VA Linux

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pages: 670 words: 194,502

The Intelligent Investor (Collins Business Essentials) by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, hiring and firing, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, merger arbitrage, new economy, passive investing, price stability, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, the market place, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra

More important, buying IPOs is a bad idea because it flagrantly violates one of Graham’s most fundamental rules: No matter how many other people want to buy a stock, you should buy only if the stock is a cheap way to own a desirable business. At the peak price on day one, investors were valuing VA Linux’s shares at a total of $12.7 billion. What was the company’s business worth? Less than five years old, VA Linux had sold a cumulative total of $44 million worth of its software and services—but had lost $25 million in the process. In its most recent fiscal quarter, VA Linux had generated $15 million in sales but had lost $10 million on them. This business, then, was losing almost 70 cents on every dollar it took in. VA Linux’s accumulated deficit (the amount by which its total expenses had exceeded its income) was $30 million. If VA Linux were a private company owned by the guy who lives next door, and he leaned over the picket fence and asked you how much you would pay to take his struggling little business off his hands, would you answer, “Oh, $12.7 billion sounds about right to me”?

But when we’re in public instead of in private, when valuation suddenly becomes a popularity contest, the price of a stock seems more important than the value of the business it represents. As long as someone else will pay even more than you did for a stock, why does it matter what the business is worth? This chart shows why it matters. FIGURE 6-2 The Legend of VA Linux After going up like a bottle rocket on that first day of trading, VA Linux came down like a buttered brick. By December 9, 2002, three years to the day after the stock was at $239.50, VA Linux closed at $1.19 per share. Weighing the evidence objectively, the intelligent investor should conclude that IPO does not stand only for “initial public offering.” More accurately, it is also shorthand for: It’s Probably Overpriced, Imaginary Profits Only, Insiders’ Private Opportunity, or Idiotic, Preposterous, and Outrageous.

From 1980 through 2001, if you had bought the average IPO at its first public closing price and held on for three years, you would have underperformed the market by more than 23 percentage points annually.9 Perhaps no stock personifies the pipe dream of getting rich from IPOs better than VA Linux. “LNUX THE NEXT MSFT,” exulted an early owner; “BUY NOW, AND RETIRE IN FIVE YEARS FROM NOW.”10 On December 9, 1999, the stock was placed at an initial public offering price of $30. But demand for the shares was so ferocious that when NASDAQ opened that morning, none of the initial owners of VA Linux would let go of any shares until the price hit $299. The stock peaked at $320 and closed at $239.25, a gain of 697.5% in a single day. But that gain was earned by only a handful of institutional traders; individual investors were almost entirely frozen out.

Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams

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Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, Debian, East Village, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Maui Hawaii, Murray Gell-Mann, profit motive, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, urban renewal, VA Linux, Y2K

Such momentum would coincide with the growing momentum of companies that actively embraced the "open source" term. By August of 1999, Red Hat, a company that now eagerly billed itself as "open source," was selling shares on Nasdaq. In December, VA Linux-formerly VA Research-was floating its own IPO to historical effect. Opening at $30 per share, the company's stock price exploded past the $300 mark in initial trading only to settle back down to the $239 level. Shareholders lucky enough to get in at the bottom and stay until the end experienced a 698% increase in paper wealth, a Nasdaq record. Among those lucky shareholders was Eric Raymond, who, as a company board member since the Mozilla launch, had received 150,000 shares of VA Linux stock. Stunned by the realization that his essay contrasting the Stallman-Torvalds managerial styles had netted him $36 million in potential wealth, Raymond penned a follow-up essay.

Thurgood Marshall was a man in society, representing an outcast society to the society that enclosed it, but still a man in society. His skill was social skills. But he was all of a piece, too. Different as they were in every other respect, that the person I most now compare him to in that sense, all of a piece, compact, made of the substance that makes stars, all the way through, is Stallman. In an effort to drive that image home, Moglen reflects on a shared moment in the spring of 2000. The success of the VA Linux IPO was still resonating in the business media, and a half dozen free software-related issues were swimming through the news. Surrounded by a swirling hurricane of issues and stories each begging for comment, Moglen recalls sitting down for lunch with Stallman and feeling like a castaway dropped into the eye of the storm. For the next hour, he says, the conversation calmly revolved around a single topic: strengthening the GPL.

