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Linux Journal: Comdex Revisited

Nov 23, 1999, 19:36 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Doc Searls)

"Da Hilton is adjacent to Da Convention Center, which has several parts, each a box with the square footage of an airport. I spent half an hour looking for the Linux Business Expo in the wrong hall. When I finally found the right one, somewhere under the Hilton, I joined the studio audience of Linux Today's live radio show, which was being broadcast on the Net in front of a live audience consisting of me, two Slashdot guys and one Linuxcare guy. Onstage, Bob Young of Red Hat was sandwiched between the two radio hosts (Emmett Plant and Paul Ferris). The subject at hand was all the news Red Hat had just made by acquiring Cygnus for (did my ears hear this right?) about two-thirds of a billion dollars (more about this below). In other Red Hat news, Bob kicked himself upstairs, to Chairman, handing over his presidency to Matthew Szulik. Most common question at the show: "Who?..."

"By the end of that first day, it was pretty clear to me that Corel was the star of the Expo. They gave terrific demos and always drew crowds. And not just by throwing around free t-shirts and other bait; they had real stories to tell and real content to share. I loved their energy, frankly. More than any other company at the show, they are equally Linux- and Windows-native, and seemed to be making the most of their enthusiasm for the former and their experience with the other...."

"Needless to say, The Cygnus Deal was topic number one at the Linux Business Expo. My own take: the price has the look of a nonrefusable offer. According to rumor, Red Hat has had a hard time making the acquisitions necessary to grow into the major player that the market bets it will become. It seems as if other Linux companies want to get rich the same way Red Hat did: with their own IPOs. Would a post-IPO Cygnus be worth $674 million? Probably not, hence the deal. Of course, not everyone agrees."

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