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NY Times: Intel Expected to Buy Stake in Linux Firm

“NEW YORK — Computer chip giant Intel Corp. is expected to be
the latest company to announce its endorsement of Linux, a
well-regarded version of the Unix operating system used by
businesses to run computer networks and Internet sites.

In a move that could be announced as soon as today, Intel is
buying a multimillion dollar stake in VA Research, a Mountain View,
Calif.-based maker of business computers that run on Linux,
industry sources said.

Officials at both the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel and VA
Research declined comment.

Linux was developed in the early 1990s by a Finnish student
named Linus Torvalds. The grassroots software is edging into the
mainstream as users embrace its flexibility and its propensity to
avoid crashing. `We think Linux as the biggest thing since the
Internet,’ said Larry Augustin, chief executive of VA Research. He
declined to comment on any investments.

Last fall, Intel took a stake in Red Hat, a Durham, N.C.-based
distributor of Linux software. Several major computer makers such
as Hewlett Packard and IBM have begun selling machines loaded with
Linux.

VA’s machines are expected to be adapted to work with Intel’s
upcoming chip for high-end business computers, known as Merced.

While Linux is rapidly gaining acceptance as an operating system
for business machines, it’s still used in only a small fraction of
computers and hardly appears on desktops. Microsoft officials
dismiss Linux as only a minor rival.


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