Ultimately, however, it is a tale of two cities: New York, New York, the book-publishing capital of the world, and Sebastopol, California, the book-publishing capital of Sonoma County. The story starts in April, 2000. At the time, I was writing stories for the ill-fated BeOpen web site (http://www.beopen.com/). One of my first assignments was a phone interview with Richard M. Stallman. The interview went well, so well that Slashdot (http://www.slashdot.org/), the popular "news for nerds" site owned by VA Software, Inc. (formerly VA Linux Systems and before that, VA Research), gave it a link in its daily list of feature stories. Within hours, the web servers at BeOpen were heating up as readers clicked over to the site. 158 For all intents and purposes, the story should have ended there. Three months after the interview, while attending the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in Monterey, California, I received the following email message from Tracy Pattison, foreign-rights manager at a large New York publishing house: To: sam@BeOpen.com Subject: RMS InterviewDate: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 15:56:37 -0400 Dear Mr.


pages: 435 words: 127,403

Panderer to Power by Frederick Sheehan

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, diversification, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, inventory management, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, McMansion, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, oil shock, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, reserve currency, rising living standards, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South Sea Bubble, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, VA Linux, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

The fundamental consideration is that a buyer is purchasing claims against future cash.”27 This was not true. Day trading was sweeping the nation—teachers and lawyers quit their jobs and traded stocks from their bedrooms. Their future was lunchtime. Greenspan’s dyspeptic (for him) outburst was probably in reaction to staff economist Michael Prell’s earlier discussion of an IPO prospectus. The indefatigable Prell had discussed VA Linux, which entered the carnival on December 9, 1999. VA Linux jumped 700 percent on its first day of trading. It was valued at $9 billion. Prell compared the current atmosphere to that of England’s South Sea Bubble fiasco in 1720 which so devastated Isaac Newton, he would not discuss it for the rest of his life. He quoted from the South Sea share offering: “ ‘A company for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.’”28 25 For FOMC comments, see William A.

Treasuries) Trichet, Jean-Claude, 331–332 Triffin, Robert, 42 Triplett, Jack, 148, 149 The Trouble with Prosperity (James Grant), 125 Truman, Harry, 20 Tuccille, Jerome, 27, 83, 96 Turner Broadcasting, 80 “2 and 28” mortgages, 325 Tyco International, 248 U uBid, 174 Uchitelle, Louis, 117–119 Unemployment: in 1970s, 309 in 1980s, 77 in early 2000s, 308 and recession of early 1990s, 127 United Services Advisors, 130 University of Chicago, 26, 37, 42, 334 Urban, David, 320 U.S. News and World Report, 64 U.S. Treasuries: and 1987 stock market crash, 113 and 1990s recession, 122 inflation-indexed bonds, 147 speculation with, 125–126 yields on, 20, 72, 126, 128, 287 V VA Linux, 211 Vanderbilt, Gloria, 74 Vanguard Group, 130 Verbal inflation, 63–64 Vinik, Jeff, 140 Volcker, Paul, 66, 68, 76, 79, 82–83, 95, 96, 112–113, 115, 121, 191, 201, 221, 346–348 Volkswagen, 49, 308–309 Vreeland, Diana, 75 W Wachovia Mortgage, 328 Wall Street: in the 1960s, 33 “buy” recommendations of, 178 and economic slowdown of 2000, 232 prior to 1950s, 19–20 real estate investments, 273–274 Wall Street Journal, 39, 82, 96, 133, 141,157, 161, 159, 195, 198, 207, 222, 233, 238, 243, 244, 274, 280, 293, 299, 319, 338, 345, 347–348, Walters, Barbara, 5, 31, 57, 75 Warehouse lines of credit (banks to mortgage lenders), 275 Warsh, Kevin, 334 Washington Times, 300 Washington Post, 280 Washington University, 42 Wasserstein Perella, 116 Wealth: household, 258, 260, 265 transfer of, 290 and unsound business structures, 352 Weidenbaum, Murray, 42, 60 Weil, Simone, 360–365 Weill, Sandy, 356 Westenhiser, Jamie, 295 Westmoreland, William, 37 White, Theodore H., 74–75 Whole Foods Market, 355 Wigmore, Barrie, 81, 88–89 Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 320 Williams, John, 149, 151–152 Wolfensohn, James, 217 Wolff, Michael, 173–174 Wood, Christopher, 201 Woodward, Bob, 171, 236 WorldCom, 248 Wriston, Walter, 78 X Xerox, 101 Y Y2K problem, 210–211, 215–216 Yellen, Janet, 138, 171, 240, 253 Z Zeckendorf, William, 23, 353, 355 Zeckendorf, William, III, 356 Zell, Sam, 311, 320, 325 Zipkin, Jerry, 75 Zola, Émile, 265


pages: 442 words: 39,064

Why Stock Markets Crash: Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems by Didier Sornette

