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Linux and business

Bluepoint Linux is a publicly-traded company; the beginning of trading was announced by the company this week. Bluepoint is trading on the over-the-counter [Bluepoint] market under the symbol BLPT; volume, thus far, is light. For a lot of people who watch the Linux business community Bluepoint came, well, out of the blue. What is this company, and how did it manage to go public so quietly?

Bluepoint is a vendor of Chinese-localized Linux distributions, based in the city of Shenzen. The "Bluepoint Linux 1.0" product is available now, and can be downloaded from their site. It has the look of a Red Hat-derived distribution. Bluepoint claims to have bundling agreements with the three largest Chinese PC vendors, giving it "80% of the Chinese Linux bundling market." Bluepoint's web site also talks about a future embedded distribution and consulting services.

Two web sites are operated by the company, both in Chinese. bluepoint.com.cn is the regular corporate site; they also own openunix.org, which is claimed to be "the most influential Linux site in China." For those of us who don't read Chinese, they also have a few pages in English available.

One of the things Bluepoint claims is support for the Chinese character set at the kernel level. So we pulled down their kernel source package and checked things out. Bluepoint's kernel is a fairly vanilla 2.2.13 one, with the addition of a pair of new codepages and support for a Chinese console. There appears to have been a fair amount of work done to make the console work right - a significant chunk of code has been added. No word on whether it has ever been submitted for inclusion into the standard kernel. Bluepoint has also included an updated set of USB drivers.

Bluepoint also claims a localized version of the X window system. Their X work, however, is explicitly proprietary.

How Bluepoint came to be public is an interesting story. If you dig through Bluepoint's SEC filings, you'll come across this information statement describing a change in ownership of the corporation. It seems that, in February, something called Shenzhen Sinx Software Company was acquired by "MAS Acquisition XI Corp," which promptly changed its name to "Bluepoint Linux Software Company."

MAS Acquisition XI Corp. was owned by a certain Aaron Tsai. It registered its stock with the SEC last year; some interesting things can be found in the registration statement. MAS Acquisition XI went public as a company with no revenue, operations, or even business plan. From the statement:

The Company's purpose is to seek, investigate and, if such investigation warrants, acquire an interest in business opportunities presented to it by persons or firms who or which desire to seek the perceived advantages of an Exchange Act registered corporation. The Company will not restrict its search to any specific business, industry, or geographical location and the Company may participate in a business venture of virtually any kind or nature.
In other words, this company is a "blank check" firm that was created for the sole purpose of providing a "back door" path for another company to go public. Bluepoint took the opportunity; it now has a pain-free public listing, and Mr. Tsai has a few hundred thousand shares for his pains. He seems to be doing well in general - "MAS Acquisition XI" is not the only company of this type he has created - numbers I through X also exist.

The current market capitalization of the company is on the order of $3-400 million - not bad for a company that few have heard of. That puts them in the same scale as eOn Communications, Applix, and GraphOn. Bluepoint has higher ambitions, though. From the press release: "Management believes Bluepoint Linux in China is similar to Red Hat Linux (Nasdaq:RHAT) in the United States, with a $13 billion market cap, and comparable to VA Linux Systems (Nasdaq:LNUX)."

There is no doubt that the principals of Bluepoint would like to be working with the same sort of market capitalization. That's probably wishful thinking for now - it is hard to get the respect of investors by coming in through the back door. But Bluepoint does appear to be a real company doing some real work, and the Chinese market should eventually be huge. They may eventually get somewhere.

(See also: this announcement from Bluepoint that Bluepoint Linux won a performance test carried out by PC World China Weekly).

Corel news: Corel has been in the news for a few reasons this week, including:

  • The resignation of Robert Coates from Inprise's board of directors in protest of the merger with Corel. Mr. Coates does not seem to disagree with the merger itself; it mostly seems to be an issue of how much compensation Inprise stockholders (he is a big one) get out of the deal. The recent decline in Corel's stock price certainly has not improved his outlook on the situation.

    According to this Reuters article, Corel intends to go forward with the merger anyway, without increasing its offer.

  • Corel has announced a tour to unveil and promote WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux. Stops include New York, Washington, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tampa, Houston, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa; see the schedule for details.

  • Corel also put out this press release hyping its accomplishments ahead of the upcoming stockholders' meeting. Not much new there, but it shows where the company thinks it's heading. Linux remains a central part of their strategy.

