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Linux and business

Caldera Systems' initial public offering (IPO) is scheduled to happen this Friday, March 17. One publication printed that the price of the offering had been raised from the initial $7-9 level, but that appears not to be the case. Many people are looking to this IPO as an indicator of whether Linux stocks are still interesting to investors or not. There is never any way to really know what will happen until it goes out, however.

Caldera has filed an updated S-1 describing the IPO. There's not much new in the amended S-1, they have mostly just updated some of the financial numbers and added a couple of forms. There is an interesting note, however, about an increase in their reserves due to slower sales of OpenLinux 2.3 than they had been expecting.

In a separate filing Caldera disclosed much of its corporate documentation, including its articles of incorporation and bylaws. There is also the interesting tidbit that the IPO will cost Caldera $2 million beyond the underwriting fees. The largest line item is $600,000 for insurance premiums.

Caldera has also announced a partnership with SCO to sell SCO's professional services to Caldera's customers.

STFB's bogus open source license. Bernhard Reiter noticed this announcement from STFB, Inc. that was mentioned in last week's LWN commerce page. They claim: "STFB Inc. plans to change the open source market for Windows application software by offering open source licensing on all of its current and on all of its future accounting and ERP products." Mr. Reiter went through, however, and actually read STFB's licence agreement, which includes phrases like: "There are no limitations on the number of times the package may be customized and resold. The only restriction is that only the executable program and documentation, and not the source code itself, may be distributed."

In other words, the "open source" claim is bogus. Since the term is not trademarked (or trademarkable), there is nothing stopping STFB from making this claim, other than public pressure. Concerned folks may want to drop a polite note to the given contact address for STFB: erricoe@stfb.com.

Amazon.com calls for patent law reform Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos has put up this page with a call for reform of software and business model patents. His suggestions include a review period prior to the issuance of patents, and a much shorter period of protection (3-5 years). Not perfect, but a step in the right direction.

Tim O'Reilly has put up a response to Bezos' latest. "While Jeff hasn't done what I originally asked for--to rescind his patent claims--he has most definitely engaged with the problems I was raising, thought seriously about them, and proposed an answer that works for him and his business. That being said, I don't want to let Jeff entirely off the hook. One thing about a call for action in Washington is that it could be seen as just a way of shifting the focus away from Amazon and onto the PTO."

Industry leaders launch Embedded Linux Consortium. The Embedded Linux Consortium has announced its existence. Its goal is "to amplify the depth, breadth, and speed of Linux adoption in the enormous embedded computer market;" the initial leader will be Rick Lehrbaum, the guy behind LinuxDevices.com, among other things.

Italy's Prime Minister on Linux. We just got a pointer to a contribution by Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema to the "The action plan for the development of the information society: a project for Italy" conference which was held in January. Linux is held out as an example of how things can be done. "I find it amazing that an operating system ... has been developed by young volunteers - not tied by a contract or monetary remuneration, outside of a business organization - and that this system is able to compete with that elaborate system from a large multinational corporation, which is the richest company in the world" (Editor's translation). The full text (in Italian) is available from the Prime Minister's web site; Babelfish translations are available for the full text as well. (Grazie a Roberto Bagnara).

Alan Cox on a Chip. For those of you looking for the latest in processing technology, check out Alan Cox on a Chip. It has many interesting features, including an "optional 5C00B1 D00 multimedia coprocessor." (Thanks to Lenz Grimmer)

VA Linux Systems to acquire TruSolutions and NetAttach. VA Linux Systems has announced the acquisition of two more companies. The first is TruSolutions, a maker of rack-mount server systems; the second is NetAttach, which is in the network storage appliance business. TruSolutions went for 1.8M shares of VA stock plus $10 million in cash; NetAttach got 286,000 shares plus $10 million.

Applix Announces growth strategy. Applix has put out an announcement describing its future growth strategy. Among other things, this strategy includes spinning off its Linux division as a separate company.

