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The Armadillos and the Bizarre- Caldera in Austin

Contributed by Linux Today reader Clifford Smith.

Part one:

The week started off with a pretty good Tuesday morning at the
Caldera Open Linux Tour, in town one day before the Open Source
Forum. Held at one of the better Hotels here in Cap City, it
promised to provide an interesting take on where the state of the
VAR exists within the mindset of one of the big four Linux
distributors and two recent big-money backers.

And in spite of the advice I’m going to give, I had a real good
time.

Be sure you know who your audience is before you launch into
your spiel. Although the target audience was ostensibly Value Added
Resellers and Systems Integrators, of the 12 people that were at
the morning session, only two of them (from the same company ) were
VAR’s – everyone else either worked as IT people for large
corporations, or were simply end users who wanted to know more
about Caldera….. The repeated attempts to refocus the audience on
the Big Money to be made by ‘selling solutions’ based on Caldera,
while interesting, ran counter to some of the surprisingly deep
technical questions…a couple by one guy who is ALREADY replacing
Novell Netware in his organization with Linux…. ( he had a couple
of killer questions about SAMBA I didn’t get to write down…) you
don’t need to close the deal twice.

Do not blame the bad benchmarks that were posted recently re:
RedHat/NT on the idea that the problems were of RedHat’s making and
then imply that they would have turned out differently if Caldera
had been used (TWICE!). It is insulting to everyone in the room who
knows better and insulting to the effort put into your own
product.( in all fairness, this guy came back in the room and
apologized. He admitted that what he had said about Redhat was
wrong and a Veep from Development had set him straight.) The Linux
community is going to get enough FUD splattered on it soon enough
without SALES people using it to bolster the notion that one
distribution is AT THIS TIME fundamentally superior to the
other….Show me the added value of your product in a manner that
doesn’t slander other open source companies and I’ll feel better
about partnering up.

Kick Oracle off the Tour and out of your plans. If the largest
database outfit in the world can’t get it together to put someone
in front of a group of potential customers who gives a poot about
anything other than reading off the slides, why shoud I let his
Corporation anywhere near my customers? The individual who Oracle
sent to do the main part of the talk was unintelligible and acted
(IMHO) like he would have rather been swallowing live rats. (It
could be that he had just got word about the Lawyers at Oracle
putting the Kabosh on some of the open source plans…press release
THAT DAY..or maybe he was one of the 300 laid off today……)
Someone at Oracle should have the Lawyers READ the GPL before
setting policy.

Amidst all this complaining, I do have to say that I fired up
the Caldera CDROM they gave out at the Tour and it is really good
work.I installed it onto an NT box and started the process
while NT was still running. The Kde Interface is very good
and much improved from just a couple of versions ago and the
management tools are excellent. Go get it. See for yourself.

The other thing that suprised me and I am still pondering is the
depth of the IBM commitment to Linux. the Rep from IBM stated
flatly that IBM will support Linux on every peice of iron in their
Netfinity catalogue including the Netfinity 7000. He went on to say
that the entire line of Web-sphere apps as well as DB2 are going to
be ported to Linux….Well, a complete e-business solution for all
of us…running on IBM Iron. Sounds good. The IBM rep said that
they are backing the Big 4 distro’s ( Redhat, Caldera, SuSE, PHT)
and are to provide ALL the support and training for Caldera. this
means that you can get training in over 2500 locations, pretty
soon. I get the feeling that IBM is in this for the long haul.

Like I said, I had a few quibbles with a couple of the
presenters, but the product Caldera has out right now is easily one
of the best Linux Distros you can get. I think that the time at the
OpenLinux tour was very well spent.

Part two after the Open Source Forum closes shop.