Secret startup to unveil at Comdex?

HELSINKI, Finland -- Silicon Valley's most secretivestartup, Transmeta, may shed light on its business at theComdex trade fair in Las Vegas in November, one of its mostfamous employees, Linus Torvalds, said Thursday. Torvalds, the developer of the Linux operating system, has shot to fame this year as his system has been endorsed by anumber of top computer industry companies and emerged as aserious rival to Microsoft.

HELSINKI, Finland -- Silicon Valley's most secretive startup, Transmeta, may shed light on its business at the Comdex trade fair in Las Vegas in November, one of its most famous employees, Linus Torvalds, said Thursday.

Torvalds, the developer of the Linux operating system, has shot to fame this year as his system has been endorsed by a number of top computer industry companies and emerged as a serious rival to Microsoft.

Torvalds and other people known to be involved with Transmeta, including Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen and Chief Executive David Ditzel, have been careful not to reveal what the company is up to.

"I think I can now tell you when I will be able to tell you," Linus said on the sidelines of a seminar.

"The company has considered saying something at Comdex, or at least saying when we will announce something."

The combination of money from Microsoft's co-founder and know-how from Torvalds, who still controls the core of the Linux system, the secrecy and the Linux hype this year has nurtured the ground for speculation.

Most commonly, the company is believed to work on either a revolutionary high-speed computer chip or on software improving the way chips work, or both.

The company has never issued a press release, and its Web site www.transmeta.com just says: "This web page is not here yet."

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