This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Selling Free Software and Giving Away the Profit
Oct 12 1999 12:00 AM PDT

Two computer makers and a book seller are getting together to underwrite the packaging and commercial sale of the purest of the several flavors of the free Linux operating system. (Four other companies already offer commercial Linuxes.) Silicon Graphics (SGI), VA Linux, and O'Reilly and Associates will work together to sell and support Debian Linux through retail channels for under $20.

The Wall Street Journal ran a brief, un-bylined piece that omitted the nuances of the story. Stephen Shankland, writing for CNET (CNET), pointed out that this version of Linux is considered the purest embodiment of the ideals of the open source movement - its every bit and byte is open to inspection and modification. The New York Times coverage by Steve Lohr (also picked up by the San Jose Mercury News) noted that all profits from the venture will go to Software in the Public Interest, a nonprofit group that supports open-source software projects. And Lohr was the only one to tip us on how Debian Linux got is name.

It was developed in 1993 by this guy named Ian, you see, who was married to Debra, Lohr reported with a straight face.

Companies Join to Promote a Linux Operating System
New York Times
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Three Firms Team Up to Sell Linux Version at Software Stores
Wall Street Journal
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Three Firms to Boost Traditional Linux Version

Three Join to Promote Linux System
San Jose Mercury News