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Ars Digita Shuts Down

2002-02-08 18:46:29+00 by TC 9 comments

It was only a matter of time after Greenspun left but they have sold their assets to Red Hat and Shut Down

[ related topics: Free Software Open Source Art & Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:11+00 by: Dan Lyke

Joel has some commentary on this, some of which I disagree with, but his final point is worth noting:

By the way, have you noticed how often companies officially sell themselves off (probably for pennies) rather than simply liquidate? That's just to make the executives' bios look better.

Yep. Seen that.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:11+00 by: ebradway

Durn. I have to run out for a yoga workshop. I'm very interested to see what happens with this. I assume Red Hat will finish the port to Postgres (or rather, the Red Hat Database Server) and sell an integrated Red Hat product. Should be interesting.

Anyone taking bets on whether they move away from AOLserver? Or is this more fodder for the AOL buying Red Hat conspiracy?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:12+00 by: Dan Lyke

Except that they could support the OpenACS folks without the purchase, and ArsDigita itself was rebuilding the ACS as a closed Java Servlets based system.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:12+00 by: ccoryell

Dirt on the street is that its a face saving move by Greylock a major VC in both companies.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:12+00 by: meuon

VC using one company he owns to bail out another he owns? Never! I hope Greenspun enjoys his RV though.

Locally.. one of the local dotcoms wannabe's just got their Onan GenSet repossessed right off the concrete pad last night. --Mike--

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:12+00 by: markd

aD dumped AOLserver at least a year ago, in favor of the New End-All-Be-All Java product that really sucked. The only AOLserver work that was done was for legacy (paying) customers. The AOLserver-based product lives on at OpenACS.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:13+00 by: Dan Lyke

Everyone's linking to Eve Andersson's history of Ars Digita, and Borklog has a linke to one I haven't be able to get to yet, Lars says goodbye.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:35:13+00 by: ebradway

I didn't catch the Greylock VC connection. That makes perfect sense. I just emailed a friend who pointed me to Eve's history. It's been my experience that VCs will frequently buy into a successful company in hopes of bailing out another pet project - unfortunately success doesn't seem to ever breed success wheres failure does a good job of continuing...

#Comment made: 2002-02-11 16:33:26+00 by: sethg [edit history]

What assets did aD have that were worth selling to another company? The software that's generating money for them is GPLed. The software that's not GPLed is, to be charitable, still in beta. The employees who know the most about how to apply and develop the software are free agents, so whoever bought aD couldn't guarantee their loyalty, especially since stock options don't impress people as much these days.

What's left? Their customer list. The people who actually bought aD's consulting services were charged a monthly fee, in exchange for aD maintaining their ACS-powered Web site. Whoever's willing to keep maintaining the ACS, even if they do nothing to improve it, will get those monthly fees, at least until the customers get wooed away by competing service providers.

Now, what companies would even volunteer[Wiki], let alone pay money, to acquire contracts for maintenance and consulting services for an open-source software package? The only ones that come to my mind are IBM and Red Hat. And the classic ACS package is closely tied to the Oracle DBMS, which competes with IBM's DB2. You do the math....