EBIZ Re-Launches TheLinuxStore

By Matthew Beale
Nov 4, 1999 12:00 AM PT

EBIZ Enterprises, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of Linux-based computer systems, has re-designed and re-launched its e-commerce Web site, TheLinuxStore.com, and boosted online offerings with the added value of the recently acquired JustLinux.com open-source community site. Pushing to be the "Everything Linux" stop online, TheLinuxStore now offers e-commerce patrons the choice of purchasing not only computers, peripherals and software, but also books, "GeekGear," and even Penguin brand peppermints.

EBIZ Re-Launches TheLinuxStore

Vendors whose Linux-based products are available include Alpha Processor, AMD, Applix, Caldera, Compaq, Intel, Macmillan USA, O'Reilly Publishing and Red Hat.

"Our goal is to provide a meaningful comprehensive Linux destination on the Internet, dedicated to providing fast and convenient access to everything Linux-related -- from products and services, to downloads, links, message boards, jobs and more," commented EBIZ CEO Jeffrey Rassas.

Rassas added that "prior to TheLinuxStore, if you wanted a Linux server, notebook PC, a Red Hat boxed set, a tape back-up, and download software, plus catch up on the latest Linux headline news and post questions on Linux message boards, you had to go to numerous different Web sites."

Just the Linux, Ma'am

TheLinuxStore recently acquired JustLinux, a community Web site similar to the renowned Slashdot.org that was acquired by Andover.net earlier this year, and now offers its online customers a directory of Linux people, downloads, e-mail forwarding, FAQs, home-page re-direct, Linux-related links, projects and support.

"Adding JustLinux.com provides tremendous synergy with TheLinuxStore," stated Stephen Herman, president of TheLinuxStore. "The two sites will operate autonomously, with some integration between them."

A Penguin With Mass Appeal?

TheLinuxStore offers the Element-L Ion system, a low cost PC that ships with an Intel Celeron 333 MHz processor and a price tag of approximately $400 (US$). The Element-L is a product line that also includes desktop and notebook computers, alpha computer systems, servers and workstations.

Earlier this year, EBIZ brought out another low-priced Linux-based computer that garnered a tremendous amount of mainstream media attention. The Personal Internet Appliance (PIA), a sub-$200 system aimed primarily at net virgins, sold out upon market introduction, but will again be available later this month, according to EBIZ.

EBIZ has forged a strategic partnership with Wall Street sensation Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) to provide the open-source operating system (OS) for its computer offerings, and also recently struck up a deal with software vendor Corel Corp. (Nasdaq: CORL) to additionally bundle WordPerfect 8 for Linux.

"Corel is very dedicated to the development of Linux and to bringing it into the commercial world, and we are proud to partner with another company who shares our commitment," commented Dr. Michael Cowpland, president and CEO of Corel. The Ottawa, Canada-based company will be debuting its own distribution of the Linux OS, however, at the COMDEX convention November 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Giving Back a Little

EBIZ recently established a non-profit group, The Linux Store Fund, Inc., which will allocate grants to support open-source development projects. Working with an initial $10,000 seed grant from EBIZ, the company will donate $1 from each online purchase toward the organization's fund.

Red Hat recently established a similar non-profit organization of its own. Looking to "sponsor, support, promote and engage in a wide range of projects intended to advance the social principles of open-source for the greater good of the general public," according to a company statement, the Durham, North Carolina-based Linux vendor founded the Red Hat Center for Open Source (RHCOS).

Working with an initial funding of $8 million in a combination of cash and Red Hat stock, RHCOS will back open-source projects. Red Hat, who recently released version 6.1 of its OS package, offered an initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock in August that brought in close to $5 billion.

"Today, much advanced research and intellectual pursuit is funded by private industry for proprietary purposes," observed Bob Young, CEO and chairman of Red Hat, and RHCOS founding director. "The time is right to introduce an approach that will seed new advances and foster innovation for everyone's benefit."

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