Linux in the news
All in one big page
See also: last week's Linux in the news page.
The Red Herring ran this article about the future of open source software as part of its Ten Trends 2000 series. "The demand for paid open-source development will give rise to a major trend in 2000: market systems will emerge that let companies commission custom software from the international community of open-source developers, ensuring that companies get the software they need and that programmers get paid."
News.com reports on Linuxcare's new investments and acquisitions. "Indeed, Linuxcare likely will change its name at some point to Opencare, [CEO] Sarrat confirmed. But for now, the company is chiefly targeting Linux."
Salon Magazine ran this article about the VA Linux IPO, and about spectacular IPOs in general. "By Friday afternoon, anybody who had bought VA Linux at $320 had already lost $102 a share, as the new issue closed the week at $218. But there's something missing from this picture. Everybody knows that IPOs that run up to astounding heights lose a big part of their value within days. So who are the investors naive enough to buy into them?"
Here's USA Today's VA Linux article. "VA Linux's products are easy to copy because its computers are built with readily available pieces, such as Intel chips, says Cory Ostman of AlertIPO. ''Its advantages are not defensible at all,'' he says. ''Investors are just looking at the last five letters of its name.''"
ZDNet reports on the VA Linux IPO. "The main reason Va Linux, Cobalt Networks, Red Hat and others are going bonkers is simple supply and demand. There aren't a lot of publicly-traded pure Linux companies."
Here's another summary article from News.com about VA Linux Systems' IPO. "Cliff Miller, chief executive of privately held Linux seller TurboLinux, said he's pleased that Linux companies are being well received on Wall Street. But he cautioned that potential investors should do their homework, studying the company personnel and often unusual business models before putting in their money."
Also in News.com: VA Linux founder becomes paper billionaire in a day looks at VA's big winners. "Not only did Augustin end the day as a paper billionaire, venture capitalist Sequoia Capital's investment is worth about $2.25 billion. Intel, another investor, holds VA stock worth nearly $1 billion. VA Linux vice president John Hall's stake in the company is worth about $718 million."
Linux Magazine has made available online their August interview with VALinux CEO Larry Augustin. Apparently the topic is thought likely to be of high interest today. "VA Linux Systems is one of the most important companies driving the Linux movement forward," said Linux Magazine Executive Editor Robert McMillan. "Larry Augustin is a truly visionary leader in the Linux Community, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview him earlier this year".
Here is the Washington Post's article about VA's IPO. "In an attempt to give back something to the community of hackers who have built Linux over the years, VA Linux (like Red Hat before it) offered shares of stock at insider prices to people who had been involved in creating Linux over the years. Most were offered 100 shares--at yesterday's closing price, enough to pay for an Audi A4 or, with strong haggling, a BMW 325i."
The LA Times covers the VA IPO. "Technology analysts noted that the huge infusion of cash into Linux companies over the last few months has given the operating system a level of legitimacy and power that few could only dream only a year ago."
Upside chimes in on the VA Linux IPO. "Originally priced at $30 after an almost daily series of pre-IPO markups this week, VA Linux (LNUX) hit the roiling tech market like a can of WD-40 tossed into a late autumn campfire."
Here's the Red Herring's take on the VA Linux IPO. "If the first-day stock performance of VA Linux Systems is any indicator, the end of the millennium signals the end of the world as we know it."
This column in the Detroit Free Press by sports writer Mitch Albom boggles at the VA Linux IPO. "This company is in ...the computer business! What a shock! It sells computers that run not on Windows 95, but on an operating system called Linux. This is not unique. Several huge companies, including Dell and IBM, sell computers like this. And they dwarf VA Linux the way a Sumo wrestler dwarfs a figure skater." (Thanks to Raymond Ingles).
Reuters reports on the VA Linux IPO. "'Thirty five years of IPO research down the toilet,' joked Irv DeGraw, research director at Worldfinancenet.com in Sarasota, Fla. 'It just shows that Linux fever has replaced the dot com mania. A little bit of this is fad. The core of it is that Linux does represent a new direction of the future.'"
The New York Times takes a dim view of VA's IPO. "Internet mania reached new levels of frenzy Thursday as investors paid huge multiples on an initial public offering, giving a market value of almost $10 billion to a tiny company with powerful competitors, little revenue and no expectation of earnings in the foreseeable future." (The New York Times is a registration-required site).
