Commercial distribution for Slackware has been left in a
precarious position by
the recent acquisition of the software assets of its parent
company BSDi (now part of Wind River).
UserLocal reported yesterday
that several core Slackware developers had been laid off by the
company left behind by the acquisition: server manufacturer
iXsystems. Though the developers said they'll continue to work on
Slackware, they won't be drawing a pay check to do so.
According to Slackware project head Patrick Volkerding, who'd
earlier said he hoped the acquisition would leave the distribution
untouched, the layoffs are the result of the terms of the
acquisition and resulting spinoff of iXsystems:
"BSDi (formerly Walnut Creek CDROM, our long-time publisher) was
bought by Wind River because they wanted the BSD assets for use in
embedded devices. They do not like Linux or the GPL one iota, so we
all essentially became "orphaned" when they showed no interest in
bringing us over."
Volkerding's assessment of Wind River's attitude is borne out by
statements made in the Wind River FAQ on the acquisition and
a recent report in LinuxGram that quoted Wind River Vice
President John Foeglin as saying companies "fear the GPL" because
of its requirements to share modifications to GPL-licensed source
"The hardware side of the company (iXsystems) did have some
interest in publishing Slackware," said Volkerding, " and for a
week or so we thought the whole team would regroup under their
umbrella, but it turned out that the deal prohibits them from
In the mean time, work continues on Slackware, which isn't tied
to commercial distribution, and Volkerding said he hopes to start a
new Slackware company, "but until [the project gets] this next
release out, the money is going to be tight. Slackware has always
been profitable though, and I sincerely hope we'll have the
resources soon to help support the rest of the team."
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