[LINK] Windows, IIA and NBN critic John Linton dies

Fernando Cassia fcassia at gmail.com
Sat Feb 4 07:23:00 AEDT 2012


Exit John Linton, Breathing Fire

By David Frith | Friday | 03/02/2012
SYDNEY – The National Broadband Network was "a load of crap" and Green
Senator Scott Ludlam "should rot in hell" for supporting it.

The Internet Industry Association was "a bunch of wankers with nothing
better to do with their time than pointlessly pontificate". Windows
was a system that "crashed all the time". Intel's Pentium chip was a
"ropey-as-hell" absolute dud.

John Linton – former IBM exec, onetime Osborne Computers boss and more
latterly CEO of ISP Exetel – who died on Wednesday, was never one for
beating round the bush.

IT journalists attending a Linton briefing rarely left without a great
leadable quote – though they sometimes also left with a flea in their

But the quotes, alas, came to an end on Wednesday when John Linton
died in St Vincents Hospital, Sydney, following an intensive stroke.

His son James announced the news on an Exetel blog: "Yesterday my dad
was doing what he liked doing best. Eating at a nice restaurant,
drinking nice wines, and talking about the state of the
telecommunications market in Australia, and the various companies that
make this up.

"At lunch he suffered what was thought to be a mild stroke, and was
immediately taken to St Vincents hospital … when he got to the
hospital he had trouble breathing and they needed to put him into a
medically induced coma and put him on a ventilator to help him

"Unfortunately it turned out to be a very intensive stroke and there
was nothing the doctors could do, without killing him in an operation
or leaving him severely brain damaged. So last night, with most of my
family present, his ventilator was turned off and a few hours later he
passed away peacefully.

"This is the saddest day of my life, I have lost my dad, my mentor, my
boss, and one of my best friends."

John Linton entered the IT business as an IBM executive in the 1970s.
In the 1980s he was brought in by Stan Falinski, chief shareholder of
Osborne, then the leading Australian PC brand, to run the company and
joining Falinski as a major investor.

Some of his decisions surprised observers, such as dumping Windows for
IBM's OS 2; or Intel's heavily promoted Pentium chip for its low-cost
DX/4 – but he drove the company with great energy, at times outselling
more prominent marketers like Dell and HP.
Alas, Osborne went bust in 1995, with the receivers hounding Linton
and his missus for return of just over $2 million in loans, and some
unhappy litigation followed.

But Linton bounced back, launching Exetel as a consultancy and
eventually turning it into an ISP in 2003. Today it has over 125,000
customers, who enjoy imaginative free-of-upload-fees plans.

The day before his death Linton blogged the news that numbers in
January were up 260 percent on January last year.

He will be remembered as a rambunctious personality, but a major force
in two sides of the Australian ITC industry, and one who gave it great
colour, dash and drive.

So long, John – you'll be missed.


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