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Linux and Business

E*Trade and the Red Hat IPO. Many of you will likely remember the troubles that some people had in participating in Red Hat's IPO a year ago last August. Participants had to pass through the gauntlet of E*Trade's questionnaire, followed by a last minute reconfirmation dance when the IPO price was raised (to $7, split adjusted). Most people probably thought that this story was closed long ago, especially since, in the end, 1150 of the 1300 developers who indicated interest in participating were able to do so (according to former Red Hat manager Donnie Barnes).

As it turns out, the story was not over. One person who wished to participate was Semyon Varshavchik, otherwise known as "mrsam." He was one of those who never was successful in joining the IPO, and he was not pleased. So he filed an arbitration claim against E*Trade, claiming that he had been unfairly denied the opportunity to participate.

This case went on for a year. Over that year, some interesting things turned up. For example, E*Trade appears to have "lost" 200,000 of the Red Hat shares that were supposed to be distributed in the offering - 25% of the total they were allotted. It also turns out that there was no SEC-mandated requirement for the questionnaire that E*Trade made participants answer. That much has been clear for a while, since companies like VA Linux Systems and Caldera Systems were able to run community offering programs without that formality.

In August, Mr. Varshavchik won his case; he was awarded $14,800 in damages from E*Trade, plus interest and legal fees. That is far short of the almost $55,000 requested, but is still a clear victory.

Others who were denied the ability to participate in the IPO may want to consider similar action. A great deal of information on this case may be found in Mr. Varshavchik's "etrouble" pages; it makes for interesting reading in any case. (See also this Slashdot article, which is were we found this story).

Free Standards Group releases Linux Development Platform Specification. The Free Standards Group has announced the release of the Linux Development Platform Specification. The LDPS, first covered in the August 3 LWN Weekly Edition, defines a base set of capabilities that all Linux systems should provide. This set, along with some programming guidelines, is intended to help application developers write code that is portable across distributions.

SAP to release database under GPL. SAP has announced the forthcoming release of its SAP DB database management system under the GPL. It will apparently be available toward the end of the year. A site is being set up at sapdb.org to support the release and subsequent development work.

Cnation Unveils Open Source Platform, BingoX. Noting sites such as Fox Interactive and eToys.com as users, Cnation announced the release of their BingoX Web development environment as an open source product. Based around Perl and Apache, "BingoX is an open source, object oriented Web Application Framework written in mod_perl that is meant to dramatically reduce the time required to build large dynamic, database driven web sites and applications". Cnation has released BingoX under the LGPL license.

Vita Nuova to distribute Plan 9 in a box. Vita Nuova has announced its intention to sell a boxed version of the Plan 9 operating system.

Press Releases:

Open Source Products

Unless specified, license is unverified.
  • The Internet Software Consortium (REDWOOD CITY, Calif.) announced the release of BIND 9, written by Nominum, Inc. under an ISC outsourcing contract. BIND, an acronym for Berkeley Internet Name Domain, is the most commonly used domain name server on the Internet and implements the Domain Name System (DNS) suite of protocols. Available as Open Source from the Internet Software Consortium, BIND 9 supports IPv6 and the DNS security enhancements specified by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Distributions and Bundled Products

  • LinuxPPC Inc. (WAUKEHSA, Wisconsin) announced that it has licensed the Hard Disk Toolkit*PE partitioning tool from FWB Software, LLC.

  • Red Hat has announced its support for the entire IBM eServer line.

  • SuSE Linux AG (Nuremberg, Germany) announced that SuSE Linux 7.0 is tested and optimized for Oracle8i.

  • SuSE Linux AG announced their full support for IBM eServers.

  • VA Linux Systems has announced the availability of a series of rack-mount servers with the Debian distribution installed.

Commercial Products for Linux

  • Forlink Software Corp. Inc. (BEIJING) announced that PC-Computing Magazine has honored Forlink's full-text For-Search search engine with its Five-star Product distinction in the New Product category.

  • Synopsys, Inc. (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced the availability of a tool suite for high-level design on the Linux operating system. In addition to the complete RTL synthesis solution with Synopsys' flagship product Design Compiler, the list of Linux products includes PrimeTime, Synopsys' gate-level static timing analysis tool for System-on-a-Chip, Scirocco high-performance VHDL Simulator, and Module Compiler.

Products Using Linux

  • AMD has announced the release of a simulator for its 64-bit processor line. This simulator, which runs on Linux, allows the porting and testing of code without the need for an actual x86-64 processor.

  • Extended Systems (BOISE, Idaho) will embed the McAfee VirusScan engine into its ExtendNet 4000 Internet appliance and offer the service as an option to new customers or as an add-on to existing customers.

  • MSC.Software Corporation (LOS ANGELES/COSTA MESA, Calif.) announced the release of MSC.visualNastran Desktop 2001 for Solid Edge, built using MSC.Linux.

Products with Linux Versions

  • Advanced Management Solutions Inc. (REDLANDS, Calif.) announced that the Python programming language has been embedded into AMS REALTIME, its suite of project and resource management software.

  • BackWeb Technologies (SAN JOSE, Calif.) unveiled BackWeb Foundation Release 6.0 and e-Accelerator v2.1, the next major versions of BackWeb's Polite push-based communications infrastructure solutions. A Linux port is in the works.