O'Reilly releases 'MP3: The Definitive Guide. O'Reilly and Associates has announced the release of the MP3: The Definitive Guide. This book "introduces the power-user to all aspects of MP3 technology. It delves into detail on obtaining, recording, and optimizing MP3 files using both commercial and Open Source methods, and covering four platforms..."

LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper & Associates complete merger LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper & Associates have announced the completion of their merger. The new company (which remains LinuxMall.com) will now handle both retail and wholesale distribution of Linux products, giving it a large portion of the Linux marketplace.

LinuxMall.com has also put out this press release presenting itself as a direct challenge to Microsoft. "Recent acquisitions and mergers, including a strategic merger with Frank Kasper & Associates to solidify distribution channels, have poised LinuxMall.com to assume the role of the world's largest 'arms dealer' in the Linux revolution."

German Chameleon Inks Deal with Canadian Dust Puppy SuSE has announced a deal with UserFriendly.org. It seems to involve SuSE using the UserFriendly characters on its web site and marketing materials.

BSDi and Walnut Creek are merging into a new company to be called "BSD Inc." This merger brings together a large vendor of a closed-source BSD variant and a big supporter of FreeBSD, a free BSD variant. They evidently plan to merge the two systems with the final result being still called "FreeBSD," and being primarily an open source product. It's an interesting development - the first big consolidation in the free BSD world. For more information, see this Daemon News article, where we learned everything we know...

Zend PHP Optimizer for free download. Zend Technologies has announced the release of their Zend Optimizer, available for free download. This is a commercial product. "The Zend Optimizer uses multi-pass code optimizations to double the running speed of PHP 4.0 applications. "

New Sendmail Switch product line now available Sendmail Inc. has announced the availability of its new "Sendmail Switch" product line, with prices up peoplebot to $4500. As a sort of "by the way," they also mention that regular sendmail 8.10 is available for download.

Meet the PeopleBot ActivMedia has announced the availability of the PeopleBot, a (relatively) low-cost robot which is programmable under Linux.

It looks like a fun toy, but with a face only a robotic mother could love. Prices start at $6,000.

TurboLinux and Linksys sign bundling deal. TurboLinux and Linksys have announced a deal wherein the TurboLinux distribution will be bundled with Linksys ethernet adapters. There will be 1.2 million copies distributed in this manner.

MontaVista receives $9 million investment. MontaVista Software, the company behind the "Hard Hat Linux" real-time and embedded distribution, has announced that it has received $9 million in investments.

internet.com acquires LinuxApps.com Internet.com has announced the acquisition of LinuxApps.com.

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products:

  • OpenDocs, LLC announced the book Developing Applications for Linux: KDE Edition is now available.

  • STFB Inc. plans to change the open source market for Windows application software by offering open source licensing on all of its current and on all of its future accounting and ERP products. These products include Integral Accounting for VB, Integral Accounting for SQL, Integral Accounting for Java and Integral Accounting for Linux.

  • VA Linux Systems has formally announced the SourceForge CompileFarm - a set of systems running different distributions allowing packages to be built for all.

    Commercial Products for Linux:

  • ABACUS2000 announced LinuxVideos.com, which offers a variety of Linux-related videos.

  • Adaptec, Inc. announced that its Ultra160 SCSI product line will support the Itanium processor, the first in Intel's IA-64 processor line. Adaptec's 64-bit drivers are already embedded in the IA-64 Linux kernel.

  • Looking for the perfect gift for the Linux geek in your life? Check out this press release about Elfstone Software's Attic Treasures. This disc contains tools, applications and utilities, and much more.

  • eOn Communications Corporation introduced the eOn Web Center Software Suite, an application for routing, tracking and responding to e-mail and Internet-based communications in real time.

  • PowerCerv Corporation announced that its enterprise application software solutions are certified and functional on IBM Netfinity servers with Caldera OpenLinux eServer 2.3.

  • Prolific Inc. introduced ProGenesis 2000, the latest version of its Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software.

  • Quadratec Software announced that its backup and restore application, Time Navigator, has added support for VXA-1 tape drives from Ecrix Corporation.

  • Three Axis has announced that it will be porting Nanosaur, a Macintosh game, to Linux.

