Stop the Presses: maddog leaves Compaq

Phil Hughes
Linux Journal

August 1999

Jon ``maddog'' Hall will be leaving Compaq on June 18 to join the team at VA Linux Systems. He struck the deal with Larry Augustin of VA Linux Systems during Spring Comdex. I talked to him on June 8 while at the USENIX Conference in Monterey, CA. Jon is actually a member of the USENIX board. The big question I asked was why he is leaving Compaq. He gave me several answers. The bottom line is because VA is a Linux company. If VA gives him a computer for his home, that computer will be running Linux, so it will be able to talk to the firewall and everything and his documents won't be in Microsoft Word format.

Jon has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for 16 years; DEC was bought by Compaq last year. At DEC, he worked as an engineer, a marketing manager, a product manager and a Linux evangelist. He went to DEC to help them create the best UNIX system available, and he feels they have done that. Other people agree. He also introduced DEC to Linux, and they are now selling Linux systems.

Compaq has been selling servers without licenses for years, and today many of those are Linux systems. One problem with Compaq/DEC was a type of culture clash: whereas DEC sold thousands of systems, Compaq sold millions. Thus, the sales techniques were different all the way down to what could be given away at a trade show. Also, his local boss has to approve him traveling to Texas to talk to management; in other words, it's a big company with many employees and all the red tape that goes with being big. Jon will find a much more relaxed easier to deal with.

Working for VA will give Jon the opportunity to do the two things he wants to do on a full-time basis: evangelize Linux and put more time and effort into making Linux International a bigger and better organization. That is, he wants to create a real board of directors for Linux International, get the charter finished and get every company possible involved in it. One way for Linux International to do that is by initiating projects to which both big and small companies can contribute. Basically, get everyone involved in fun things, e.g., workshops. In other words, grow Linux International and give it a higher degree of visibility.

Larry has basically agreed that Jon's job will be evangelizing Linux and fixing Linux International. For the moment, at least, Jon will continue to live in New Hampshire; VA is based in Silicon Valley.

Copyright 1999