Since first running this article, we wrote Patrick
Volkerding, Slackware project head, who pointed out that Slackware
is remaining with the portion of BSDi that wasn't sold to Wind
River, soon to be named iXsystems. According to Mr. Volkerding, "So
far, it remains business as usual, but it's probably too early to
what impact (if any) this will have on [Slackware]." -ed.
"Today embedded computing company Wind River Systems, Inc.
announced its acquisition of Berkeley Software Design, Inc. (BSDi),
the retail home of FreeBSD, BSD/OS, and Slackware Linux. Once the
purchase is complete later this month, BSDi will be renamed
"...The move is, in some ways, representative of Wind River
coming to terms with Open Source technologies in a manner
reflective of its past concerns over the presence of Linux in the
embedded space. Like many embedded computing companies, Wind
River's public stance on Open Source software has been ambivalent
at times, acknowledging both the current enthusiasm for Linux in
the embedded space, but at the same time cautioning that developers
and companies are not always eager to divulge source code for their
highly specialized embedded applications. At the same time, the
company has felt pressure from embedded Linux firms eager to
capitalize on that enthusiasm. Late last year, for instance,
MontaVista announced a freely available toolkit designed
specifically to assist in porting code from Wind River's
proprietary VxWorks to embedded Linux development platforms."
"...The company draws the line at the GNU General Public License
(GPL) as an acceptable presence in its own products. In a FAQ it
released on the acquisition of BSDi, the company cited the GPL'd
status of the Linux kernel as unacceptable because it doesn't allow
companies to release proprietary, binary-only releases. Where
embedded Linux companies have gotten around that in small part by
providing proprietary modules over the top of a modified and open
body of kernel code, Wind River maintains that too many embedded
applications depend on kernel-level enhancements that would force
it to give away competitive secrets."
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