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Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, continuous double auction, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, discrete time, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Erdős number, experimental economics, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, global village, implied volatility, index fund, invisible hand, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, law of one price, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, oil shock, open economy, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stochastic process, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Y2K, yield curve

At the time of writing, the Nasdaq Composite index bottomed at 1395.8 on September 21, 2001, in a succession of descending waves. The Nasdaq Composite consists mainly of stock related to the so-called “New Economy,” that is, the Internet, software, computer hardware, telecommunications, and similar sectors. A main characteristic of these companies is that their price–earning ratios (P/Es), and even more so their price–dividend ratios, often come in three digits. Some, such as VA LINUX, actually have a negative earning/share (of −168). Yet they finan cial crashe s : w h a t, w h y, a n d w h e n? 21 are traded at around $40 per share, which is close to the price of a share of Ford in early March 2000. In constrast, so-called “Old Economy” companies, such as Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler, have P/E ≈ 10. The difference between Old Economy and New Economy stocks is thus the expectation of future earnings as discussed in [282] (see also [395] for a new view on speculative pricing): investors expect an enormous increase in, for example, the sale of Internet and computer-related products rather than of cars and are hence more willing to invest in Cisco rather than in Ford, notwithstanding the fact that the earning per share of the former is much smaller than for the latter.

In 1929, it was utilities; in 1987, the bubble was supported by a general deregulation of the market, with many new private investors entering the market with very high expectations about the profit they would make; in 1998, it was an enormous expectation for the investment opportunities in Russia that collapsed; until early 2000, it was the extremely high expectations for the Internet, telecommunications, and similar sectors that fueled the bubble. The IPOs (initial public offerings) of many Internet and software companies have been followed by a mad frenzy, where the share price has soared during the first few hours of trading. An excellent example is VA LINUX SYSTEMS whose $30 IPO price increased a record 697% to close at $23925 on its finan cial crashe s : w h a t, w h y, a n d w h e n? 23 Fig. 1.8. Top panel: Time series of daily closes and volume of the Lucent Technology stock over a one-year period around the large drop of January 6, 2000. The time of the crash can be seen clearly as coinciding with the peak in volume (bottom panel). Taken from http://finance.yahoo.com/.

The Nasdaq composite index (see chapter 2 for definition) dropped precipitously, with a low of 3,227 on April 17, 2000, corresponding to a cumulative loss of 37% counted from its all-time high of 5,133 reached on March 10, 2000. The Nasdaq composite consists mainly of stock related to the New Economy, that is, the Internet, software, computer hardware, telecommunication, and so on. A main characteristic of these companies is that their P/Es, and even more so their price-over-dividend ratios, often came in three digits prior to the crash. Some companies, such as VA LINUX, actually had a negative earnings/share of −168. Yet they were traded around $40 per share, which is close to the price of Ford in early March 2000. Opposed to this, so-called Old Economy companies, such as Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler, had 270 chapter 7 P/Es ≈ 10. The difference between Old Economy and New Economy stocks is thus the expectation of future earnings [395]: investors, who expect an enormous increase in, for example, the sale of Internet and computer-related products rather than in car sales, are hence more willing to invest in Cisco than in Ford notwithstanding the fact that the earning-per-share of the former is much smaller than for the latter.

Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy by Lawrence Lessig

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Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Benjamin Mako Hill, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, collaborative editing, disintermediation, don't be evil, Erik Brynjolfsson, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, late fees, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, PageRank, recommendation engine, revision control, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Saturday Night Live, SETI@home, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, transaction costs, VA Linux

Now, as Red Hat demonstrates, there is a delicate balance to be struck between the commercial entity and the sharing economy. Red Hat succeeded in maintaining the loyalty of the community because of how it behaved. It respected the terms of the license; it supported development that others could build upon; indeed, as Young estimates, at one point more than 50 percent of the core kernel development team worked for Red Hat,5 and both Red Hat and 80706 i-xxiv 001-328 r4nk.indd 183 8/12/08 1:55:37 AM 184 REMI X VA Linux Systems gave stock options to Linus Torvalds.6 Many from the GNU/Linux community helped Red Hat understand what appropriate behavior was, and the company took great steps to make sure its behavior was appropriate. A key element to a successful hybrid is understanding the community and its norms. And the most successful in this class will be those that best leverage those norms by translating fidelity to the norms into hard work.

I am grateful to Oliver Baker for reminding me of this point. 2. Benkler, The Wealth of Networks, 55. 3. “GNU Free Documentation License,” Free Software Foundation, available at link #92 (last visited August 20, 2007). 4. All quotes from Brian Behlendorf taken from an interview conducted May 11, 2007, by telephone. 5. Red Hat employed 50 percent of Linux’s core team. Telephone interview with Robert Young, April 26, 2007. 6. Red Hat and VA Linux gave stock options to Torvalds. Wikipedia contributors, “Linus Torvalds,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, available at link #93 (Last visited July 31, 2007); Gary Rivlin, “Leader of the Free World,” Wired, November 2003, available at link #94. 7. All quotes from Mark Shuttleworth taken from an interview conducted March 19, 2007, by telephone. 8. Ted Rheingold, “Don’t Outsource Your Sales,” Dogster & Catster company Blogster, available at link #95 (last visited April 1, 2008). 9.


pages: 370 words: 105,085

Joel on Software by Joel Spolsky

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barriers to entry, c2.com, George Gilder, index card, Jeff Bezos, knowledge worker, Metcalfe's law, Network effects, new economy, PageRank, Paul Graham, profit motive, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, slashdot, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, thinkpad, VA Linux, web application

There is a finite amount of volunteer programming talent available for open source work, and each open source project competes with each other open source project for the same limited programming resource, and only the sexiest projects really have more volunteer developers than they can use. To summarize, I'm not very impressed by people who try to prove wild economic things about free-as-in-beer software, because they're just getting divide-by-zero errors as far as I'm concerned. Open source is not exempt from the laws of gravity or economics. We saw this with Eazel, ArsDigita, The Company Formerly Known as VA Linux, and a lot of other attempts. But something is still going on that very few people in the open source world really understand: a lot of very large public companies, with responsibilities to maximize shareholder value, are investing a lot of money in supporting open source software, usually by paying large teams of programmers to work on it. And that's what the principle of complements explains.


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

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A Pattern Language, Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

—appealed to his maverick idealism. And Torvalds’s results-oriented case for open source appealed to his businessman’s pragmatism. The open source movement had already been through several rounds of a complicated dance with the business world. At the height of the Internet stock market craze in the spring of 2000, Linux had experienced its own mini-bubble, and a number of open source companies, including Red Hat and VA Linux, had gone public. Open source stocks fared no better than any other technology investments during the dot-com wipeout that followed. But the corporations of the world still needed to run computer systems, and in the era of belt tightening that started with the market crash of 2000 and deepened in the days after 9/11, the price tag of open source-based systems looked very attractive. In beginning to embrace Linux and its ilk, businesses had to contend with several arguments against open source.


pages: 924 words: 241,081

The Art of Community by Jono Bacon

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barriers to entry, collaborative editing, crowdsourcing, Debian, DevOps, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jono Bacon, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, openstreetmap, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, software as a service, telemarketer, union organizing, VA Linux, web application

One of our user group members, Orv Beach, was the IT director for the facility and arranged for us to use their cafeteria and conference rooms for the event. The event included presentations by local user group members, with some companies sending representatives to speak. We also had an exhibit in Nortel’s cafeteria, where individuals demonstrated various open source applications and Linux distributions. A few of the early open source-focused companies such as VA Linux and LinuxCare sent representatives as well, but the focus was mostly on Linux users showing one another projects we were interested or involved in. How did the LUGFests transition into SCALE? Unfortunately, after four LUGFests, the dot-com bubble burst resulted in us losing the venue Nortel had previously been providing. Without a home and wanting to continue organizing an open source event in Southern California, we teamed up with a group of students at two local universities, UCLA and USC, to start SCALE.