21 June 2006

Linuxcare Lives - or Does It?

A few months ago I interviewed Dave Sifry, CEO of Technorati. Doing so brought back memories of the previous time I'd interviewed him, when he was CTO of Linuxcare.

The idea behind Linuxcare was a good one: to act as a 24x7 support service for all the main free software programs - and thus plug what many saw as the big gap in the open source offering for corporates. It was a great idea, and they had some great people, but the company crashed and burned for reasons that seem to have nothing to do with that idea, in one of the more spectacular crashes of the dotcom meltdown.

Given this history, I was amazed to learn that Linuxcare lives on, as a company now called Levanta. Or rather, reading the BusinessWeek story on the latter, it seems that Linuxcare has gradually morphed into something else:

Levanta sells a box that connects to all of a company's Linux servers. The customer's software and applications actually run through that box, not individually on each server. That means that if a server crashes, there's a backup for that data. Or, if administrators need to switch an application from a test server to a more reliable one, it's just a few mouse clicks away.

I can't help feeling that an outfit that has changed its management, name and product isn't really the outfit I knew those years back. And so, for me, this strange, zombie-like resurrection is more of an end than a beginning.

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