  • VirtualSellers.com Inc. announced that its TAME software has been selected for inclusion on the Red Hat Linux Application Library CD (LAL), which will be included with the next version of Red Hat Linux.

  • YARC Systems Corporation announced the release of version 1.50 of its Postscript 3 Raster Image Processor software. This release implements full 6 color ICC capability.

    Products Using Linux:

  • eConnect announced that the eConnect/RGTecq Linux Transaction server successfully sent a full Internet ATM card with PIN message format to eFunds, which will be the United States Host processor for eCashPad Internet originated transactions.

  • eConnect announced its initial global network will consist of host systems in the United States, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia and the Dominican Republic, driving the eConnect eCashPad transactions which are being routed to the eConnect Hosts by the eConnect/RGTecq Linux servers.

  • Framfab has a speaking clock that uses a PC-based server equipped with Linux.

  • eDivision.net LLC announced the Linux-based Pop & Server and autoSTUFFER, tools to integrate virtual stores with on-site office computer systems across the fire wall.

  • Gateway introduced its first server appliance, the Gateway Micro Server, a 7.3-inch cube that supports up to 100 users with shared applications such as Internet services and e-mail.

  • Showstar Online.com, Inc. announced the introduction of its first portal development product Showstar Webmail, which uses Linux servers and SSL encryption.

    Java Products:

  • Lutris Technologies has announced that it will be distributing the Enhydra application server on CD at ApacheCon.

    Products with Linux Versions:

  • BiTMICRO NETWORKS unveiled "the world's fastest" EIDE solid state flash disk, the ATX35 E-Disk.

  • Brooktrout Technology announced that it has doubled the density of the TR1000 high density messaging development platform, which now supports up to 60 channels of voice and 8 channels of intelligent fax on a single card.

  • Computational Engineering International released EnSight 7, a major new release featuring a totally revamped graphical user interface (GUI) and the ability to simultaneously visualize multiple models.

  • Computron Software, Inc. announced Linux support on Computron's e-Cellerator technology-based product lines.

  • CyberStar Computer Corporation announced that they have launched EnetPC v1.0 B2B configurator software with Personal Computer Services, Inc. (PCSI), which allows people to configure the systems they want online.

  • Dialogic, a subsidiary of Intel, announced its availability of the DS-3 high-end network interface card.

  • Dot Hill Systems Corp. announced the SANnet 3200 and 4200 series of storage systems

  • Eizo Nanao Technologies announced FlexScan L661 and L680 18.1" viewable-image flat-panel monitors.

  • Eizo Nanao Corporation announced the FlexScan F930, a 21 inch (55 cm) CRT monitor for business, CAD/CAM, graphic design and desktop publishing applications.

  • GENROCO, Inc. announced TURBOstorR Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) to Fibre Channel (FC) bridging and routing switch with software drivers for many platforms, including Linux.

  • InnoMediaLogic Inc. announced the availability of its HYPER-T3 DS-3/STS-1 adapter for packet voice networks.

  • LSI Logic introduced the single chip SYMFC929 dual channel PCI to Fibre Channel protocol controller for 32/64-bit 33/66MHz PCI systems.

  • Lugaru Software announced the release of version 10 of the Epsilon Programmer's Editor, a customizable and extensible editor featuring EMACS and Brief key bindings.

  • NEON Systems, Inc. announced that its Diplomat product now supports the Linux platform.

  • Paramount Technologies, Inc. announced the release of B2B-WorkPlace 7.0, a Web-based procurement service.

  • Performance Technologies, Inc. announced the CPC376, the latest product for T1/E1 telecom network connectivity.

  • RadiSys Corp. launched the EPC-3306 system controller, a CompactPCI (cPCI)-based single board computer.

  • Reliable Software announced a joint collaboration with Swedish-based Klaralvdalens Datakonsult AB to port Code Co-op, a full-featured version control system, to the Linux platform.

  • SafeTPay announced a new service that allows consumers to purchase goods and pay bills over the Internet using their existing ATM-card with PIN (Personal Identification Number).

  • Spatial Inc. announced 3DShare Enterprise (3DS-e), its Intranet-based, CAD file translation and repair solution.

  • Veritools, Inc. announced a Verilog lint checker, HDL Lint v5.0.

  • Veritools announced the release of two new products, Ut_batch and the SuperC-SystemC Simulator, for HDL 2000.

