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Linux and Business

The sad story of Linuxgruven. The name sounds cool, the web site looks cool, but what's happening now is both sordid and sad. You can read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report on the troubles at Linuxgruven, or the official statement from Linuxgruven co-founder and acting CEO James Hibbits, or you can wade through piles of posts on Slashdot and the kulua archives (kulua = Kansas Unix & Linux Users Association), but all those sources provide more questions than answers.

The kulua archives from last January report that the Clayton, Missouri company was in trouble with the Kansas City Better Business Bureau, and responses from then CEO Matt Porter failed to provide any answers. Linuxgruven's main business seems to be Linux training. According to the web site you can train for Sair GNU/Linux certification or LPI certification. In fact LPI (Linux Professional Institute) lists them as a Bronze Sponsor. However according to this St. Louis Post-Dispatch story (dated Feb. 8) "Sair Linux of Oxford, Miss., has suspended Linuxgruven as one of its accredited centers for learning Linux. Sair Linux says Linuxgruven failed to hire instructors that have passed Sair's tests on using its teaching materials." This article also states that Linuxgruven is under investigation by the Better Business Bureau's of Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois.

The essence of the allegations against Linuxgruven deal with a sort of bait and switch scam in which a job is advertised, but an applicant is first required to pay for a class, which they must pass to get the job. In the worst case one poster told of being offered a job, and was then asked how they wished to pay for it.

While it is difficult to determine the magnitude of the Linuxgruven offenses, it is even harder to determine whether the alleged abuses were the result of the actions of a single individual, or several individuals or some deliberate company policy. Here are some of the facts, as far as we have been able to determine.

  • Linuxgruven is in the training business.
  • Linuxgruven did offer jobs to people who could obtain Linux certification.
  • Linuxgruven also offered its classes, with payment in advance, to train for the certification exams.
What also appears to be true is that:
  • At least some of Linuxgruven's students received their certification and were subsequently employed by Linuxgruven.
  • Students who remained employed at Linuxgruven for a year received a refund of their tuition (as promised).
  • Not everyone employed by Linuxgruven took classes at Linuxgruven (they received training elsewhere and were able to pass Linuxgruven's certification exams).
  • A large number of Linuxgruven students never received any type of Linux certification (they failed the tests or dropped out).

The founders of the company lay the blame on the management team they hired last year, and vow to try again.

EuroLinux open letter to the European Commission on software patents. The EuroLinux Alliance has sent an open letter to the European Commission regarding its consultation process on software patents, which appears to have stalled. Even worse, there is evidently a move afoot to set up software patents in Europe without finishing the consultation process. EuroLinux, of course, wants the Commission to think things through a little better first; we wish them luck.

EuroLinux has also sent the EC some proposals for EC consultation on software patents.

Lineo breaks ground for new corporate headquarters. Some companies go into crisis mode and cut staff when their IPO's fail to happen; Lineo, instead, is starting construction on a new headquarters building. It will have room to hold 450 people, even though Lineo currently only has 140 in Utah.

Zero-Knowledge Systems Raises US$22 Million Financing. Zero Knowledge Systems has announced the receipt of $22 million in venture funding - an impressive achievement in these times. A somewhat more ominous paragraph can be found at the end of the release, though: "In addition to securing financing, Zero-Knowledge also announced today that it is reorganizing the company to focus on delivering its technology and services in the most effective manner to its customers, both enterprises and consumers. This reorganization will allow Zero-Knowledge to continue to provide the best privacy technologies to its customers."

OSDN and BRIE to present symposium on ''rethinking business in light of open source''. The Open Source Developer Network and the Berkeley Roundtable on the Internet Economy have announced a symposium on "rethinking business in light of open source." A number of well-known Linux figures will be there, along with representatives from IBM, Mozilla, the EFF, and more. It's happening on April 18 in San Francisco.

AMD, Linux NetworX deliver Linux cluster to Boeing. We have press releases from both AMD and Linux NetworX proclaiming the sale of a Linux cluster to Boeing. The cluster features 96 AMD Athlon processors, and it will be handling fluid dynamics problems for Boeing.

Caldera's New OpenLinux server product enters beta. Caldera Systems has announced that its latest OpenLinux server release has gone into an open beta test period. It's called "Project 42," and it features things like the 2.4 kernel and a full set of server software.

Separately announced is a deal with Lutris to ship the Enhydra application server with "Project 42."

RidgeRun Releases Open Source Service Discovery Protocol. RidgeRun, Inc. announced that it has added support for Bluetooth Service Discovery Protocol (SDP) to the OpenBT Linux Bluetooth stack sponsored by Axis Communications. SDP will be incorporated into RidgeRun's upcoming distribution of DSPLinux which is focused on Texas Instruments' Digital Signal Processors (DSPs).

MontaVista, ITT announce handheld radio agreement. MontaVista Software, Inc. and ITT Industries, Inc. announced that they are working together to enhance a handheld radio communications system for soldiers. The ultra-capable communications system relies on Hard Hat Linux to support multiple StrongARM processors.

Agenda Computing Launches Pure Linux PDA. Agenda Computing will soon launch a pure Linux PDA (personal digital assistant) called the VR3. The launch is scheduled for COMDEX in Chicago beginning April 3.

Linux Stock Index for March 08 to March 14, 2001.

LSI at closing on March 08, 2001 ... 33.33
LSI at closing on March 14, 2001 ... 30.22

The high for the week was 33.33
The low for the week was 29.65

Press Releases:

Open source products

Unless specified, license is unverified.

Proprietary Products for Linux

Products and Services Using Linux

Products With Linux Versions

Java Products

Books & Training




Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

March 15, 2001


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