LinuxOne to IPO – but with what, exactly?
Linux distributor appears to have no software, no basis for investment
Updated Following the trend led by Red Hat, Linux distributor LinuxOne yesterday filed its plan to make in an initial public offering of three million shares. Sounds straightforward, but this is one IPO that appears to be anything but straightforward. The company's filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission claims LinuxOne -- a new player in the open source OS distribution business -- will use the money it hopes to raise from the IPO for software development, geographic expansion and -- we note -- Web site development. Could this be because the company doesn't actually have a Web site? Indeed, it doesn't. All the www.linuxone.com site contains right now is an ass-licking statement crediting Transmeta for the page design: all the site says is "This web page is not here yet!", just like Transmeta's has been doing for months now. Original, no? And following the logic of the company's Web site statement, could the whole IPO gig be happening because the company... er... doesn't have any money yet either? LinuxOne's filing with the SEC apparently says the company has been shipping its Linux distribution since "September 1999". Clue: September 1999 isn't over yet... If anyone out there has a copy, we'd love to hear from you. So could it be, as we suspect it might, that LinuxOne is little more than some guy keen to find some start-up capital by IPOing a company that doesn't actually have anything to IPO? We'd never suggest this is some kind of scam -- surely the SEC would never let that one through? -- but it does seem likely that that LinuxOne isn't -- at least not yet -- quite the investment opportunity that it might seem. Update Since we posted this story, we've received numerous emails from Register readers letting us know that LinuxOne's Web site is at linuxone.net, not linuxone.com. And indeed, that is LinuxOne's site, where would-be users of the company's LinuxOpen "commercial" Linux distribution can sign up for a beta test programme for $9.95 a pop. And LinuxOne is not offering its software for download (free or otherwise). Hmmm. LinuxOne describes itself in these words: "LinuxOne, One Stop for Linux, provides world-class quality UNIX (Linux) software targeted to the server, workstation and home environments. It is distinguished by the unchallenged availability of applications and platform support, ease of installation and use, support, and commitment to lead in the development of timely extensions that address the requirements of the market for new functionality. LinuxOne operating software provides stability, security, and usability for the end user. LinuxOne expects to become the highest rated supplier of Linux solutions based on packaging, support, and capability worldwide." Such claims are often inflated, but these seem rather more gas-filled than usual, not least because the company appears to only have been around since August, and doesn't appear to have actually released any software yet. ®
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