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UPDATED: AllLinuxDevices: BSDi Acquired by Embedded Computing Firm Wind River

Apr 05, 2001, 22:27 (20 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

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 "iXsystems, inc."

"...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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