AOL in Negotiations to Acquire Red Hat

Luis Villa
21 Jan 2002 02:38:37 -0500

On Mon, 2002-01-21 at 02:11, Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
> >>>>> "L" == Luis Villa <> writes:
>     L> ... Whatever they do choose to do on top of Linux will (I'm
>     L> sure) be extremely easy to use- but I'm equally sure it'll be
>     L> extremely limited in scope ...
> Why believe this?  OS/X is pretty impressive for retaining all of the
> UI features of MacOS while remaining flexible and unrestrained (from
> my shell-only experience of it).  I'd say OS/X proves that Unix can
> be tamed without breaking it's spirit, so why would AOL need do 
> anything more than, say, pumping huge funds into Ximian ;)

Oh, I don't doubt it can be done- OS/X is very impressive, and I get a
kick out of opening up a terminal on my brother's new laptop and having
him freak out over what evil magic I might be doing from a mysterious
command line :) And if apple can do it, AOL can too, though perhaps with
not quite so much style and panache as Mr. Reality Distortion Field.

> Maybe I've missed something, but couldn't this AOL move be perfectly
> in sync with Ximian's original grand plan of selling sysadmin service
> to a non-sysadmin audience, delivering updates and maintenance over
> the wire? (my Ximian info might be outdated, but this was the direction
> I gathered both through the interviews we did with
> and later with the talks they had with OpenCola)

Hehe. I think that was original grand plan #2 or 3; not sure which :)
But definitely one of them. (And still a focus, though shifted more
towards businesses now than individuals.)

As for AOL... I think this focus makes sense... if you're a software/OS
company. I guess I just can't see AOL in the OS business-, except as
something extremely incidental to the delivery of 'content', and this
notion of AOLS/XHat is way more extensive than 'AOL running on top of
something that isn't Windows.' Maybe they see themselves as an
OS/software company- if so, then this notion of an easy to use Unix from
them makes sense. But I'd gotten the impression they thought of
themselves primarily as a media company who happened to use software and
(for historical reasons) had to battle with an OS company. Or to put it
another way: just because AOL is forced to fight with an OS company
doesn't mean they want to become an OS company once that battle is done.
They might... I'm not privy to special insight into their braintrust.
I've just never seen a real reason for them to move into the messy and
very complex world of operating systems.