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Turbolinux sells Linux business, name

The company says it will choose a new moniker and focus on selling its PowerCockpit partitioning software, which lets administrators repurpose servers.

Turbolinux has sold its Linux business to Japan's Software Research Associates and in the process has completed its transformation into a proprietary software company.

Brisbane, Calif.-based Turbolinux has transferred all of its Linux assets, including its name, to SRA, one of Japan's oldest software firms, Turbolinux said Tuesday. Turbolinux came to prominence by selling a version of the Linux operating system in the Japanese market.

In the future, a revamped Turbolinux--which has yet to announce its new name--will concentrate on selling its PowerCockpit partitioning software, which lets administrators repurpose servers, or processors inside a multiprocessor server, on the fly. A rack of servers used to manage e-mail, for instance, can be transformed into Web servers to handle peak periods of Web activity.

Unlike Linux, PowerCockpit is proprietary software, meaning that it can't be freely copied. PowerCockpit costs a little less than $200 per server, according to a representative. Hewlett-Packard and Egenera, a start-up specializing in Linux blade servers, both resell PowerCockpit. Turbolinux's Linux OSes sold for $300 and less, but could also be obtained for free.

Approximately 70 employees will be transferred to SRA. An undisclosed number will stay at the revamped Turbolinux to sell PowerCockpit. Financial details were not disclosed.

At one point during the Linux craze, Turbolinux filed to go public, but canceled the plan amid the stock market crash. Later it tried to merge with Linux services company Linuxcare.

Subsequently, the company joined the UnitedLinux effort, dedicated to promoting a uniform version of the OS for corporations. SRA will continue to work on that effort, a representative said.