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O'Reilly, VA Linux, SGI to drive Debian retail push

Debian gets Red Hat, Caldera treatment

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VA Linux Systems, SGI and IT-oriented book publisher O'Reilly Associates have come together to push Debian's eponymous Linux distribution through retail channels. For Debian, the move will provide the organisation access with the same kind of mainstream exposure Red Hat and Caldera are already getting for their own Linux distributions. The involvement of O'Reilly is key here. As a book publisher it has extensive experience of the distributing product through retail, both through bookshops and computer stores. VA, meanwhile, will provide technical support to Debian's retail customers. Quite what SGI's input is remains unclear -- we expect it to be primarily financial. Of course, Debian is in a sense already on course for the retail world, thanks to Corel's decision to base its own mainstream-oriented Linux distribution on Debian's own. Still, there's value in the 'more the merrier' approach, and widening the variety of distributions available to a broader public than the online channel currently provides is good for Linux advocates' attempts to promote the open source OS as something other than just a geek toy. Still, the real winners here will be the likes of O'Reilly, VA and other companies seeking to exploit the commercial periphery of this broadly non-commercial OS. O'Reilly has a fine line of Linux titles, and the opportunities for book/software cross-promotion are considerable. VA, meanwhile, can offer extended support and service products to all those new users intrigued by an operating system that costs just $19.95. ® Related Story VA Linux files IPO

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