Linux and the Use-Mention Distinction

by Leonard Richardson

Published on segfault.org 12/16/1999

The past few weeks have seen an enormous rate of growth in the burgeoning Linux-mentioning industry. Only a month ago, gratiutous references to Linux and Open Source were regarded as a fringe tactic suitable only to technology news sites desperate for traffic. Now, however, analysts agree that the technique of releasing press communiques mentioning Linux, in a bald-faced attempt to drive up one's stock price, has come into its own as a valid business plan.

VA Linux's wildly successful IPO last Friday showed the technology market as a whole the new way to wealth, as dot-coms and traditional tech stocks alike boosted flagging share prices with ephermeal Linux-related press releases. A random sampling of the estimated 1022 such releases follows:

"We're completely committed to mentioning Linux and Open Source and Linux and Open Source in all our press releases, white papers, and other strategic documents," said Yummy Mango spokeswoman Polly Morfe. "You'll notice I just did. That one's on the house."

Future Tech Four CEO Alexander Shaka is one entrepreneur who rode the Linux wave to fame and fortune. His company went public Wednesday with the Linux-related teaser, "Future Tech Four Embraces Linux In Vague, Undefined Way".

"I was mowing the lawn yesterday morning when I got word that I was now absurdly rich," says Shaka. "I thought to myself, 'Now how could that happen?' Then I looked at the calendar, and, sure enough, there was the IPO. Somehow it just slipped my mind, what with the lawn and all. Boy, is my face red!"


Disclaimer: Leonard Richardson owns no stock in VA Linux and is bitter about it. Scott James Remnant was offered stock in VA Linux and is even more bitter that he couldn't buy it from the UK.


This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Wednesday, January 24 2007, 02:14:38 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Thursday, July 31 2014, 01:00:03 Nowhere Standard Time.

Crummy is © 1996-2014 Leonard Richardson. Unless otherwise noted, all text licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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