VA Linux Systems, O'Reilly & SGI Sponsor Debian GNU/Linux Retail Product

October 12th, 1999

Popular Non-Commercial Linux Distribution Bundled as CD-ROM & Book Package

Atlanta, GA — October 12, 1999 — VA Linux Systems, O'Reilly Associates and SGI, Inc. (NYSE:SGI) announced today that the three companies have come together to support the Debian Project by sponsoring the introduction of the Debian GNU/Linux operating system to major retail stores. Profits from Debian GNU/Linux sales will be donated to Software in the Public Interest, a non-profit organization for Open Source projects including Debian.

Debian is currently the most popular non-commercial version of the Linux(R) operating system, and was voted a LinuxWorld Conference & Expo Show Favorite. Key to Debian's success is its ongoing development by over 500 volunteer developers worldwide who maintain more than 2500 free software packages.

Until now Debian GNU/Linux has been available largely via download from the Internet. The joint effort by VA Linux Systems, O'Reilly and SGI thus marks the first time that Debian GNU/Linux will be packaged and made available with commercial documentation and add-ons as a major retail product.

The combined sponsorship of VA, O'Reilly and SGI is a unique effort allowing everyone to try the non-commercial Debian distribution, said Wichert Akkerman, the current Debian project leader. The distribution has been built with the loving care of over 500 Debian developers, and we hope it will give everyone the same pleasant experience it gives us.

The Debian GNU/Linux package will be offered for a suggested introductory price of $19.95, and will consist of a CD of 1440 open source software packages, along with Bill McCarty's Learning Debian GNU/Linux, published by O'Reilly. In addition, the package will include a demo CD version of Loki Entertainment's Myth II: Soulblighter game software. In keeping with the spirit of Debian, O'Reilly will be making the book freely available online under the Open Publication License.

The Debian Project's Internet-based development model has helped the distribution achieve unparalleled Internet functionality. One of the most popular features in Debian GNU/Linux is apt-get, which automates free network downloads of all software package updates, making the Debian CD the last CD a user would ever need to keep system up-to-date with Linux.

The Debian package sponsored by VA, O'Reilly and SGI will be available direct from, and through major retail and online stores. offers support for the distribution through email, web and IRC. In addition, VA Linux Systems is sponsoring a commercial support package for new Debian GNU/Linux users.

Debian is currently the second most requested Linux distribution among VA Linux Systems customers, said Brian Biles, VA Linux Systems' vice president of marketing. We applaud the Debian Project for its long, outstanding contribution to the Free Software and Open Source communities.

Debian embodies many of the best practices of open source development. Debian's developer community is already the largest in the Linux world; all that it has needed to make it more accessible to new users is better documentation, packaging, and distribution, said Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly & Associates. This distribution will jump Debian into the first rank not just for hard core Linux developers but for everyone.

The Open Source development model has resulted in several key accomplishments including the creation of Debian GNU/Linux, said Dave McAllister, director of strategic technology for SGI. Together with O'Reilly and VA Linux Systems, SGI has ensured greater accessibility to quality Linux solutions.

About the Debian Project

The Debian Project is comprised of over 500 developers worldwide who are committed to excellence in Free Software. Debian GNU/Linux is the result of a volunteer effort to create a free, high-quality UNIX(R)-compatible operating system, complete with a suite of applications. For more information on Debian, see

About VA Linux Systems

VA Linux Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of Linux-based solutions, integrating systems, software and services. VA Linux's broad-based technical expertise in systems and software design, as well as its focus on the Linux operating system and other open source solutions, enables the company to provide high-quality Linux-based systems designed for optimal performance, reliability and scalability. VA also offers comprehensive services and support through its staff of Linux system and software engineers. VA Linux Systems is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and is located on the web at

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly & Associates is recognized worldwide for its definitive books on open source software, the Internet, programming, Windows NT(R) and UNIX(R) operating systems. O'Reilly also produces award-winning Internet software, technical conferences, and innovative web-based courses. From their pioneering bestseller The Whole Internet User's Guide & Catalog (designated one of 100 Books of the Century by the New York Public Library) to GNN (the first Internet portal and commercial website) to WebSite (the first web server software for desktop PCs), O'Reilly has been at the forefront of Internet development. Information about the company can be found at

About SGI

SGI provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, the company is located on the Web at