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Mark Shuttleworth Considering Canonical IPO (zdnet.com)
37 points by testrun on May 25, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

It's somewhat amusing to see this right underneath the Dell headline on the HN frontpage about running Linux on your Dell. Dell recently went private again in an LBO after being public for 25 years, and now they're easily the most Linux-friendly large manufacturer of computers in the US.

IBM may have held that title for the Thinkpad at one point, but that's definitely becoming less and less true as Lenovo runs the Thinkpad line into the ground[0]

[0] Source: Typing this from my Thinkpad running Debian.

I observed that as a private company Dell was much more willing to embrace alternate architectures from AMD and Linux as an OS. Which really makes you wonder doesn't it? How does being publicly traded make you so coercible? I get the executive team has compensation tied to share price kind of arguments but Dell seems have done much better post LBO. What can they do now that they couldn't do then? And why? Looking forward to that HBR article if it ever gets written.

According to Michael Dell's op-ed in the WSJ [1], two main benefits of going private are 1. longterm-planning => value + innovation and 2. activist shareholder avoidance.

Michael Dell also has a track record for anti-competitive practices. Hell, the accountant and CFO from the days of their "cookie-jar accounting" schemes are still at Dell.[2] My understanding's that the anti-competitive measures weren't even illegal, it's just that Dell, as a public company, broke the law by failing to disclose the payments from Intel in Dell's financials. Going private removes this burden.

[1] http://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-dell-going-private-is-pa...

[2] https://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-131.htm

I think the quarterly earnings game is probably what causes this to happen in the first place.

I don't think reporting frequency matters as much as the incentives.

As long as the company's required to disclose public financials, company's will ALWAYS be tempted to manipulate earnings at the end of the fiscal year[1].

As to incentives for manipulation, Dell's infractions arguably flowed from flaws in stock option compensation and loose accounting standards.[2] Dell execs were pretty risk tolerant...leveraging up with long calls financed by short puts.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/pay-practices-that-encourage-...

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/business/how-dell-became-e...

I am talking about the issue of taking the payments from Intel not to use AMD in the first place.

You lost me.

From https://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-131.htm : "Without the Intel payments, Dell would have missed the EPS consensus in every quarter during this period."

Oh! Yeah...Intel had been using anti-AMD "discounts" for quite some time, dating back to 1991. Things ratcheted up in the late 90's.

Giving dishonest information feeds inaccurate estimates.

Public companies have a fiduciary responsibility to show their shareholders growth every 4 months. Private companies can do absolutely anything as long as they're paying their bills and not breaking any laws.

I'm sure you meant "every quarter" or "every 3 months".

Do you mean quarterly earnings, so every 3 months?

How has Lenovo made Thinkpads less Linux-friendly?

You can brick certain ThinkPads with BIOS older than 2.08 by installing Linux on them.

Not Linux-related, but the keyboard transition (happened between W520 and W530) was unfortunate and pissed a lot of people off.

I'm sure the new keyboard design has its merits, but the fact that they changed it over the objection of their most loyal users speaks volumes about the direction Lenovo is taking the ThinkPad brand.

Purely anecdotal but the driver support for wifi on my T540p has given me no end of problems

Do you have one of the Intel wifi cards?

no, it's a Realtek.

When I got the laptop, it wasn't working due to a kernal bug. I was able to get Wifi going using an external dongle. Then a kernal update fixed the bug and the internal worked. Since then something has changed and now neither work.

I'm using Arch Linux... I used to have time to spend keeping things running and I enjoyed the slimmed down nature.. but these days I don't and I'm considering going back to Ubuntu.

That's pretty typical then. The advice for Thinkpads has long been to get an Intel wifi card, if you want to run Linux on it. In particular because it's the only name-brand known-quantity option you have at configuration.

He expect Ubuntu phone to be profitable...I don't know how he expects it to have a place between android, Windows phone and iOs. Even blackberry, with far more experience in the field, is struggling.

Edit: I've removed my comment because I was criticizing Ubuntu. The truth is, Canonical has done an excellent job at packaging and popularizing Linux, and while that's their core business, it's not their main revenue (OpenStack is). So, overall, thank you Canonical!

You've placed Windows Phone in there in the middle, as if it matters, when Android + iOS have a disturbing 96% or more of the market, with the rest being divided between Windows Phone, Symbian, Blackberry and all the others. that third place is practically non-existent.

If phone can run full ubuntu stack, it will find couple of million users for sure.

A couple of million users doesn't mean it's profitable by any means.

I wonder if this is the type of IPO where the employees get nothing since it was always pitched as a company with no 'exit plan'.

Why would employees get anything? They should be getting their salaries both before and after.

I've heard that Mark has money put away in the event of an IPO to reward employees for their loyalty (based on seniority), but I have no way of verifying that.

This story is from last week and Mark subsequently clarified to say that he's not taking the company public.


hmm, apparently I can't find the thing I thought I'd read about that, so I retract. I guess the IPO is on!

If only XFCE wasn't so bloody ugly on Debian ...

I wasn't too impressed with XFCE on fedora - it was light indeed, but it felt too boring for regular desktop use. Then I tried Manjaro Linux and I loved it - the xfce theme shipped by default looks and feels amazing.

fedora: https://spins.fedoraproject.org/static/images/content/xfce-s... manjaro: https://manjaro.github.io/images/manjaro-xfce-090-pre4.jpg

LXDE is very beautiful on Debian, though, and also reasonably fast and light.

YMMV. I tried LXDE on Debian a few years ago and found it was simplified just that bit too far. I did appreciate that when I tried to set the clock to show seconds, it (literally) told me to look up "man 3 strftime". It's sorta heartwarming to know that level of curmudgeonly user-hostility can still be found in the wild.

It is user friendly to users who like the desktop environment to stay out of the way, and to stay the same year after year so that we can just bring our ~/.config/lx* over to a new system and have things set up the way we're used to.

LXDE may not be for everyone, but the desktop environments that try to appeal to the broadest audience can seem pretty user-hostile to me.

Can't wait till I have a phone that friendly.


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