Aiming to become a supplier of Linux to consumers, computer book publisher Macmillan has opened a Web site offering Linux information and support, with plans to sell a Mandrake variation of Linux in book and software stores.
Macmillan is adding The Place for Linux on its www.informIT.com site, and by the end of October it will be dispensing Linux support and advice through the site, said Jeff Koch, Macmillan executive editor.
Macmillan's SAMs publishing division produced the best-selling Linux title last year, Teach Yourself Linux in 24 Hours, according to Ingram Data statistics, Koch said.
Macmillan has already become a distributor of offerings by Red Hat and Caldera OpenLinux by including their CD ROMs in the back of such books as Teach Yourself Linux in 24 Hours, which was based on OpenLinux 2.2, Koch noted. The publisher produces titles specific to Red Hat, such as Red Hat Linux Unleashed.
The Macmillan spokesmen said their company is not thought of as a leading Linux distributor because "we sell to the retail crowd, not the hard-core Linux programmers." But the publisher is adding a Linux focus to www.informIT.com because it believes Linux "is growing out of the geek closet," Koch said. The Linux-specific part of the site can be reached through a separate URL, www.placeforlinux.com.
"Thirteen percent of Macmillan's revenue comes from the sale of Linux books and software," said Steve Schafer, Linux software title manager. Macmillan first began adding Linux disks to books four years ago, he added.
The basic Macmillan Mandrake version will retail for $29. The Productivity version will carry a $39 price tag and include extras such as StarOffice, a suite of office applications. The Secure Server version will cost $79.
"In July, we sold 10,000 units of Linux at retail, twice the level of Red Hat," Schafer said.
The Mandrake version will come with Partition Magic and Boot Magic tools to ease the installation of Linux on an existing Windows machine. The average consumer who is interested in Linux "wants a dual boot machine. We see that as also seeding the market" for more buyers of Linux books and Linux software, Schafer said.