ZDNet's Inter@ctive Investor reports on the repriced VA IPO. "VA Linux upped its price range twice leading up to the offering. On Wednesday, the company said its new range was $28 to $30 per share, up from the $21 to $23 announced Tuesday, and far above the original price range of $11 to $13."
This Reuters article comments on VALinux' debut having an opposite impact on some non-Linux stocks. "Meehan said big name technology stocks such as Microsoft and Intel looked to be taking a hit as investors were distracted by newer issues, such as VA Linux , which was up more than 800 percent at 252 from its $30 initial offering price. "
News.com reports on the Andover.net IPO and the "OpenIPO" process that it used. "Peter Phelps, chief financial officer of Andover.Net, said his company selected the OpenIPO process because it wanted Linux developers to be part of the IPO. According to Phelps, Andover.Net shied away from a traditional IPO because of snafus associated with allocating IPO shares to developers in the Red Hat IPO." Don't be surprised if more future Linux IPOs use this mechanism as an alternative to running complicated programs to get shares to developers.
Here's Upside's take on the Andover.net IPO. "Asked to provide an end-of-the-day analysis, IPO Monitor senior analyst Gail Bronson could only laugh. 'The market's hot for Linux,' Bronson said. 'I think anyone trying to make a microscopic analysis of this is on a fool's errand. If it's Linux, it's gonna go higher.'"
Here's a Reuters article on the first day of trading in Andover.net's stock. "Because interaction between developers is key in the open source community, Andover.Net's Web sites, like Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net, are very popular and their traffic is on the rise. Their sites compile content and commentary, where programmers post news items and rumors and make commentaries on them."
Here is Forbes Magazine's take on Linuxcare's announcements and IPO prospects. "Despite the overwhelming euphoria in the marketplace for anything Linux, it might be wise for Linuxcare to take its time. The company has one of the more viable business models out there, since many industry pundits believe services is going to be the juiciest part of the Linux market."
Reuters is covering the latest moves by Linuxcare, including getting more than $32 million in financing from Dell, Sun, Oracle, Motorola, and others. They have also bought up three companies: The Puffin Group, Prosa, and Cheek Consulting.
Open source figures, of course, in this 1999 retrospective from Salon. "Could there be any better demonstration of how passion can affect the economy? These stock market valuations are fueled in part by the belief of thousands of small investors that Linux is well on its way to world domination. Their willingness to pony up their cash is making that belief come true, provided Red Hat and VA Linux use their market clout wisely."
The Ottawa Citizen, too, has an article about the craziness in Linux stocks. "A potentially significant hurdle to Linux-related companies, however, is the fact that some Linux followers are now trying to create applications that can be given away free along with the operating system. This poses a challenge to companies looking to make money off Linux, say analysts."
Reuters reports on the recent drops in Linux stock prices. "Profit-taking on Tuesday deflated shares of Red Hat Inc., the biggest distributor of the Linux computer operating system, extending a slump that has shaved 28 percent from the high-flying stock in less than a week."
Here's an Ottawa Citizen article about Ottawa-based Linux companies. "At least five companies are developing products based on the Linux operating system that has galvanized world stock markets in the past month. And at least one, Rebel.com Inc. plans to go public by next March. And yesterday's 24-per-cent drop in Corel Corp.'s share price is not expected to slow the action."
Reuters looks at Corel's stock price. "Shares of Canadian software developer Corel Corp. rode Linux mania to a record high Wednesday as interest in the open-source Linux technology continued to surge."
Reuters talks with Linus Torvalds about the Linux frenzy in the stock market. "Torvalds is distributing his operating programme through the Internet for free, and even though he owns some VA Linux shares, he has not yet become one of the 'nerd' millionaires that now populate California's Silicon Valley. Becoming rich could actually hurt his cult status as someone who does programming for kicks not cash, and Torvalds said he was satisfied with the 'ego-boost' the enthusiasm for Linux brings to him."
The Boston Globe uses the Linux stock frenzy to compare Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman. "That's why [Stallman] turned down the chance to invest in two red-hot GNU/Linux companies: Red Hat Inc., a North Carolina firm that distributes and services a version of GNU/Linux; and VA Linux Systems Inc., a California company that makes computers that run GNU/Linux. Both companies include some ''non-free'' software with their products, and Stallman felt that ownership of their stock would fatally compromise his principles."
The (Pittsburgh) Tribune-Review ran this opinion piece about Linux stocks. The author sees little value in Linux, but seems somewhat confused... "Often a good story generates a sequel. Looking for users who do not need a heavy-duty operating system, already a Linux sequel dubbed Linus, is in the works. Apparently the hope is that this version will reach the commercial viability its cartoon namesake did. Viable or not, the story is probably enough to be the catalyst for unfathomable gains in some stocks."
