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NewsForge: Progeny Has a New Business Plan and a New CEO

Oct 28, 2002, 15:17 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Miller)

Progeny is a unique Linux company in a number of ways. First, it is the only one founded by the former head of a major non-profit Linux distribution. Second, it is one of few that is making money. Third, it has thrown off the "distribution" sales model entirely and is moving in an interesting technical and marketing direction. Fourth, it has a new CEO, although founder Ian Murdock, who also founded the Debian project, is still Board Chairman and CTO.

Progeny started out distributing a "wrapper" for Debian. The company's first product was a packaged Linux distribution that had Debian's stability with a user-friendly GUI installer and GUI admin tools added. It was easy to install (although hardware detection was not as polished as Mandrake's or some other distributions') and ran well. But as a product in the marketplace it flopped, in the sense that it didn't make any money.

Free is great, but even a world-class free software advocate like Ian Murdock needs to eat and pay bills, and his coworkers appreciate regular paychecks, so Progeny changed its business model and moved into consulting services, and from there the company has edged into the concept of "Linux as a platform, not as a distribution."

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