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Biggest Desktop Linux Community secures funding for expansion (english)
March 31, 2010
hive01 gmbh, the Stuttgart-based developer and operator of online social networks, has secured funding for the further development of its two biggest projects, namely openDesktop.org and Open-PC.

openDesktop.org is a Web 2.0 community for open source and desktop Linux enthusiasts and IT experts which receives 2.5 million unique visits from 30 countries every month (unaudited statistics). The Linux community of developers meets on Open-PC.com to build a Linux-based PC for consumers which is completely open. The first product will ship later this year.

Andreas Schwend and Daniel Rebhorn, senior IT managers with experience in the German start-up and e-commerce scene, have injected an undisclosed amount into hive01 gmbh in exchange for an equity stake. Schwend and Rebhorn are co-founders and managing partners of the Stuttgart-based e-commerce solutions developer dmc digital media center GmbH which is the 7th biggest internet agency in germany.

It was hive01's first capital injection since going online with openDesktop.org in 2007.

Schwend and Rebhorn said the rapid growth and global reach of the open source and Linux community on openDesktop.org in the past two years convinced them of the portal's potential. In this period page impressions jumped 50% from 60 million to just over 90 million per month.

The portal is free and finances itself from advertising. The just launched store for digital content and the Open-PC are other business models.

Users do not have to register to download applications and artwork. Still, 150,000 users have registered to date to contribute actively. Nineteen percent of the portal's 120,000 registered users are based in the US, making it the dominant country on the portal. The second biggest group on the portal are Germans (12%) and third biggest the Italians (9%).

Frank Karlitschek, founder and CEO of hive01, openDesktop.org and Open-PC, is the majority shareholder of hive01, with Schwend and Rebhorn the only other shareholders.

"We'll develop new services and functions for our users and improve the experience for visitors to openDesktop.org and Open-PC.com with the new resources," said Karlitschek, who also acts as editor and community manager of the portals.

He ascribed the strong growth in users and page views on openDesktop.org to new features added to the portal in the past 12 months. Among the biggest innovations were an Apps Store for Linux and Mobile (where developers may decide whether they want to sell their Linux apps, artwork and other digital content, or give their work away for free) and a free Job Board for software developers, IT managers, system and network administrators and other IT experts and freelancers.

"On average 100 new applications and artwork are uploaded to the Apps Store and about 200,000 downloaded by users every day," said Karlitschek.

"These features have driven our traffic by making the portal more sticky. Since we rely on advertising to cover our costs and chase page view growth, we'll continue to add features and functions," Karlitschek said.

About openDesktop.org:

The story of openDesktop.org began in 2001, when CEO Frank Karlitschek (36) launched KDE-Look.org as a community site for the KDE project. By then he had worked with Linux and KDE as his desktop for several years and had contributed to the KDE project on and off by working on artwork and marketing. In 2003 he launched a portal for KDE applications and named it KDE-Apps.org. When the GNOME community requested him for a site a few weeks later, he launched GNOME-Look.org.

More requests were received from free software projects and every time another portal was launched. By 2006 there were over 20 portals - all sharing the same infrastructure and user database.

In 2007 the content of all the sites were aggregated on a single portal called openDesktop.org. Since then users of all the portals have been meeting friends, creating groups, exchanging messages and micro-blogging on openDesktop.org.

openDesktop.org is a free community portal. Hosting and other costs are covered by advertising and sponsorships. Although KDE and GNOME is prominent on the portal, openDesktop.org is independent and offers a home to all free software projects.

press contact:

frank karlitschek
h i v e 01 gmbh
Stöckachstrasse 16
70190 Stuttgart
+49 711 5188 2593



Frank Karlitschek








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