Lineo gets new director, investments. Lineo has announced that John Egan has joined its board of directors, and that it has received equity investments (amounts undisclosed) from Egan Managed Capital and Motorola.

Lineo to acquire USE, Inc. Lineo has announced the acquisition of United System Engineers, a Japanese engineering firm. The main purpose of this acquisition seems to be to allow Lineo to support its Embeddix distribution on a new set of hardware platforms.

SAS comes to Linux. SAS Institute has pre-announced a port of SAS to Linux, scheduled to become available later this year. "Based on positive customer feedback, as well as the increasing number of Fortune 1000 companies looking seriously at Linux as a viable operating-system choice for their enterprise-wide business applications, we felt that the time was right for us to offer a Linux version of SAS software."

Inprise/Borland announces JBuilder 3.5. Inprise has announced JBuilder 3.5 - the latest version of its Java development environment.

VA Linux Systems quarterly report. VA Linux Systems has filed an SEC report for the quarter ending in January, 2000. In that quarter they had just over $20 million in revenues, and lost $11.5 million. There is also a copy of the consent letter signed by Linus Torvalds allowing the use of "Linux" in the company name.

RealPlayer 7 beta for Linux. RealPlayer 7 beta for Linux is available for download, all you have to do is fill out the forms. (Thanks to Robert Taylor).

Open content encyclopedia launched. A project (called "Nupedia") to create an open content encyclopedia has announced its existence. The Nupedia web site is up, but there does not yet appear to be much in the way of content there. Some people have expressed concerns that Nupedia's license agreement, which includes a strong attribution requirement, may make it hard to use Nupedia's content in other settings.

InterBase 6 for Linux beta available. InterBase has put up the first beta release of Interbase 6 for Linux. No source code as yet - they hope to have something "real soon now"... (Thanks to Daniel Work).

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • Intel has announced the release of an open source driver for its ethernet adapter family.

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • Alias|Wavefront announced shipment of its Maya Batch Renderer for the Linux platform.

  • Chili!Soft has announced the availability of its Active Server Pages implementation for Linux. Linux users in general may not have much interest in ASP, but it could well prove to be an indispensible transition tool for those moving to Linux from other environments.

  • Connectix Corporation announced shipment of Connectix Virtual PC with Red Hat Linux. Connectix Virtual PC gives you a hassle-free way to run Linux on a Mac.

  • Corel has announced that Photo-Paint for Linux will be available for free download. Nobody can accuse them of announcing too late, anyway - it won't actually be downloadable until "early summer."

  • DataLight has announced that its "FlashFX" media manager, which makes flash memory devices look like disk drives, will be supported for embedded Linux applications.

  • ILOG has announced that its Parallel Solver system now is supported on Linux.

  • Intelligent Computer Solutions, Inc. unveiled ICMail 4.2.

  • Lynx Real-Time Systems has announced that BlueCat Linux 1.0 will sell for $299.

  • Novell has announced the availability of NDS eDirectory and NDS Corporate Edition for Linux.

  • Rebel.com, vendors of the Linux-based Netwinder series, has announced its shop.rebel.com site.

  • Sendmail, Inc. announced Sendmail Secure Switch, a next generation Internet Mail routing solution.

  • VA Linux Systems, Inc. announced the availability of the VA Linux Systems 1000 server, a high-performance, very high density rackmount server in a 1U (1.75") format.

    Products Using Linux:

  • Last week our commerce page had an article about a Swedish talking clock, apparently made by a company called Framfab. A couple of readers wrote in to tell us that Framfab was only responsible for about 10% of the system. The rest, we are told, was made by Cendio Systems AB, Telia and Swedish National Testing and Research Institute. Here is Cendio's press release in Swedish. (Thanks to Jan Smith and Jerker Nyberg)

  • Neoware and Csoft have announced a partnership to develop and market Linux-based point of sale and kiosk systems.

  • Red Hat, Inc. announced that its eCos (embedded configurable operating system) is powering Brother International Corp.'s HL-2400CeN & HL-3400CN laser printers.

