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SJ Mercury: Cobalt Networks is emblematic of valley evolution

Mar 27, 2000, 04:48 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Gillmor)

"For me, the Qube, the RAQ and their maker -- Mountain View-based Cobalt Networks Inc. -- are touchstones. They're symbols of Silicon Valley's recent evolution."

"... the company and its products tell you a lot about the technology industry. They're emblematic of several transitions -- from desktop computing to network computing, proprietary software to open source, complex boxes to easy-to-use appliances, local focus to global ambition."

"Cobalt's products are in a genre called ``server appliances.''..."

"The Qube, RAQ and other Cobalt products all use the GNU/Linux operating system (better known as just plain Linux), the poster child for ``open source'' or ``free'' software..."

"... Linux is not easy to use for novices, which was an opportunity for Cobalt."

"With the Qube, for example, Cobalt added its own layer of software on top of Linux, a layer that disguised the complexity in an easy-to-use screen that a user could work with via a Web browser. The resulting product is ``miraculously easy to use,'' says Dave Winer, a Silicon Valley software developer who owns one."

Complete story.