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Wind River Sends FreeBSD Home

Web software and services provider Wind River Systems Monday says it is retuning its FreeBSD operations back to its original owner, FreeBSD Mall.

The transaction should be completed sometime by the end of January. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Current support obligations and software subscriptions at Wind River will be transferred to FreeBSD Mall as part of the transaction. FreeBSD Mall says it will employ all current Wind River employees working with its FreeBSD group.

FreeBSD is an advanced open source UNIX operating system, derived from BSD UNIX and developed at the University of California. Well known for its performance and reliability, FreeBSD technology is widely used as a server operating system by many large Internet sites including Yahoo! , Hotmail, Sony Japan, Apache, Pair Networks and Whistle Communications. Like Linux, the source code for FreeBSD is freely available. Both Mac OS X and Darwin are based on FreeBSD.

"The FreeBSD community will be well served by this transaction," says Wind River senior director of Application Platforms product division Larry Macfarlane. "When we decided to divest the FreeBSD business, we looked for a successor organization that could meet high standards of customer service and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the FreeBSD community. After carefully evaluating many interested organizations, we decided that the best way to ensure the continuity and vitality of FreeBSD was to return it to its roots."

Bob Bruce, whose involvement with Concord, Calif.-based FreeBSD dates back to 1993, enthusiastically welcomed FreeBSD back home.

"As we go forward, we will be able to build on strong relationships and friendships. We have all worked together before. FreeBSD has a promising future, and I am committed to helping it reach its full potential," says Bruce.

Alameda, Calif.-based Wind River assumed stewardship for the FreeBSD open source project in May 2001 when it acquired assets of Berkeley Software Design, Inc. (BSDi), the former sponsor of FreeBSD. In addition to the FreeBSD sponsorship, Wind River acquired the proprietary BSD UNIX-based OS (BSD/OSO). Wind River's interest in the BSDi assets continues to focus on BSD/OS. The company says divesting the FreeBSD business further sharpens that focus and provides continuity and increased support for FreeBSD.

"I'm happy to see that the FreeBSD Mall will be continuing without interruption," says FreeBSD Project co-founder Jordan Hubbard. "Through this transfer, FreeBSD will be back under the direction of the same people who started and know the FreeBSD CD product line perhaps better than anyone."

From here, Hubbard says FreeBSD Mall plans to aggressively promote and market FreeBSD. In addition to providing the standard FreeBSD distribution on CDROM, they will continue to offer a subscription service, snapshots of the current development branch, and published hardcopy editions of the FreeBSD Handbook. They will also offer several levels of professional support and services for FreeBSD. The group has placed FreeBSD products in many mainstream retail stores, including Best Buy, CompUSA, Borders Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. In the near future, they plan to expand their retail presence, especially in Europe and Asia.

Wind River, meantime, will continue to develop and support BSD/OS, a supported BSD operating system widely used in embedded systems. A major upgrade of BSD/OS that will focus on meeting the needs of networked embedded devices is scheduled for release later this year. Wind River says it will also continue to support the BSD open source community, and plans to cooperate with the FreeBSD Mall and other BSD organizations to help promote wide adoption of BSD technology.