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Geeknet, Inc. ( ) is a Mountain View, Californiamarker company that owns several computer tech-related websites and the online retailer ThinkGeek. Formerly known as VA Research, VA Linux Systems, VA Software, and SourceForge, Inc., it was founded in 1995. , Geeknet owns the websites Freshmeat, Ohloh, Slashdot, and


VA Research

LNUX stock price ( through )
VA Research was founded in 1995 by Stanfordmarker graduate student Larry Augustin and James Vera. Augustin was a Stanford colleague of Jerry Yang and David Filo, who went on to found Yahoo!. VA Linux built and sold personal computer systems pre-installed with the Linux operating system as an alternative to much more expensive Unix workstations available at the time. At the time they started operations, they were one of the first computer vendors to offer Linux as a pre-installed operating system. During the initial years of operation, the business was quite profitable and grew quickly, with over $100 million in sales and a 10% profit margin in 1998 and was the largest vendor of pre-installed Linux computers, having approximately 20% of the Linux hardware market.

In early 1999, VA purchased their top competitor, Linux Hardware Solutions. As part of this merger, they began to make plans for an initial public offering (IPO). VA also won a business plan competition that year for the right to operate the domain, although it was rumored that Microsoft and other bidders (Compaq, Red Hat, HP) had offered more cash but less plan for the domain.

Initial public offering

VA Linux is notable because of its IPO on . The shares for the IPO were offered at $30, but the traders held back the opening trade until the offers hit $299. LNUX later popped up to $320, and closed their first day of trading at $239.25, a 698% return. However, this high-flying success was short-lived, and within a year the stock was selling at well below the initial offer price. , this is still the most "successful" IPO of all time. The stock price reached an intra-day nadir of 54 cents on . It then soared more than 1000% to an intra-day high of $6.38 on . As of , the stock closed at $4.64.

Many authors of free software were invited to buy shares at the initial price offering as part of a friends and family deal.

Due to the immense difference between the IPO offering price and the opening price, VA Linux did not actually raise much capital in the offering, and the stock price sagged as investors realized that the company's revenue and profitability were not likely to justify the share price. However, on , the company announced that it was acquiring (itself a recent IPO company). This gave them popular online media properties such as Slashdot, Andover News Network, Freshmeat, NewsForge,, Kuro5hin (until 2001), and a variety of online software development resources, as well as a stable of writers such as Rob Malda, Robin Miller, Jack Bryar, Rod Amis, Jon Katz, and "CowboyNeal". Shortly after, all assets of were transferred to a new division of VA Linux called Open Source Developers Network.The acquisition was not without controversy in the Linux community. Bryar, in particular had written multiple articles suggesting that most Linux businesses were poorly thought out. He cautioned that the excitement over Linux was little more than another Internet bubble.Nonetheless, this acquisition eventually allowed the company to shift its business model from Linux-based product sales to specialty media and software development support.

VA Software

The company's original equipment and systems business model began to encounter stiff competition from other hardware vendors offering Linux as a pre-installed operating system (Dell, in particular), and the company began to experience operating losses. Eventually, on , VA Linux decided that they would leave the systems hardware business and focus on software development.During the summer of 2001, there was a large staff reduction since all of the hardware focused employees were dismissed as a result of this shift in the core business model.

On , the company formally changed its name to VA Software in recognition that the majority of their business was now software development and specialty news and information services. However, the company's Japanesemarker subsidiary still goes by the name of "VA Linux Systems Japan K.K." after the parent company changed its name. In January 2002, Sumitomo Corporation became the largest shareholder in VA Linux Systems Japan, and the Japanese subsidiary became independent of VA Software.

Open Source Developers Network (OSDN) was renamed to Open Source Technology Group (OSTG).


Sourceforge Inc. logo

On , the company changed its name to SourceForge Inc. and merged with Open Source Technology Group: therefore, the latter does not exist anymore as a separate entity.

On , Scott Kauffman was announced future President and CEO of SourceForge, Inc. Robert M. Neumeister, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors of SourceForge, describes Kauffman as having "the level of energy and vision that we believe will help build SourceForge into a major Internet company. He brings more than 20 years of executive experience in digital entertainment and consumer-facing Internet brands. The team is extremely excited to be adding an individual with such rock-solid leadership skills and experience."

On , Scott Kauffman was appointed President and CEO of SourceForge, Inc.


On , SourceForge, Inc. became Geeknet, Inc. by creating the latter company and merging SourceForge into it.


Geeknet operates, Slashdot, Ohloh and Freshmeat. SourceForge licensed SourceForge Enterprise Edition to enterprise organizations. ThinkGeek — an ecommerce site — is also under the SourceForge banner. VA Software sold Animation Factory to Jupitermedia Corporation on ,and SourceForge Enterprise Edition to CollabNet on .On , the company announced its name change from VA Software to SourceForge, Inc.


On , VA Software reported its first ever profitable quarter.Net income for the second fiscal quarter stood at $10.5 million, or 17 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $702,000, or a penny a share, in the previous year's second quarter. Excluding one time gains from the sale of Animation Factory, VA's profit that quarter would have been $1.1 million, or 2 cents per share.VA followed this performance with two more consecutive profitable quarters, earning $1.1 million in 3rd quarter 2006and $700,000 in fiscal 4th quarter 2006,which ended on July 31. VA ended the fiscal year with $51.9 million of cash, up from $36.6 million the previous year. The company remained profitable until the fourth quarter of 2007 but then returned to continuous losses (as of the second quarter of 2009).


  1. VA Linux acquires, ZDNet Australia, 13 October, 2000
  2. Compaq, EMC, HP, IBM, Intel and Sun Join Open Source Development Network 'OSDN' as Technology Partners., Business Wire, 16 Aug 2000
  3. Andrew Orlowski, (31 Oct. 2001) VA drops Linux name, boots out Kuro5hin, The Register
  4. Post on Dean Henrichsmeyer’s personal Web site, 27th July 2004
  5. SEC Filings for LNUX > Form 10-Q on 9-Dec-2008

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