been wailing about in Slashdot columns...

    ...with one subtle but significant point. The code is still GPL. The net is still technically accessible to individuals for publication of pages and information. As things become a mirror of proprietary software in the 'mainstream' Linux world, the underground will remain and thrive, no longer represented by just any site or company with 'Linux' in the name, but still out there and living by the principles that started all this. You may not see any reference to this stuff on corporate Linux sites or Slashdot, Red Hat and VA and Corel may censor any reference to such sites in their software installations, Freshmeat might not run updates from developers which criticise the parent company etc etc and so on in a litany of disturbing possibile outcomes, but there will be the people out there maintaining the original community, and they will continue to be able to do so regardless of what corporate Linux does to try and marginalize them.

    It's a pity things have gone this direction, but freedom doesn't grow on trees. If you don't fight for it, it erodes and fades away- but you can usually grab a bit of it for yourself anyhow, if you try.

  • I'm not sure how worried I'd be about the ads. That's not the point. Will we ever see another story about Penguin Computing?
  • > something about cash payments?

    $3.81/share, I believe.
  • Because 3com, has had nearly 5 continious years of $ probs and needs the cash bad.
  • good bye editorial independance. Just like when Disney bought ABC, and others we could name, so too will the new heads of Slashdot control the content. it's too tempting _not_ too. I don't believe for one second that They can refrain from messing with it, Rob's comments aside.
  • I found this Upside article on the VA/Andover purchase [upside.com], and was suprised by how much of it made sense. It touches on some good points that ESR made, and doesn't fall into the trap of "introducing" Linux and Open Source.
  • You forget that the good Commander was probably very cautious in his contract negotiations with Andover.. he says he has a very secure contract, allowing him to keep control.

    Now, if you believe that he's lying, just to keep the audience... then I guess you should just go read another news source.
  • I wonder if the moderator who moderated that post as "redundant" realized it was satire.

    Jazilla.org - the Java Mozilla [sourceforge.net]

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.