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Linux computer maker aims to tap Alpha chip

Atipa buys DCG Computer Group, bolstering its push to provide Linux computers and services for machines based on Compaq's Alpha chip as well as Intel chips.

Linux computer maker Atipa has acquired DCG Computer Group, bolstering its push to provide Linux computers and services for machines based on Compaq's Alpha chip as well as Intel chips.

Atipa, like its chief competitor, VA Linux Systems, sells computers using the Linux operating system and is betting that its expertise will lure customers away from bigger firms such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq or IBM that are later entrants to the Linux game. Atipa also is planning an initial public offering, the company has said.

The Linux stronghold is on computers with Intel's chip, but Atipa and DCG sell computers with the Alpha chip as well. The chip is popular for some high-performance tasks such as creating digital movies or performing scientific calculations with "Beowulf" clusters of interconnected computers.

The Alpha connection distinguishes Atipa from VA, which doesn't currently offer Alpha chip support. Linux software sellers such as Red Hat, SuSE and TurboLinux have versions of the operating system for Alpha, and Mandrakesoft is working on one.

Through the acquisition, announced Monday, Atipa will be able to offer customized Beowulf systems built from Alpha or Intel systems. IBM and Compaq also are pushing ahead with their own Beowulf systems.

Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed. Atipa also has acquired Enhanced Software Technologies, makers of the BRU backup software. Acquisitions in the Linux industry are common, especially as publicly traded Linux companies try to carve out as big a business as possible.

DCG is based in Londonderry, N.H. Atipa is based in Kansas City, Mo., but is adding several more offices in North America as part of an effort to expand its services offerings.