  • Executive Technologies, Inc. (BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) announced SearchExpress/Spider, a high-performance Spider and search engine that can crawl the Internet or a corporate intranet to retrieve and index millions of documents per day.

  • FGL Graphics (MUNICH, Germany & SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced that Fujitsu Siemens Computers, the manufacturer of CELSIUS workstations, will integrate FGL Graphics' new Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 accelerators into all CELSIUS models.

  • IBM (SOMERS, NY) introduced DB2 Everyplace, a compact relational database. Embedded Linux support is new with this version.

  • IBM (RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.) announced the IBM eServer(a) xSeries(a) 330, a 1U thin server.

  • MathSoft Inc., Data Analysis Division(SEATTLE) introduced S-PLUS 6 for UNIX, a major enhancement to the company's statistical data mining software. It is initially available for Linux and Solaris.

  • MQSoftware, Inc. (MINNEAPOLIS) announced that it is enabling Q Pasa!, its management tool for MQSeries, to work with IBM's WebSphere software platform for e-business.

  • PolyServe (BERKELEY, CA) announced an agreement with Network Associates' McAfee division in which McAfee will begin co-branding and distributing PolyServe products throughout their worldwide sales channels. PolyServe's Understudy and LocalCluster products will be marketed as McAfee Understudy and McAfee LocalCluster.

  • SGI (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced several enhancements to its support services, resulting in more choices and increased flexibility for customers receiving support from SGI. This includes Linux and IRIX support.

  • Tech Soft America (ALAMEDA, Calif.) announced the availability of the HOOPS Internet Tools v2.0. HOOPS Internet Tools are composed of the HOOPS/Stream, HOOPS/ActiveX, and HOOPS/Netscape Toolkits, as well as source-code references for both the ActiveX and Netscape Plug-in environments.

Java Products

  • Saffron Technology (RESEARCH TRIANGLE, N.C.) announced commercial availability of SaffronOne, which integrates with any Java-enabled IT platform to observe interactions between people and computers, locate experts in the context of user needs, and then use that information to predict relevant and accurate outcomes.

  • Sun Microsystems released the Java 2 Standard Edition SDK v1.3 for Linux. (Thanks to Greg Bailey).

Books and Training

  • Jabber.com, Inc. (DENVER) announced it has reached a multi-faceted instant messaging training and certification agreement with Kaivo, an open source solutions provider. The agreement creates the first Jabber Instant Message Training Program and Certified Developers Network.

  • LinuxCertified.com has announced a Linux certification bootcamp, to be held in the San Francisco Bay area the weekend of November 18. Attendees get a Linux laptop as part of the program.

  • O'Reilly has announced the release of Java Examples in a Nutshell, a book devoted entirely to examples of Java code. Almost 18,000 lines worth. It's written by David Flanagan.

  • Sams Publishing has wasted no time in announcing the publication of Red Hat 7 Unleashed.

  • TurboLinux has announced that it will be doing a series of "Mission Possible" seminars with IBM.


  • eOn Communications Corporation (MEMPHIS, Tenn. and BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) announced an expanded partnership with E Tech Communications, Inc. in which E Tech will market, install and service eOn's new Linux-based eNterprise communications systems.

  • EBIZ and LinuxMall.com have finally announced the completion of their merger. Given that they had announced the finalization of the agreement in August, this last step has taken a while. The company remains in Arizona, and there is no longer talk of calling the whole thing "LinuxMall.com."

  • EBIZ Enterprises Inc. (SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.), parent company of TheLinuxStore.com, announced an exclusive partnership with User Friendly Media Inc. The partnership will see the creation of a vendor-neutral online mall specializing in Linux-related products and services, branded with the characters from the User Friendly daily episodic cartoon strip.

  • Rackspace Managed Hosting (SAN ANTONIO) announced a partnership with WebTrends Corporation, which will provide Rackspace customers with analysis of the behavior patterns and preferences of visitors to their Web site using WebTrends' software.

Investments and Acquisitions

  • Dialtone Internet, Inc. (FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla.), a provider of Linux dedicated hosting and colocation solutions, announced the completion of a $2.0 million round of financing. Funds were raised from CrossBow Ventures, and are earmarked for International expansion in Latin America, Europe and Asia.

  • Northern Lights, Inc. (TOKYO), a Linux-based system solutions provider, announced that Intel Capital has invested in the company. Financial details were not disclosed.

  • TurboLinux has announced the receipt of another $30 million in venture funding. The investors include Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, SGI, Dell, and Intel.

Financial Results

  • Motorola, Inc. (SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) reported sales of $9.5 billion in the third quarter of 2000.

New Offices/Personnel

  • MontaVista Software, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif. & MUNICH, Germany), developer of the Hard Hat Linux operating system for embedded applications, announced the inauguration of its direct presence in Germany with a new office in Munich.


  • PalmWorks Inc. (LEAGUE CITY, Texas) announced it is changing its name to Zydant Corporation. President and CEO, James T. Voss is quoted, "At Zydant, our goal is to provide the best applications, content and services for all Wireless PDA devices whether they are based on PalmOS(R), Windows(R)CE or Linux(R) operating systems."

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

October 12, 2000


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