MicroTimes: Bay Area a Haven for Linux Vendors

Thanks to collin for this

“If the Bay Area isn’t the center of the Linux systems hardware
universe, it must be a large universe indeed. With at least seven
local companies selling PCs pre-loaded with Linux, the Bay Area is
clearly an ‘in’ place for Linux hardware developers.”

“Extensive searches on the Web revealed just a dozen or so
non-Bay Area vendors of pre-configured Linux systems, a small
number considering the growing popularity of the free, open-source
Linux operating system (OS).”

“While many Linux hardware vendors nest in the Bay Area, Linux
OS software vendors are scattered across the country. The biggest
vendors of Linux ‘distribution’ packages including Red Hat Software
Inc., Durham, NC, which markets Red Hat 6.2, and Caldera Inc.,
Orem, UT, which distributes OpenLinux 1.2. But the Bay Area can
boast of a major player even in this market. The third principal
Linux vendor, SuSE (www.suse.com), Nuremberg, Germany, has an
Oakland-based division selling a variety of pre-configured Linux

“The Bay Area also boasts a key Linux resource: people who
really know the OS. Two local pioneers, Larry Augustine and Jeff
Nguyen, got involved with the operating system while at electronic
design software-automation software firm Fintronics in the early
1990s. Linux offered them a way to run a reliable, high-performance
UNIX-like environment – and Fintronics’s chip-design software – on
low-cost Intel-based PCs rather than high-end UNIX systems. Red Hat
Linux, one of the more popular commercial version of this operating
system, is available from most Bay Area Linux resellers and systems

“That the Bay Area in general – and Silicon Valley in particular
– should become a center of Linux systems vendors is no big shock,
says Augustine, now president and CEO of VA Linux Systems. ‘We’re
at about 105 people, up from 17 to 20 in November [1998],’ he says,
‘and where else can you go to get the type of people and the
resources you need to run this type of business?'”