2002. That was the year I graduated from law school. It's also the year I left my employer--embedded-Linux vendor Lineo--to join Novell.
For years, I wondered how I had managed to be the only person in Silicon Valley not to make a billion dollars--only to discover in 2002, coming on the heels of the 2001 dot-com bust and ensuing recesson, that finding a paying job was the only thing that mattered. The billions could wait.
A funny thing happened on the way to the medicine cabinet to grab a bucketful of Prozac: Linux began to boom.
I was at Novell when Novell Vice Chairman Chris Stone and others began to feel their way toward Linux, first with the Ximian acquisition and then with the Suse acquisition. Novell's fortunes revived, even as Red Hat's stock went on a tear. That recession was very good to open source.
I expect the same will happen this time, both for open source and SaaS, as well as for other software-delivery strategies that lower barriers and prices for enterprises. No, not every open-source company will succeed. Some will be rudely battered by the recession, and I doubt if any will escape it wholly unscathed.
For those who lose their jobs in this mess (over 140,000 in 2008 so far, with more to come), I feel for you. I sincerely do. I have a family member who was out of work for over two years during the last recession. It was one of the most frustrating and heart-rending experiences I've ever witnessed.
But it ended well for him, and this recession will make stronger companies, employees, and entrepreneurs of us all--or can if we'll allow it to do so.… Read more