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New Red Hat COO could signal major Linux IPO

If you start pulling in start-up veterans, public is often where you're going next

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Red Hat Software has hired a start-up veteran as Chief Operation Officer, in a move that strongly suggests the Linux developer intends to prove Linux's potential via an IPO. According to Red Hat CEO Bob Young, Tim Buckley "brings tremendous experience with emerging companies that will help Red Hat to effectively handle the growth and demand for Red Hat Linux offerings... His insight will help Red Hat continue accelerating the adoption of Linux and the expansion of our business, service and support operations." But Young could equally be beefing-up the company's management prior to a public offering. Buckley has plenty of experience in that area; his previous post was as senior VP of worldwide sales at Visio, but he was involved in Aldus at start-up stage, and also in Approach, which was later sold to Lotus. Buckley simply says he's "excited by the opportunity to fundamentally change the landscape of the computing industry." Which is fair enough, but we think we can see other opportunities in there too. Will investors vote for Linux with the same enthusiasm as they have for Internet stocks? We may soon be able to find out. ®

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