Linux in the news
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See also: last week's Commerce page.
Cobalt Networks went public this week. The stock, which had been repriced up to $22 per share, began public trading at $130. In terms of percentage increase, this IPO was the third biggest ever on NASDAQ. The price has since settled to around $120, leaving Cobalt with a market capitalization of about $3.3 billion. It seems there was some demand there.
These events bode well, of course, for the other companies which are putting together their public offerings. As long as this current market persists, it seems there is money to be made in taking Linux companies public. Expect to see a lot of activity in this area over the coming year.
Cobalt Networks (stock symbol COBT) will join the LWN Linux Stock Index on Thursday, November 11.
SAP benchmark results posted Dan Kegel has collected and posted a collection of SAP "sales and distribution" benchmark results on both NT and Linux. This appears to be the first time that nearly identical benchmarks (i.e. with the same version of SAP) have been pulled together in this way. The results are nearly identical for both systems, even on eight-processor hosts.
SGI position paper on open source SGI has published a position paper entitled SGI and Linux/Open Source Market-like Computational Ecologies on its web site. This paper sets out to establish that SGI has been an open source supporter for a long time, and discusses the (many) projects the company has going now in the Linux/open source realm. "SGI's engineers have been contributing to the realization and implementation of the Open Source philosophy and community since at least 1992. As of August 1999 the SGI/Open Source relationship is solid, productive, and accelerating." It's an interesting read. (Thanks to Alberto Schiavon).
Rumor: Red Hat is buying Cygnus? The rumor is widespread and, as yet, unconfirmed. So all of the following is hypothetical, and should be treated as such.
Why would Red Hat buy Cygnus? Red Hat, of course, has a big wad of IPO cash burning a hole in its pocket - and a pile of high-priced shares as well. These resources need to be turned into revenue before the stockholders start to get nervous. Cygnus is a successful free software company which can bring some nice, positive cash flow.
Then there is the matter of the C compiler. Cygnus does not own gcc, of course, but much of the development on the compiler has been centered there for some time. Owning Cygnus would give Red Hat control over a crucial piece of its infrastructure, and would allow Red Hat to perhaps direct more effort toward making it work better with Linux.
Perhaps most important, however, is Cygnus' large role in embedded systems. The consensus appears to be that Linux will be a large force in the embedded arena, and a number of companies (Lineo, Montavista, Prosa) have been developing and pushing embedded Linux distributions. Red Hat, thus far, has not been active in embedded systems. What better way to leapfrog everybody than to buy the dominant open source embedded systems business?
Remember that the above is guesswork at this time; watch the LWN daily updates page for current information.
New antenna designed with a Beowulf cluster. Endgate Corporation has announced a new "customer premises antenna." The press release is mostly about the Linux cluster that was used to design the antenna, however. "The company's Beowulf system, which was developed using off-the-shelf components purchased from a local electronics store, uses 20 Intel Pentium III processors to provide performance equivalent to a nine GHz. computer.... By processing a large number of antenna parameter scenarios in parallel, the Beowulf computer was able to reduce the optimization time for the Toshiba antenna from two months to two days."
Section Editor: Jon Corbet.
November 11, 1999