Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category
Of late, how companies are run and how they manage their people has been grabbing more of my attention. It is a crazy world out there right now with most of the traditional benchmarks and rules being thrown out of the window.
There used to be a time when ten years meant not much in setting up and establishing a company and impacting the industry it belonged to in any significant manner. Cut to the present and you will see companies with billion dollar valuations being set up and turning the market upside down in time frames that are considerably shorter than that.
This is a blog entry that really is not out there to say much other than express a sense of wonder at how things have changed. Case in point is the outgoing Red Hat CEO’s message to the world about his impending departure. It was published on the company blog of all places.
The entry is written much on the lines of an informal blog post, reminiscing and ruminating on how the company has grown over the years and even reading in places like a 21st century version of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire“.
For someone like me, who has spent most of his career doing the one-man-army thing, the past two years of running a decent sized team and dealing with issues related to it has been an educating experience that no fancy MBA or any amount of money can buy. And one of the wonderful things about the internet is to be able to read and cull from such a vast amount of personal experience from others like Szulik.
Sometimes, among all this talk of billion dollar valuations, turnovers and product lines that can change the world in less than five year cycles, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that even these amazing companies are also headed and run by people, just like any other set up.
If you were to look at it that way, there is a lot to be learned and even more to aspire to, for everyone, provided we are willing to go the whole hog and be systematic, disciplined and always keep the longer term perspective firmly in our sights.
I’ve pretty much switched to Ubuntu on the laptop, which has been taking up most of my time. After a bit of tinkering almost everything works as expected, other than the Option 3G/EDGE wireless card that I’ve managed to get the OS to detect and even dial out with, but it is not functioning yet. Honestly, it is a bit of a downer; one that won’t allow me to get rid of the Windows XP install that is on the other partition as I travel quite a bit and I need to be connected all the time. And other than the Bombay and Bangalore airports, wifi is not free anywhere, which means the data card is my only savior.
There are other bits of news too that have been consuming more of my time. I’ve been reconsidering a lot of things, including the direction in which I am headed career-wise, things should be much clearer by the end of the week and hopefully there should be news that I can break by then.
Coming back to Ubuntu and Linux what I can say is that while the experience has improved vastly from the last time I had dabbled with being on the OS, it is far from being user friendly or idiot-proof. For the business user it is still a major pain to set things up straight (you should see the way how the Open Office UI is rendered, which is reminiscent of something from the 1980s than the 2000s).
After installing the fonts and the drivers (the Nvidia binary driver won’t allow me the max resolution of 1200 x 800 on my GeForce Go 6600 card, I had to fall back to the NV driver to get there), I had to wonder if any business user or even the average Joe would be able to put up with it.
Thankfully, most of my data is handled by online applications, other than the exception of my Firefox extensions (thank god for FBE) and settings and after an initial bit of getting used to each other, Evolution and I have gotten along famously well and that should allow me to say bye to the good old Outlook days.
Honestly, for Linux to get mass adoption someone has to do an Apple with it, which is apparently what Dell is trying to do. But with Dell they are just getting the hardware right, someone has to repackage Linux in a much more polished manner, along with the hardware, with good support. See, Ubuntu has 90% of the things right in it, but the 10% it does not have going for it is the important bit for which I can see most people paying for. Would it not be possible to charge 10% of Vista’s licensing costs to provide support and packaging for Linux on the desktop and still have a decent business going that could benefit everyone — Linux, companies and the users — involved?