  • VillageWorld.Com announced that it is in trial testing of its Linux-based Set-top system.

  • Worldwide Online Corp. announced the launch of Phase I of the application development for RegisterOnNet Technologies Inc., of Mississauga, Ontario. RegisterOnNet has developed a Linux based system, supported by an Oracle database application, providing a dynamic, business to business, e-commerce application.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • Advantech Co., Ltd. announced the SPC-200, a compact thin server.

  • Aestiva LLC announced Aestiva HTML/OS, which allows anyone to design advanced Web sites without CGI programming or the need for complex integration tools.

  • Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), producer of the Satellite Tool Kit (STK) software suite, announced that the next release, STK 4.1.1 and its add-on modules will run on any Linux release compatible with Red Hat Linux version 6.0.

  • BulletProof Corporation released version 4.0 of JDesignerPro, its Java Development and Deployment system.

  • Chronology Corporation announced the shipment of several new advancements to its QuickBench Verification Suite. Linux support is new with this version.

  • Compaq Computer Corporation announced SANworks Storage Resource Manager, an Open SAN management tool.

  • Data Connection Limited announced that DC-Share for Linux has entered external beta testing with full release scheduled for 2nd quarter 2000. DC-Share is a NetMeeting-interoperable, standards-based, H.323- and T.120-compliant VoIP conferencing endpoint.

  • Egan Systems, Inc. introduced an enhanced COBOL runtime environment. Available for an Apache HTTP Server running on Red Hat Linux.

  • GoAhead Software announced the release of GoAhead FieldUpgrader 2.2, the latest version of the company's remote upgrading software.

  • Inference Corporation announced the availability of k-Commerce Sales v2.0.

  • Intergraph Corporation announced availability of the new version of DiskAccess, the Network File System (NFS) interoperability client software. This version has improved connectivity with Linux NFS servers.

  • IONA Technologies announced Orbix 2000, an e-business middleware product.

  • JNI Corporation announced it has released the PC Server DriverSuite, the "world's first" integrated suite of software drivers for Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs).

  • JNI also announced 'Novell Yes' Certification for the Fibre Channel HBAs.

  • Network TeleSystems (NTS) announced the release of the EnterNet Software Developers Kit (SDK), a product designed to assist broadband service providers, chipset vendors, and CPE suppliers who are developing, testing, and demonstrating subscriber-oriented software and related system-level applications. The Linux version of this product comes with source code.

  • PentaSafe Security Technologies, Inc. announced VigilEnt Security Management Solution for e- business.

  • PowerCerv Corporation released ERP Plus version 9.0. ERP Plus is an integrated suite of Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, and version 9.0 is the first version to support Linux.

  • Rave Computer Association introduced the Rave Systems RackMount-1UAXe, for Solaris or Linux.

  • SoftBase Systems, Inc. announced the availability of NetLert 2.0 software in a version optimized for the corporate call center environment.

  • SolutionsIQ announced the launch of CONNX 8.2, its latest version of data access middleware, which will add support for IBM's recent and current versions of DB2 database on several platforms, including Linux.

  • Sonica Software Corporation announced the availability of Sonictrack-ifs, a Warehouse Management System.

  • One has to wonder what the DVDCC thinks of this announcement from Ultera Systems and NewWave Technologies. It's a hardware solution (supported under Linux) which allows up to twelve copies of a DVD to be made at once - no DeCSS software required.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • Here's the press release from BSDi describing the merger with Walnut Creek CDROM. It contains more information on the merger, and includes a mention that Yahoo will be taking an equity investment in the new company.

  • Corel Corporation announced it has signed a Department Individual Standing Offer, with Public Works and Government Services Canada, for Corel business and graphics applications.

  • Eagle Wireless International, Inc. and etoolz, Inc. announced the signing of a letter-of-intent for the acquisition of etoolz by Eagle.

  • Hewlett-Packard Company announced that its WebQoS technology is available for sale anywhere HP OpenView products are sold, and HP WebQoS will be fully integrated into the OpenView Authorized Partner Program.

