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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] New feature at the mirror + request for help

From: Tom Lord
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] New feature at the mirror + request for help
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 13:37:38 -0800 (PST)

I don't substantively disagree with any of your comments.  We're
(nearly enough, anyway) putting different spins on the same reported

VA is trouble.  OSDN may emerge as the surviving amputee.  It looks
(to me) like if _all_ they had was OSDN, they'd still be in trouble --
but would be sustainable.  It looks like the VA software business is
failing (duh!  who would expect otherwise with that product line?).

But, in the topic of the thread, I think the conclusion that we would
agree upon (no?) is that SF is _not_ clearly self-sustaining.  If it
works at all, it works by being part of the aggregate of all the other
OSDN properties plus whatever deal they have e-commerce-wise.
Personally, I attribute this to their skimping on R&D.  SF is crap.
Perhaps some of the best crap on the sidewalk, but crap nonetheless.

"Long" ago, I spent some of Cygnus' money on a VA Research workstation
that was later donated to the FSF (plus my add-ons and replacements
for which I took no tax credit :-).  (I'm probably violating some
expired or nearly-expired privacy agreement in saying so but this is
ancient history and I don't think I'm doing any harm.)  VA was a
_swell_ little shop way back then.  They had a dinky little (i.e., 3-4
person) assembly line for beige boxes pre-loaded with linux.  I felt,
in today's terminology, like I was looking at the kind of seed from
which a Dell could spring.  And then they IPO'd, and focus started
thrashing.....  they are, truly, the last standing F/OSS .com boom
victems.  LNUX, indeed.  Whatever happened to, anyway?
That should have been the wellspring of OSDN.  Bad, capitalists,
bad..... no donut for you.


    > Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 15:07:37 -0500
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    > > That makes good sense.  Suppose we guess that ads on /. bring in the
    > > most ad money:  even so, events on other properties like NewsForge and
    > > SourceForge generate /. stories, helping to raise the value of /. ads
    > > and generating more impressions when people click back and forth.
    > My understanding is that slashdot and freshmeat bring in a good amount of
    > money (but not enough to offset the other costs). 
    > I think I remember a couple years ago reading that sourceforge was
    > officially a cost center that they run in order to market the proprietary
    > version of their sourceforge product. True or not, its a heck of a bullet
    > point to say "We run the software that makes free software possible". I 
    > understand that they are finding it increasingly difficult to keep paying
    > to run it. 
    > In my humble opinion, the main reason that they keep sourceforge running
    > is an unspoken but anticipated massive backlash against OSDN if they shut
    > it down. They're rightfully scared, if you ask me. When the slashdot
    > community found out that EV1 had licensed SCO, I understand that a lot of
    > their customers walked, and they're taking a not insignificant hit to
    > their revenue... Yeah. they're stuck keeping sourceforge going because if
    > they didn't, the /. community would turn around and do its best to destroy
    > OSDN if they did....
    > > VA ain't exactly rolling in dough but, on the other hand, the on-line
    > > part of their business appears to be a profitable aggregate and,
    > > indeed, they're starting to report it separately from software sales.
    > > 
    > > In other words:  it's not a bad guess that SF is barely or not quite
    > > self-sustaining, but regarded as part of the overall OSDN package,
    > > it's just fine.
    > I disagree. Look at their cost of business. It's *huge*. And if I read
    > their 10Q right, they've only got two sourceforge customers.
    > > To answer your question about SF, they pay for its processing,
    > > storage, bandwidth, and R&D expenses _maybe_ through just the ads but
    > > more likely by being part of the larger OSDN.
    > -- 
    > James Blackwell      Using I.T. to bring more             570-407-0488
    > Owner, Inframix      business to your business
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