Enterprise Linux Log

Apr 3 2008   1:39PM GMT

Open source pioneer Levanta goes out of business?



Posted by: SAS70ExPERT
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Levanta
Linux blogs and news
Virtualization

Rumor has it that Linux and virtualization provider Levanta, whose recent release of Levanta 6.0 earned it a SearchEnterpriseLinux.com Product of the Year award, may have gone belly up.

At Levanta’s offices, no one is answering the phones, and a press release has yet to be issued; but on the Mikes Thoughts blog former Levanta Senior Director of Services Michael Perry said that the writing is on the wall. He shared a teary-eyed reminiscence of his time at the 9-year old Linux venture:

Levanta is gone dear reader. I will miss it and what it might have been; but I’ll never miss a whole subset of the cast of characters who thought they were above the laws of space and time. No you were not as it turns out. You made the failure as much as if you drove the car. You simply cannot run the company like its your personal kingdom. Sorry. So, it will be gone and people will wonder whether it was good or bad.

This came as a shock to outspoken user and Levanta advocate Arty Ecock, manager of VM enterprise systems at the City University of New York (CUNY), Computing and Information Systems (CIS). “If the news is true, then it will be a great loss to our organization,” Ecock said, adding that Levanta’s product was “a perfect fit” for his organization and that they were just months away from making a new Intrepid X purchase. “We were very big fans.”

According to Ecock, the Levanta product was superior; if anyone is to blame, it is an inferior sales and marketing team. “They had a winning product but they didn’t know how to market it.” Ecock added that the sales team was “garbage.” As one of the first open source commercial startups, Levanta always faced an uphill battle. There was virtually no market for enterprise Linux when Levanta started. But after companies discovered Linux, several players moved in, and apparently Levanta couldn’t get its act together. “There’s nothing that I know of on the market that will easily replace what we have. Now we’ll have to go back to square one,” Ecock said.

But Levanta users may not have to worry. If some analysts are correct, the company may be in the process of being acquired. Should this be the case, users like Ecock would expect Levanta to rise from the ashes and dominate the market under the direction of a better marketing strategy.

So is Levanta really dead, or is it in the process of being bought? If you have information on the company’s status, please let us know. But it appears that this is no belated April Fool’s joke.

9  Comments on this Post

 
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    Their wiki entry says, "Levanta laid off all employees and went out of business on March 31, 2008." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linuxcare
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    If their product line was GPL (best if GPLv3), then the code is there for customers or another to step in and move forward with. If the coders are employees, then they can start their own effort and move forward with it (even just to support the existing user base). GPL protects users from all kinds of shocking vendor news. For example: Linux.com :: Why proprietary software is dangerous for business ... by Roblimo Miller http://www.linux.com/articles/56449 "“the real point here is that an entire medium-sized company's executive staff has learned a hard lesson about the dangers of proprietary software, and members of that staff who previously resisted open source are now ready to consider it -- and for business continuity reasons rather than as a money-saving measure, no less.” from: http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=20080402003610230&title=FOSS%20is%20more%20valuable%20to%20business%20%28programmer%27s%20have%20right%20to%20make%20money%20forever%20with%20FOSS%20code%29&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=685297#c685347
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    Its dead.... I have spoke with 3 FORMER EMPLOYEES... dead as of 4/1!
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    After 7 different VP sales and 8 VP of marketing (10 CEOs) it is hard to blame sales and marketing for the lack of interest in the Levanta product. This is a very (read very very) niche product that is suited to a very small segment of users. The fact that one of these users is praising it, does not make Levanta a legitimate business (BTW this user bought one product years ago and nothing since..). I applaud the owners of the company for making the tough decision. It was much easier for them to go and do yet another useless round of financing and keep a brave face while the business is going nowhere. I’m not sure if the company shut down as I just spoke with an employee, but they might be in the process of selling it.
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    Most of us who were still in the mix when the board decided to abandon Linuxcare for Levanta thought the product should be launched as a software only offering. My take is that the company a) was afraid of opening the code, b) concerned that fixing the installer would be too much work, and c) the CEO at the time was a former hardware producer who was biased toward turning the product into an appliance.
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    Levanta's Wiki states its shut down!
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  • Mike
    Yes, it's dead. I know from several former employees. They were all laid off on Monday.
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    Hello, I am a former Levanta employee who was also laid off recently. Michael Perry's comments above on the company's management style ("You simply cannot run the company like its your personal kingdom") are sooo true. As another example of the general approach and attitude of the senior management there, I think everyone there vividly remembers the absolutely nightmarish experience during the time a Swiss guy be the name of Beat Knecht ran the marketing group a few years back. Since then, this name has become synonymous with apocalypse and nigthmare throughout the company. Although he is just one of several examples, he clearly stands out. He not only thought he was above the laws of space and time, as quoted above, he actually thought he was as good as god. In reality, he was the most arrogant, condescending jerk people there have ever met in their entire lives. He was delusional and completely out of touch with reality. For example, at one point he wrote a memo to the entire company on a change in direction of the company. It came completely out of the blue; nobody was prepared, not even the CEO. When he was done sending the email, he walked around the office, and just said, "I (!) have now re-programmed the company," and then left to go home -- at three in the afternoon. We were all shocked. The email contained "instructions," group by group. Until then, I didn't know that employees were there to be "re-programmed" by HIM. Was it the team? No. Was it the leadership who ran the company? No. Was it the CEO? Nope. It was HIM who dared "re-programming" us all via email. We all thought this was absolutely hilarious. Just hilarious, but also very sad. He obviously though he was some kind of Jesus whose mission was to save us mere mortals from the evils of this world. At the end, we all had to laugh out loud in total awe and disbelief. What a moron. We wanted to tell him that it may be a good idea to take a communications class, but then we decided that this would do more harm than good.
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  • SAS70ExPERT
    As another former levanta employee, I have to say that often times the management was pretty out of touch with what was in the code base and how it worked. It made a very Surrealistic environment for trying to develop effective code.
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