An up-and-coming Linux vendor with some notable Silicon Valley connections is preparing for its U.S. launch in the third quarter, a debut that will include a major presence at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in Boston in October, its chief executive officer (CEO) said at Cebit Friday.An up-and-coming Linux vendor with some notable Silicon Valley connections is preparing for its U.S. launch in the third quarter, a debut that will include a major presence at the Open Source Business Conference in Boston in October, its CEO said at Cebit Friday.Collax CEO Olaf Jacobi said it has not defined a date for its official U.S. launch event, but does plan to display its wares at the OSBC. A Collax partner, Emu Software, also will demonstrate Collax's software at the LinuxworldExpo next month in Boston.Jacobi launched Collax last June after a conversation with former SuSE Linux CTO Boris Nalbach, who now holds that position at Collax. The two noted that while Linux servers are having great success at the enterprise level, small and midsize businesses (SMB) are having a tougher time adopting Linux because of its complexity, Jacobi said.Collax aims to solve this problem by offering SMBs in the U.S. a turnkey Linux distribution that includes best-of-breed server applications and an easy-to-use GUI that even IT professionals with no knowledge of Linux can use to manage and install software, Jacobi said."Out of the 200,000 open source products [available], we're choosing best of breed," he said. "For example, if you choose a Red Hat distribution or a Debian Linux distribution, you will get between 2,000 and 5,000 products. We don't offer five different mail servers, we take one mail server and we integrate this one deeply with the operating system. We put a GUI on top of it so that the end user, the system administrator, can run the Linux distribution without a single clue about Linux."The company offers this product, called the Collax Business Server, on its own appliance, but also is aiming to line up hardware partners in the U.S. to bundle the software with their hardware, Jacobi said. Collax already works with HP in Europe, he said, and he has been traveling back and forth to Silicon Valley to "do his homework" to facilitate such deals in the U.S.Jacobi said he also regularly meets with executives at well-known open source software companies MySQL and SugarCRM to forge business relationships with those vendors.Collax already has gotten the attention of some important U.S. venture capital investors. To date the company has garnered $8.4 million in combined investment from Intel, Atlas Venture Partners and Wellington Partners.In addition to the server product, Collax also was showing off at Cebit a new framework for easily adding server applications to its distribution. The software - the product of a partnership with Open-Xchange - is called the Collax Open-Xchange Server and allows SMBs to quickly install server-side applications such as portals, e-mail server and virus protection on top of the Collax Business Server, Jacobi said.Collax has 6,000 customers in Europe, as well as some partners in the U.S. that are "pre-selling" its products in preparation for the company's launch, Jacobi said. He himself plans to move to Boston in September, where the company also has its U.S. headquarters.