VA Linux To Help Bring Debian Package To Consumers

VA Linux Systems announced this week that it will tap Loki Entertainment Software to push the Debian GNU/Linux package to consumers through retail channels.

The move is part of the company’s foray into the mainstream Linux software market, which it began last month when it partnered with O’Reilly Associates and SGI, Inc. to distribute Debian, the “non-commercial” Linux bundle.

“The initial response we have received for the Debian GNU/Linux package demonstrates widespread appreciation for the high quality and exceptional Internet functionality of Debian GNU/Linux,” said Brian Biles, vice president of marketing for VA Linux Systems. “Our new relationship with Loki will facilitate wider distribution of the Debian GNU/Linux package, giving more users an easy way to try Debian for the first time.”

The Debian Linux Project

Debian GNU/Linux, heretofore available almost exclusively by way of download from the Internet, is now accessible to consumers in a boxed book and CD set.

The Linux distribution, which includes 1,440 open-source software programs, is maintained by an army of international volunteer developers that make up Debian Project.

“The distribution has been built with the loving care of over 500 Debian developers, and we hope it will give everyone the same pleasant experience it gives us,” commented Wichert Akkerman, current leader of the Debian project.

The Debian GNU/Linux package features “apt-get,” a tool which, according to VA Linux, “automates free network downloads of all software package updates, making the Debian CD the last CD a user would ever need to keep a system up-to-date with Linux.”

Commercial Territory

Retail operations such as Electronics Boutique, J&R Computer World and Micro Center will start carrying Debian GNU/Linux this month. The package is already available through the VA Linux information and e-commerce site.

“Debian is currently the most requested Linux distribution among VA Linux Systems customers,” stated vice president of marketing for VA Linux Systems. Proceeds from sales of the package will be donated to Software in the Public Interest, a non-profit group.

VA Linux, primarily a provider of Linux-based hardware solutions, will also provide Debian customers with a mail-in offer to receive a free Sun Microsystems Star Office 5.1 CD and a demo CD of Loki Entertainment’s “Myth II: Soulblighter” game.

“Loki is thrilled to be part of this effort to give back to the open source community,” stated Scott Draeker, president of Loki Entertainment Software. “We are excited about the debut of Debian GNU/Linux at major retail stores, and are committed to working with VA Linux Systems to make the product available worldwide.”

IPO Around The Corner

VA Linux Systems filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October. The offering, which was called the first major “post-Red Hat” Linux-related public stock move, will hit the street on Monday, December 6th, according to Goldman Sachs.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company will be offering 4.4. million shares of its common stock for $11 to $13 (US$). VA applied to sell its shares on Nasdaq under the symbol “LNUX.”

Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. will be lead underwriter for the IPO, with Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown, Hambrecht & Quist LLC and Lehman Brothers, Inc. acting as additional underwriters.

Proceeds from the offering, according to a VA statement, will “be used for general corporate purposes.”

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