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boston.internet.com: More Linux Madness

Aug 22, 2000, 20:59 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gavin McCormick)

By Gavin McCormick, boston.internet.com

VA Linux Systems Inc. (LNUX), a Sunnyvale, Calif., firm that sells Linux-based computers and support, has united content from its popular open source websites into the Open Source Development Network.

The new network, which today launches in a beta version, integrates content from websites long controlled by VA Linux, including Linux.com, SourceForge and Themes.org, along with those formerly under the umbrella of Andover.Net, such as Slashdot.org, Freshmeat.net and QuestionExchange.

VA Linux bought Andover.Net earlier this year. Originally announced in February, the all-stock transaction slipped from an original valuation of $900 million to about $300 million when the two stocks became caught in the spring Nasdaq crash.

OSDN.com users will be able to create a personalized log-in page to capture content most of interest to them. The portal site will also feature e-mail, instant messaging and a message board for open source community discussions, including a forum where users can request new features and suggest improvements.

Web communities have played a key role in the development of Linux, which makes its core software freely available for developers to append, upgrade and redistribute.

"The goal of the OSDN is to uphold open source values and support both today's advocates and tomorrow's expanded community with unparalleled resources for information, communication and collaboration," said John T. Hall, VA Linux's vice president of strategic planning. "Together, we are fundamentally changing the way people develop software."

VA Linux said the individual sites will continue to maintain editorial independence. Community organizations and open source projects can also contribute content to the portal through a community content provider program.

Development sites at OSDN include SourceForge, which provides free software tools and resources for more than 7,500 projects and 50,000 developers and QuestionExchange, which provides access to 5,000 developers and information technology pros.

Distribution of Linux-based applications takes place at OSDN sites Freshmeat, which lists more than 10,000 applications and is usually the first place on the Internet where new Open Source software is announced; Themes.org, a community for graphics and design software; and ThinkGeek, an online store for developers.

Linux discussion sites include Slashdot, Linux.com, Geocrawler and NewsForge, a news site delivering articles, reviews and press releases.

A new print publication, Open magazine, is also in development.

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