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Another key Linux Web site sold

Infostrada Communications, publisher of the Linux Magazine, snaps up Linux.net, a choice parcel of Internet real estate in the open-source realm.

Linux.net, a choice parcel of Internet real estate, has been acquired by Infostrada Communications, publisher of the Linux Magazine, the company will announce tomorrow.

Fred van Kempen, who registered the Internet address in 1994 along with Linux.com, sold the site for an undisclosed sum after a bidding round involving about 15 companies, Infostrada said in a statement.

Linux is a clone of the Unix operating system that competes with Microsoft Windows but has won a place in the product lines of many of the biggest computing companies.

Last year, van Kempen sold Linux.com to VA Linux Systems, which has turned it into a portal for Linux news, tips, and help. In an interview at the time, he said companies bid millions of dollars for the site, but he gave it to VA Linux because he liked the company's plan for the address. One of the reasons he registered the site was "protecting the site from being abused" by companies not true to the spirit of Linux.

In a statement, Infostrada said it plans to use Linux.net "to develop a network of independent Linux-related resources targeted at Linux developers, business users and enthusiasts."

In addition, the company will include several programmer resources at Linux.net in the spring, the company said.

Van Kempen said Microsoft was among the bidders for Linux.com, though Microsoft denied it, calling such an idea "silly."

The third major Linux address, Linux.org, is owned by Michael McLagan, general manager of Linux Online, who raised the possibility last August that the site could be sold.

"I have received a continuous stream of offers from various people" interested in the Internet address, McLagan said. "Most are groups or companies who do not understand Linux or the (Linux) community and are not prepared to offer some guarantees that the site's philosophy will be preserved in any acquisition."