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Linux contender Penguin Computing names new CEO

Penguin Computing has hired a new, more experienced chief executive to try to grapple with its main competition, VA Linux Systems, and sagging investor enthusiasm for Linux.

Penguin Computing has hired a new, more experienced chief executive to try to grapple with its main competition, VA Linux Systems, and sagging investor enthusiasm for Linux.

The new CEO is Martin Seyer, who led an e-commerce division and a server group at NCR over six years and handled marketing for the launch of Dell Computer's PowerEdge server division.

Penguin Computing founder and former CEO Sam Ockman will remain at the company as chief technology officer and chairman.

Seyer's job will be to raise Penguin Computing's revenue and profile to catch up to the leading Linux computer specialist, VA Linux, where Ockman got his start after graduating from Stanford University. But life in the Linux hardware business is not the easy trip to success it once was.

VA, though the fourth-largest seller of Linux computers according to IDC, has issued warnings for the last and current quarters, blaming the economic slowdown and dwindling Web-advertising revenue. Meanwhile, Tuxtops is stopping sales of its Linux laptops and is focusing instead on software.

Penguin chiefly sells servers, including its rack-mountable Relion line, the higher-end four- and eight-processor Magnus line, lower-end Altus models and I-Node models that can be ganged together in groups of 100 handling the same job.