  • VMware, Inc. announced the production release of VMware 2.0 for Linux now available for immediate download.

  • Xenos Group announced the availability of Documorph 2.1, now with Linux support.

    Partnerships, Investments and Acquisitions:

  • Andover.Net and T.C.X. DataKonsult AB of Stockholm, Sweden, publisher of the MySQL relational database, announced a joint development program to implement database replication in MySQL.

  • Berkeley Systems Design, Inc., better known as BSDI, and Walnut Creek CDROM, the primary backer of FreeBSD, are merging.

  • Brocker Technology Group Ltd. announced that their subsidiary Sealcorp Computer Products will be the sole distributor of SGI products in New Zealand.

  • eOn Communications Corporation announced an agreement with Progressive Telecommunications Corporation for the purchase and installation of eOn's eQueue 4000 communications server.

  • GoAhead Software and Ziatech Corporation announced a strategic partnership to integrate GoAhead's cross-platform high availability software with selected Ziatech CompactPCI solutions. The end result should be available in a Linux version.

  • GraphOn Corporation and Tianjin Development Holdings Ltd., announced they have launched a joint venture called GraphOn China Ltd.

  • Lynx Real-Time Systems, Inc. announced delivery of Hewlett-Packard Company's ChaiVM, embedded virtual-machine technology on Lynx' BlueCat Linux operating system.

  • Merlin Software Technologies announced the signing of an agreement with G.T. Enterprises, India's largest Linux distributor.

  • NaviSite, Inc. announced it had entered an alliance agreement with Angstrom Microsystems. As part of the agreement, Angstrom Microsystems will join NaviSite's list of premier development partners, allowing NaviSite to work with Angstrom Microsystems to offer a complete, end-to-end Linux-based e-business system, including hardware, operating system, software and support.

  • Qarbon.com and SuSE have announced the "Linux Viewlet Project." "The project is designed to provide millions of Linux developers and users with a database of free Viewlets addressing the widest possible range of Linux questions."

  • Quantum Corporation announced that IBM's Netfinity Servers can be equipped with Quantum's new Super DLTtape technology.

  • Savoir Technology Group, Inc. became an authorized distributor of SCO's Tarantella Enterprise II Web-enabling software. A Linux version of Tarantella is due out in April.

  • TCI Business Innovations and Smart World Technologies announced a new partnership to extend free 56k Internet dialup service to the North American Linux community.

  • Tech Data Corp., in conjunction with Caldera Systems Inc., is launching an Authorized Linux Education Center for IT resellers.

    Financial Results:

  • Ariel Corp. reported net sales for the year ended December 31, 1999. Ariel's products run on Linux systems.

  • EMJ Data Systems Ltd., developer of White Dwarf Linux, announced its second quarter results for the six months ended January 31, 2000.

  • eOn Communications Corporation announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2000. They make Linux-based communications server products.

  • Wave Technologies reports improved 3rd quarter results. A strong demand for Linux certification is cited.


  • Tom Adelstein, Founder and CIO of Bynari Inc. announced the appointment of E. Scott Crist, Chief Executive Officer of Telscape International, Inc. to their the Board of Directors.

  • Caldera Systems Inc. announced that it has named Richard Wiltbank director of sales for Caldera Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

  • Inprise Corporation announced that C. Robert Coates, CEO of Management Insights, Inc., has resigned from the Board of Directors.

  • LAND-5 Corporation announced that Alton G. Keel, Jr. has been named Chairman and CEO.

  • Red Hat has announced the appointment of Harold Covert, Adobe's ex-CFO, as Chief Financial Officer. No word on what happened to Manoj George, the previous CFO...

  • Tripwire, Inc. announced the appointment of Denise Hayman, successful sales and management professional, as its new vice president of worldwide sales.


  • Dialogic, a subsidiary of Intel, announced that it has expanded its operating system platform coverage with the addition of support for Linux.

  • eLinux.com has announced an affiliate program. They present it as being "in support of the Linux community" ...

  • Group 1 Software announced that effective March 15, 2000, the company will add Red Hat Linux 6.1 to its list of supported operating systems and platforms.

  • The launch of MaximumLinux.com has been announced. The site comes out ahead of the Maximum Linux print magazine, due on the stands next month.

  • TurboLinux has announced the opening of a new Australian office (in Sydney).

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

March 9, 2000


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