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TurboLinux and LinuxCare both made staff cuts on Friday, prior to their merger. Newsforge cited anonymous sources as saying that TurboLinux had laid off a third of its staff - 40 out of 120 employees. LinuxCare told CNET that 10 per cent of its staff were being made redundant.

The most prominent major independent Linux distributions have made cutbacks in recent weeks. The news follows SuSE's decision to let cut back two thirds of its US operation, Red Hat's closure of three offices shortly before Christmas, and cash-strapped Corel's decision to pull out of the Linux business.

The two remaining significant, global distros have diversified in recent months. Caldera swallowed SCO's Unix business late last year, and MandrakeSoft, having shaken off its "Red Hat Plus Pack" image, and buoyed by phenomenal popularity in Europe, is banking on training and education revenues. ®

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