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Linux firm Lineo woos industry veterans

The company gets three new executives from better-established companies in its effort to hasten the adoption of Linux in non-PC computing devices.

Lineo has wooed three new executives from better-established companies in its effort to hasten the adoption of Linux in non-PC computing devices.

Lineo hired Richard Larsen, formerly in charge of software sales at Sun Microsystems, to lead the Linux company's entire sales operation. Larsen, with 22 years in the industry and seven at Sun, will help build a more seasoned executive team for the purveyor of Linux and other software for "embedded" computing devices, such as network equipment, set-top boxes or factory robots.

It's not the only change in the San Jose, Calif.-based sales division of the Lindon, Utah, company, which filed to hold an initial public offering. Lineo also hired John Mezinko to be vice president of American sales and Paul Ray to lead worldwide product sales.

Mezinko worked for Lineo competitor Integrated Systems, which in turn was acquired by Wind River. Ray worked for Integrated Systems, Epilogue Technology and other embedded software companies.

Sales will be important for Lineo as it tries to go public at a time when investors are less forgiving of business plans that take a long time to attain profitability.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, Lineo said it had pro forma revenue of $4.9 million for the nine months ended July 31. That compares with $1.4 million for the same nine-month period the year before.

The net loss for the nine-month period was $16.4 million, compared with $1.4 million for the same period the year before.

Lineo competes with several embedded Linux companies, including Red Hat, MontaVista Software and LynuxWorks. Motorola is one of several major Lineo investors.

Lineo plans to trade on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol "LNEO." Credit Suisse First Boston is the lead underwriter, with Lehman Brothers, Dain Rauscher Wessels and Wit SoundView also participating.

Three large customers--Sun Microsystems, Brooktrout and Symbol Technologies--accounted for 48 percent of Lineo's revenue for fiscal 1999. That customer base expanded in the nine months ended July 31, with DaiShin providing 18 percent of the company's revenue.