  • IBM formed a string of strategic partnerships with top wireless and Internet names in Europe and the United States. IBM said it and its partners aim to foster an "open source" community in wireless.

  • The Linux Journal has announced that it will be cosponsoring the "Linux University" events being run by SGI.

  • Merlin Software Technologies announced that IBM has awarded Merlin's PerfectBACKUP+ network backup and crash recovery tool as an IBM Netfinity Partner.

  • Microtest, Inc. announced an alliance with Enhanced Software Technologies. Microtest will bundle EST's Backup and Restore Utility (BRU) with FileZerver allowing users to schedule unsupervised backups.

  • Platform Computing announced support for LSF 4.0, its new application resource management suite, from Compaq Computer Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Co., SGI and Synopsys.

  • Rogue Wave Software announced that the Intel 64 Fund has made an investment in the company, for the development of optimized versions of its cross platform and Stingray product lines for Intel's upcoming IA-64 product family.

  • Sealcorp Computer Products announced that it is the sole distributor of Silicon Graphics products in New Zealand.

  • Silicon Valley Research, Inc. announced the completion of a $1 million funding. The Company is also continuing to focus on the sale of Linux versions of its software that run on Red Hat Linux 6.1.

  • SteelEye Technology, Inc. announced that it has completed the strategic acquisition of LifeKeeper. "LifeKeeper will become the centerpiece of SteelEye's strategic offering for the Linux community".

  • Technauts announced that it has entered into a joint development arrangement with Tata Consultancy Services, a large global consulting company, to open an engineering center in India. Technauts makes a Linux-based eServer information appliance.


  • Covalent Technologies has announced the makeup of its Apache "dream team", which includes a number of well-known Apache developers.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. announced that Bill Blair has joined their management team as vice president, marketing and vendor services.

  • iBIZ Technology Corporation announced that they have completed employment agreements for new members of their Internet services group. Brad Senff, Phil Senff and Mike Phillips will be managing all technical aspects of equipment implementation, facilities specification and operations. Brad's background indicates significant expertise developing and maintaining Linux, BSD and Unix-based systems.

  • IDC announced Matthew Eastwood has joined the program as research manager.

  • Resonate, Inc. announced the appointment of Alan Button as vice president of sales.


  • 1mage Software, Inc. announced the installation of its first Linux-based imaging system to Plastic Dress-Up Co., a manufacturer of awards and recognition components.

  • Centromine, Inc. announced plans to upgrade to the Linux Operating System with Allaire's ColdFusion 4.5 release.

  • Computone Corporation has issued this press release about Linux. "'Last year, we took part in more than a dozen Linux industry events with Caldera as part of our ongoing commitment to the Linux industry,' [Computone president Pickerign] said, noting that drivers for Computone's Gold Card RS-232 serial PCI controllers and its IntelliPort II family of high-speed serial communications products, are incorporated in the Linux kernel source code base."

  • Cybernet Systems, provider of Linux-based software for Internet appliances, posted this corporate profile.

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. announced an increase of 268% in unique visitors to its Linux web sites, www.TheLinuxStore.com; www.Linuxwired.net; and www.TheLinuxLab.com.

  • Another company trying to broker Linux support services is eLance, which has put up this page where projects can be posted and consultants found. They currently have several projects listed.

  • This press release compares the web-sites of 5 presidential hopefuls. Al Gore is listed as having the 2nd fastest site, and he is running Apache/1.3.9 on Red Hat Linux.

  • Quicknet Technologies, Inc. reported the success of the IP Telephony Demo Center at the Computer Telephony Expo Spring 2000. It seems Linux was big hit.

  • TurboLinux, Inc. announced that judges at the IT 2000 Sydney computer show had named TurboCluster Server as the Corporate IT Best Product winner for enterprise-class customers and Finalist Best Product honor at the Linux Open Source Expo & Conference.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

March 16, 2000


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