- By Dan Berkes -
San Francisco-based Open Source vendor TurboLinux today announced the appointment of Ly-Huong Pham as the company's chief executive officer. The announcement, far from earth-shaking, merely confirms Pham's ongoing duties at the company.Hired last June by outgoing TurboLinux CEO T. Paul Thomas as the company's executive vice president of development, and promoted to chief operating officer in February, is a tested company veteran at this point, having stayed on with TurboLinux through several crises, including the departure last fall of chairman Cliff Miller, the March cancellation of its IPO, and this spring's aborted merger with LinuxCare.
Pham's previous executive office experience includes a stint as COO for OnScreen24, a subsidiary of videoconferencing concern VTEL, and a variety of senior positions with Mitre Corporation. Far from being a corporate suit, Pham holds a master's degree in computer information systems and a bachelor's degree in mathematics, both from Boston University. She also has over two decades of real-world experience under her belt, including 13 years spent as a programmer for Wang, and five years designing a new interface for Apple Computer's Mac OS 8. Additionally, Pham holds seven patents in the areas of data object integration and visual communications, and is credited as co-inventor for another six pending patents in computer systems and human interface design.
Founded in 1992, TurboLinux markets its Linux distribution to enterprise markets in a variety of workstation and server packages. The company is also one of IBM's global Linux partners, and produces a version of its TurboLinux Server 6 product for Big Blue's zSeries and S/390 server hardware. The company has enjoyed moderate success in Asian markets, notably Japan, but faces an uphill battle in North America in an arena that analysts say is increasingly dominated by Red Hat's enterprise Linux offerings.
Current company strategy seems to conflict with the TurboLinux push into North America. The plan to profitability includes building on its sales of shrink-wrapped software, but its major market for that particular strategy remains Japan. Still, TurboLinux's new CEO believes that its current plans, including this particular strategy, will enable the company to reach profitability in the near future.
T. Paul Thomas, who initially planned to leave the company last February when its merger with LinuxCare was still a possibility, plans to stay on with TurboLinux in the role of chairman.