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October 12, 1999

VA, O’Reilly, SGI Fund Commercial Debian GNU/Linux Package

By CBR Staff Writer

By Rachel Chalmers

VA Linux Systems, O’Reilly & Associates and SGI have teamed in an effort to bring the Debian GNU/Linux distribution into the retail market. Debian is maintained by a non-profit group called Software in the Public Interest (SPI). Until now, the distribution has been available principally via download from the internet. Various Debian CDs have been burned for sale, but VA and its partners weren’t happy with the quality of these.

Their joint effort will see Debian packaged and sold for around $20 through and other online and retail stores. All profits will be donated to SPI. Buyers will get a CD with 1440 open source software packages, plus a copy of O’Reilly’s book Learning Debian GNU/Linux, by Bill McCarty. O’Reilly has agreed to make the book freely available under the Open Publication License. Debian’s internet savvy won’t go to waste; it should be possible to upgrade the CD through the automatic download facility on the web site.

While the partnership is clearly intended to ensure that VA and SGI continue to have access to a non-commercial Linux distribution as well as Red Hat, TurboLinux, Caldera and SuSE, the deal is not entirely business-oriented. The Loki Entertainment game Myth II: Soulblighter will also be thrown in. And while we’re on the subject of Loki, that company has also announced an open source games installer for Linux.

Loki’s Setup 1.0 is a graphic installer utility developers can use to create simple, standardized install routines. It uses XML description files to describe a package, and a console and a Gtk front-end to install it. The install process creates its own uninstall script, so removing a game should be as straightforward as loading it up in the first place. In other Linux-related news, VA has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering (see separate story).

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