Eye2Eye: VA Linux CEO Larry Augustin Pt I

Larry Augustin reveals the secrets of Linus Torvalds' movie star lifestyle and explains why Linux rocks

Larry Augustin is president and CEO of VA Linux. He developed his first Linux system as a student at Stanford University. Augustine has worked as developer, systems administrator and consultant before founding VA Linux Systems in 1993. He is a director of Linux International. He spoke to ZDNet at the European Linux Expo in London.

What do you think of the show so far?

Larry Augustin:It's pretty good, if you consider the amount of resources behind the show. A very good little show with some very good quality people, but not a big scale marketing event.

In a recent interview you said that the current disillusion with technology stocks was good in a way, because it helps people to concentrate on companies with real value. What would your advice be to those investing in British technology companies?

I'd say do your homework. That's what it's about, right? No more specific advice than look closely at business and what they're doing and where they make money. We just came off of a quarter with a four and a half million operating loss, and that's a pretty significant step towards being in the black.

How do you think you think Linux companies will do in the near future?

I don't know about Linux companies in general. I think VA will do well. People can see we're making pretty significant progress towards being profitable. That's the only thing that's going to separate companies. Before investors were a lot more patient. They were willing to do that for a while and they've decided that they're not anymore.

How strong are open source companies in general?

There are companies that are robust and companies that aren't. That's true of any sector. There are going to be Linux companies that don't do well and Linux companies that will do well.

If a high-profile Linux company does start to do particularly badly do you think the bubble will burst for all Linux companies?

There's always the danger that when another company in your sector doesn't do well it will reflect badly on you. But I think investors should just do their homework.

In your keynote you spoke about not having a company directly between users and developers. With Andover involved in so much development work, are you worried that you might be seen as being too controlling of that scene?

I think we have to be careful there, but anyone who looks at any of those sites can see that we're far from that. Anyone who goes to Linux.com or SourceForge can see. The biggest complaint I often get is that people often don't even know we're involved. We don't exert anything in terms of editorial control. Frankly that's the only way they're going to be successful. We don't want to and we don't need to do that. We want them to be the kinds of open sites they are and that's what's made them successful.

To hear Larry Augustine on open source and celebrity programmers read part two of our Eye2Eye interview

To hear Larry Augustine on Perl, Python and taking on Intel read part three of our Eye2Eye interview

Has the Linux bubble burst? And if it has, is that necessarily a bad thing, or simply a sign of maturity? Regardless of the rhetoric, Mary Jo Foley believes there is enough promise in the basic concept that software is best developed via a cooperative, rather than a competitive model. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

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