Thursday, July 3, 2008

Michael Robertson's Ego Refuses To Believe Desktop Linux Will Ever Succeed

The ego has landed...

Because Michael Robertson failed at desktop Linux, he now implies in this article that Ubuntu and others will fail at it as well. In classic Robertson form, he's blaming Microsoft for HIS failure.

I have always said that Linspire failed because WE failed, myself included. Ubuntu and others just did things better. Yes, Linspire did a lot of things right, but we also did enough things wrong to never become the leader. We didn't lose out to Microsoft, but to Ubuntu, Fedor, OpenSUSE, and others.

Robertson's ego refused to accept this. Just because HE couldn't do it, doesn't mean others, far brighter than him, won't be able to succeed (and already are).

Michael is like the guy who runs a 9-minute mile saying it must be impossible to run a 4-minute mile.

Desktop Linux certainly CAN succeed, and I'd encourage those who are involved to not listen to this defeatist attitude. Apple is finding success on the desktop, why not Linux?

To err is human, to admit it divine.



Anonymous said...


Do you have any idea how many employees Apple has working on OS X? They are just now getting market share after years of hard work.

The biggest Linux distro, Ubuntu, has around 20 active PAID developers actually working on the operating system itself.


Anonymous said...

Actually he is blaming Microsoft for Kevin Carmony's failure.

You were the one driving the Linspire bus when it started over the edge...

Kevin Carmony said...


Up until ten months ago, I was the CEO of a Linux company. I know many people at Canonical (Ubuntu). I have met on several occasions the CEOs of both Xandros (Andy) and Canonical (Mark). I can unequivocally say that your representation as to the number of employees at Canonical is WAY off.

As for Xandros, if they have as many employees as they say (I know Andy likes to outsource to India), and their user base, momentum, mind share, marketshare, etc. is so much less than Ubuntu's, that's just sad.


Kevin Carmony said...

No, I was the one driving the bus when we turned in an extremely profitable year and left the company with a plan, a strong partnership with Ubuntu, an appreciation of shareholders and employees, and loads of cash.

The main blame I'll take is for having ever trusted Robertson. I should have known better.


Anonymous said...

Michael can't blame Microsoft, EMI, AT&T, or any of the other 'big evil companies' for all the times he would yell at employees to try and make them feel like dirt in an effort to make himself feel better. Or for not having shareholder meetings and refusing to communicate with minority stockholders. Or for filing false police reports and damaging the reputation of employees.

Maybe Microsoft was too tough a competitor for Michael, but it doesn't excuse all his personal shortcomings.

I too have worked for Robertson and his ego is his downfall. As with many people with overinflated egos, he's likely compensating for low self esteem.

Anonymous said...

I think robertson's comments will come as a big surprise to the millions of mac and linux users. I guess they should all turn in their computers and run out to get vista.

Seeing Robertson get out of the linux business is the best thing that has happened to FOSS in a long time.

Good riddance I say.

Anonymous said...

Something smells fishy (apart from the things that Kevin points out)... Why would Xandros need to BUY Linspire to get to use CNR? Aren't there two other distributions that already benefit from it? (Ubuntu is one, i know that much).

I really welcomed the decision to start basing Linspire and Freespire on Ubuntu (as it would make it a better distro, with support, manuals, etc). But then (and this is right around the spinning begun) even the newsletters stopped making sense.

It was always somebody else's fault. What ultimately drew me away from Linspire/Freespire was that they thought the Microsoft Deal (yes, the patents one) was good. (This comes from a guy that followed you from your earlier versions and got into this whole "Linux thing", and others, because of your distro).

It's a darn shame what Kevin says... But i won't say we are going to miss much Michael Robertson.

To the dev team and the others too: Lsongs, Lphoto and CNR are GREAT! THANKS! I wish you the best.

To Ubuntu/Canonical: I believe there would be a great gain if you were to hire them on your team. You definitively know that there are some Linux apps out there that need some work, plus they know a lot about marketing and such. (Maybe this guys can help!).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about Kevin, but I know a number of people at Linspire had overinflated egos. It might just something about some of these personalities that make them good for certain roles within a company. I think as CEO for instance Larry is a....


Anonymous said...

I remember when I first *tried* Linspire. I don't recall to have a demo, so I grabbed it off the torrents (really mean no disregard as freespire did not exist at that time) and gave it a shot.
I really liked it, it was kind of slow though, but the install procedure, the icons, had an overall polished feeling, and I loved that.
Anyway, gone are the days.. even now, there isn't anything that comes remotely close and I mean it.
Considering that it took apple 24 years to hold 5% of market share. Linux is doing quite well :)

Kevin Carmony said...

Shhh...don't tell Michael about this.


Anonymous said...

I actually do not understand how a Linux company could fail.Linux is a gold mine. Basically, Linspire and Microsoft compete with one and same product - the Operating System. So, MS invest and spend billions of dollars for innovations and development but Linspire takes the entire OS and all the software for free.

To achieve the same thing, MS should spend several billions of dollars. Have you looked recently at the Linux desktop effects? Vista has only about 10% of that available in Compiz Fusion.

And even that is available for Linspire for free. So, I do not understand how they even went in that troubles. They have top OS, technologically advanced OS for free.

The crucial point that broke Linspire down was that they built cheap "ugly" alternative of Windows instead to create a cool desktop with all the available graphics effects and charm of Linux.

I think that if you really want to show Michael Robertson how wrong is about Linux, you would create the same as the Linspire. You have the experience, you know the people, you could do successful business with Linux.

Svetoslav Chukov

Kevin Carmony said...


I'd rather help Ubuntu get there, and they're getting close.

I don't want to "prove Michael wrong." I only want two things from Michael: 1) For him to publicly retract the false allegations he levied against the former employees, and 2) Give an accounting to minority shareholders as to what happened to the company and its assets.