Ransom Love Back In Linux With Progeny

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2003-11-10

Ransom Love Back In Linux With Progeny

In a move that pairs two figures at opposite sides of Linux history, Caldera/SCO co-founder and former CEO Ransom Love is joining the board of Ian Murdocks Progeny Linux Systems Inc.

Progeny will announce on Tuesday that Love has joined its board. Indianapolis-based Progeny was founded by Murdock, creator of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and Progenys founder and chairman of the board. Besides co-founding Caldera, Love was a driving force behind the creation of UnitedLinux, a consortium of top Linux companies that is now led by SuSE. Many members of the Linux community see Love as the leader of the commercialization of Linux and Murdock as his polar opposite: a champion of the community-based approach to Linux.

In a joint interview with Love, Murdock told eWEEK.com Monday that the gap between their positions was overstated and that both men have long championed the unifying of Linux. Murdock met Love in 2002, after Love helped create UnitedLinux to foment an enterprise-class, industry-standard Linux operating system.

"We are very pleased and honored to have Ransom join our board," Murdock said. "He was one of the pioneers in commercializing Linux and has been a leader in promoting standards and unification across Linux distributions. Ransom brings a wealth of experience in management and strategy; his visionary perspective will help Progeny continue to grow and expand our customer base."

Read eWEEK.coms recent interview with Ransom Love.

"Im excited to join Progeny during a period of tremendous opportunity," Love said. "By providing customized Linux platforms, Progeny is helping its corporate customers to tap directly into the benefits of Linux and the open-source community and is bringing Linux to underserved markets.

"I applaud Progenys efforts to involve the community in promoting the unification of Linux through cooperation, commitment to standards, and the development and extension of tools to span multiple distributions," Love said.

Progeny, unlike better-known Linux distributors such as Red Hat Inc. or SuSE Linux AG, isnt focused on producing distributions. Instead, Murdock said he sees Linux as a platform, a process, that is used for building and maintaining custom Linux distributions for an organizations specific needs. This, according to Progeny, frees the organization "from many of the costs associated with platform development and maintenance and enabling the organization to take full advantage of the many benefits Linux has to offer as a platform."

Murdock said, "People are starting to realize that they dont want a specific Linux distribution but Linux. There is no one size fits all Linux distribution." The focus should be on making the most of Linux for a given organization, he said.

Next page: Whats Progenys agenda?


: Integrator or Distributor?">

Progenys approach, according to Murdock, also enables developers and users alike to focus more on using Linux than on debating the advantages of one distribution over the other. Therefore, Progeny tailors a Linux by using only those componentized Linux parts that fit a companys specific needs. Murdock said he that in some ways, "Progeny can be thought of as more of a Linux systems integrator than as a Linux distributor."

This distinction doesnt mean Progeny doesnt continue to help develop Linux itself. Besides continuing to work with the popular Debian distribution, Progeny works to unify Linux distributions. Its most notable accomplishments in this arena recently has been the porting of Red Hats Anaconda installer to Debian.

Linux programs tend be shipped in two different, incompatible formats, Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) and Debian. With this port, Debian and Debian-driven distributions, such as Linux desktop distributor Xandros Corp., will be able to easily install RPM-distributed programs.

Progeny will also be looking to work with other companies or consortiums. This is a task that Love, with his contacts throughout the commercial, Linux world, is well-suited to pursue.

Both executives also said they think that Novell Inc., with its recent purchase of UnitedLinux leader SuSE, is in a unique position to push for Linux unification. Love commented, "Novell has a big opportunity with UnitedLinux if they go forward with it. It will be very positive for Progeny and all other Linux companies if they do so. Progeny, which has more of a window to the Linux community than Caldera ever did, may also be a major help with this."

Murdock added, "Im encouraged about what Novell is talking about. These guys seem to get that Linux as enabler of technology and businesses and not just another enterprise operating system. This is a fundamentally different thing, and if they keep thinking this way, it will help all of Linux."

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