Tag: Xerox

Marlow-based reseller Softcat floats

Flying-Cat-8The Marlow-based software reseller Softcat has listed in a deal that valued the business at £472.3 million.

Softcat valued its shares at 240p, and they climbed as high as 270p in early trading. It said the IPO allowed its founders to sell down their stakes and the group would receive no proceeds from the flotation.

Founder Peter Kelly set up the firm in 1993 and has described himself as a “weird and eccentric entrepreneur.” He sold just over a third of his stake, raising an estimated £88m. He retains a holding of around 33 percent, which is worth around £150 million.

Kelly ran the company until 2006 and was its chairman until three years ago, owning around half the equity before the listing.

Martin Hellawell, chief executive, owned 12 percent of the business, valued at £56 million. He sold a third of his holding.

The float also created a number of paper millionaires among its employees. Staff, excluding founders, own some 24 percent of the company.

Kelly hitchhiked around the world before joining Xerox sales in 1981. His past ventures include founding a recruitment firm, and he launched an Apple dealership in 1988 before going on to found Softcat in 1993.

Started as a mail-order software firm, it has grown to become a major reseller to Microsoft and other large providers, as well as providing data centres for small businesses across the UK.

The group’s sales last year rose 18 pe cent to £596m with profits of £40.6 million. Hellawell said in a statement: “We are delighted with the outcome of the IPO process thus far and now look forward to fully focusing on the running and future development of our business.”

Vin Murria joined the board. She is one of the UK’s longest-standing female IT entrepreneurs, she ran Advanced Computer Software until it was taken over by US private equity group Vista Partners last year in a £725 million deal.

Xerox Alto source code made public

altoThe code that inspired generations of computer nerds has been made public by the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

The Xerox Alto computer was important because it was the first attempt and a making a machine that was visual rather than text based. It used a mouse and a WYSIWYG word processor. It was this beastie which was ripped off by Steve Jobs

Conservationists behind making the code available to the public had to archive it to nine-inch tape, before being transferred to eight-millimetre cartridges and then put on CDs.  Then they had to get permission to release the code.

The file includes the Bravo word processor, Markup, Draw and Sil drawing programs, and the Laurel e-mail program. There’s also the BCPL, Mesa, Smalltalk, and Lisp programming environments along with various utilities and the Alto’s Ethernet implementation.

Ethernet was developed for the Alto system using networking software, called Pup (for PARC Universal Packet).  This anticipated the Internet by allowing multiple Ethernet local area networks to be interconnected by leased phone lines, radio links, and the ARPANET (which at this time connected a handful of computers at ARPA research centres).

You can look at the software here 

 

Copy machines pose unlikely security threat

copycatEvery office has them and although paperless offices are the new black, copy machines will probably be around for years to come. However, thousands of old copies stored on hard drives will also stick around.

Most copy machines built in the last decade have a hard drive and can store thousands of documents scanned, copied or emailed using the machine. Some hard drives are big enough to store 60,000 to 100,000 pages of data, so these benevolent dinosaurs are in fact massive security threats lurking in the corner, next to the water cooler.