TechWeb has pulled out the top ten findings from its "State of the VAR market 2000" survey. Number six: "One-third of respondents support Linux, up from nil last year."
VARBusiness ran this introductory article. "That near-zero software cost for the operating system means hefty margin potential for VARs."
News.com looks at the Trillian project, and the joining thereof by four Linux distributors. "The Trillian project is a big factor in the future success of Linux, as companies try to push the operating system to the loftier position occupied by the closely related Unix operating system. Though Linux runs on several 64-bit chips, such as the UltraSparc from Sun Microsystems, the Alpha from Compaq and the PA-RISC from Hewlett-Packard, the Linux stronghold today is on 32-bit chips from Intel."
Here's an article on ZDNet (reprinted from the Wall Street Journal) on a plan by Compaq and Samsung to invest $500 million into promoting the Alpha processor. Their plans include "...the creation of a fund to invest in Linux software makers and promote the use of Alpha-based computers." (Thanks to Cesar A. K. Grossmann).
News.com looks at the buyout of Cosource.com by Applix. "'Certainly there will be an opportunity for us to use Cosource to add value to...Applixware,' said Richard Manly, director of marketing for the Applix Linux division."
EE Times ran this article on why Unix systems are more reliable. "In the last 18 months, Unix-type systems have enjoyed a renaissance in the embedded, desktop and server worlds as the platform of choice for mission- and business-critical applications. Much of the resurgence of Unix arises from the adoption of Linux and the success of the open-source movement."
News.com talks with Corel's Michael Cowpland. "Cowpland also dismissed rumors that North Carolina-based Linux supplier Red Hat is looking at Corel as a possible acquisition. 'We have a phenomenal user base, and we're bringing that to Linux. We've got five times more Linux developers than Red Hat. There are no negotiations going on with Red Hat,' he said."
TechWeb ran this Reuters article about Corel CEO Micheal Cowpland's pep talk. "It will take time -- analysts suggest up to one year -- to determine if Corel's Linux strategy adds up on the balance sheet."
Here's a Computer Reseller News article about MySQL. "A Swedish-born Linux database dubbed MySQL is being used as part of an overall freeware combination that may put E-commerce in reach for small and midsize users."
This article in Network World Fusion talks about open-source applications servers - Zope, Midgard, and Enhydra. "These offerings - with intriguing names such as Enhydra, Midgard and Zope - feature most of the same pros and cons of other open source software. They are free and tend to be more easily customizable than their commercial counterparts, but generally lack the service and support infrastructure on which commercial software users have come to rely."
Jerry Pournelle gets a NetWinder, and likes it. "...for what we're doing here this system is wonderful. Communications have never been better. You can treat it as a Linux box and learn to use Linux with it, or you can stay with the Rrebel GUI and treat the NetWinder as a black box that does things for you."
PC World tries out LinuxOne's 'Ready Drive', and is not impressed. "LinuxOne aims for easy installation, but its Ready Drive is anything but."
It seems that Neil Stephenson's classic In the Beginning...Was the Command Line has been released in paperback form (Amazon link). So the Atlantic Monthly has gone and reviewed it. The review looks a little at the book, but is really more of an anti-Linux piece. "There is a kind of warning here, and at the risk of being banned from all the better quadrants of cyberspace, I want to post it: Linux is the second coming of Unix; it's the revenge of the Unix experts known in the culture as the wizards.... This time around, the wizards are camouflaged by Linux to appear friendly, cooperative, even cuddly (with adorable Finnish accents), rather than only bristly, fiendishly technical, and inanely competitive." (Thanks to Phil Austin).
LinuxPower has put up an article about the Linux Business Expo. "While waiting in that line for Linus' keynote, I started scanning people's badges to see how many had attended the LBE and was surprised to discover that many did not have that yellow sticker. I spoke to a few people around me. Many of them hadn't used Linux. But here they were, waiting for an hour to hear a keynote by Linus Torvalds."
TechWeb attended Sun CEO Scott McNealy's keynote at the Java Business conference. "The explosive growth of companies such as Red Hat Software, which makes a business of free software, and the rise of open source software, is forcing companies to look at alternative methods of business beside selling packages of software." (Thanks to Ramon Garcia Fernandez).
Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol
December 16, 1999