The Linux penguin seems to be everywhere lately, but it may have to contend with a new mascot: a pogo stick. Pogo Linux is ready to spread the open-source message to companies everywhere.
The Linux penguin seems to be everywhere lately, but it may have to contend with a new mascot: a pogo stick. Redmond-based Pogo Linux is ready to spread the open-source message to companies everywhere. Founder Tim Lee chats about high school, control, and keeping his soul intact.
When did you first become involved with Linux?
My first experience with Linux was during high school. I remember thinking, “So this is it?” because the text terminal wasn’t as flashy as I had expected.
But when my high school chose Linux as the platform for internet kiosks, that’s when I realized that behind the humble appearance of Linux lay true beauty: customizability, lower cost of ownership, and a worldwide community of developers. It was then that I fell for Linux.
How did Pogo Linux get started?
I partnered up with a friend who also shared my enthusiasm for Linux and its potential. As we saw the hype around Linux companies such as Red Hat and VA Linux, we were confident we could do the same. We wrote up a business plan and approached a number of venture capitalists for funding–only to be summarily rejected over and over again. They all complained that we did not have a unique business idea, and that our projections were not optimistic enough.
After those repeated rejections, we determined that we would bootstrap Pogo Linux ourselves and would postpone selling our souls to the devil for financing.
How is the company doing?
Today, Pogo Linux is a profitable, growing and highly respected Linux computer vendor, serving domestic and global customers. Our customers, who include universities, government labs, and large corporations, depend on us to honor the same values we prioritized when we started the company: Respect the customer, provide fanatical support, and deliver an excellent value.
What are some of the benefits for a company switching to a Linux-compatible system?
The main benefit is the open-source structure of Linux. Open source differs from traditional software models in that the user has the opportunity to rewrite the software to improve it, as long as you offer those changes back to the public. I’m not sure everyone reading this will need access to the code, just the same way not everyone who buys a car will work on the engine. However, the key is that Linux users have the opportunity and the choice to make changes.
Are there still some areas in which Linux needs to improve?
The evolution of technology means that everything has room for improvement.
For Linux, the desktop applications are steadily becoming more prevalent. On the server side, Linux will need to continue to update itself to remain a competitive alternative.
Why do you think open source has become so popular recently?
The popularity stems from two aspects: economics and control. As corporate IT spending is scrutinized more than ever, open-source software fits in perfectly as a value proposition because it can be changed to adapt to individual needs at a very low cost.
Also, IT managers seek control. They care about what’s in their infrastructure and open source software returns the control back to them.
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