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Two Linux server specialists combine

Penguin Computing plans to acquire Scyld Computing, which was founded by a pioneer of "Beowulf" Linux supercomputers.

Penguin Computing, a server maker that specializes in Linux-running machines, has signed an agreement to acquire Scyld Computing, the two companies plan to announce Tuesday.

Scyld founder Donald Becker, a "Beowulf" Linux supercomputer pioneer, will become Penguin's chief technology officer under the deal. In 1994, while working at NASA, Becker helped create the Beowulf method of linking numerous comparatively inexpensive Linux computers into a larger system. Becker also has been a key Linux programmer, writing network software for the operating system.

Both companies have ample competition from larger server makers such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell Computer, but both have managed to survive in a grueling server market. Scyld creates management software that can be used to set up and run "Beowulf clusters."

In recent years, Beowulf clusters have become a way to assemble supercomputers out of interconnected inexpensive Linux servers.

Although terms of the all-stock transaction weren't disclosed, the two companies don't expect to lay off any staff, a representative said. The combined company will have about 35 employees, still under the leadership of founder and Chief Executive Sam Ockman at the company's San Francisco headquarters.

Although the company will continue to sell 's existing server line, "we have recognized that our corporate customers are very interested in Beowulf clusters and high-performance computing," the company said in a statement.

Scyld will continue to operate out of its Annapolis, Md., offices and will maintain its brand name.

Scyld investors include Red Hat cofounder Bob Young; Penguin investors include ING Capital and Dragon Venture.