SidVicious and Intosi both wrote in with news that Wind River Systems (WRS), who had acquired BSDi's software assets earlier this year, including a team of FreeBSD developers, has laid off those developers. This has also been reported in other places, such as DaemonNews. This raises some interesting questions; for example, what happens to the "FreeBSD" trademark, which Wind River currently own. Read on for Wind River's answers to this and other questions.
In the interests of full disclosure. I'm also email@example.com, although not a WRS employee. I was employed by BSDi in Europe, before the European team were laid off as part of the WRS acquisition. These questions were answered by WindRiver's PR department.
Q: WRS has already been through two rounds of layoffs in the recent past. Why this third set of lay offs now? Are the FreeBSD developers the only ones affected?
Wind River has only had two rounds of layoffs. During the second round Wind River decided to divest itself of the FreeBSD project. We spent several weeks looking for a suitable corporate sponsor but did not find any company with sufficient interest and financial capability in this challenging economy. This week's layoff of the FreeBSD employees is therefore Wind River's "final option" in executing the plans set in motion by the second round of layoffs.
Q: WRS currently own the trademark "FreeBSD". Do WRS plan to retain the trademark? If so, why? If not, will WRS let the trademark lapse? Or are there plans to transfer it to a third party, such as the FreeBSD Foundation?
Wind River plans to ensure continuation of the altruistic, open stewardship of the FreeBSD trademark. We feel strongly that the FreeBSD project must be protected and encouraged and that a FreeBSD trademark in the wrong hands could be very detrimental. We continue to search for the best solution. No specific third-party has yet been determined, but transfer to a suitable third-party is the leading option being considered.
Q: WRS own the "bsd.com" domain. Will that be retained?
Possibly. Wind River will continue to invest in BSD/OS and participate as a highly interested member of the *BSD community. As such, the bsd.com domain may be important for Wind River. We are weighing this against the needs of the *BSD community and hope to resolve the issue later this month.
Q: What's happening to the "FreeBSD Mall", at freebsdmall.com?
freebsdmall.com continues to operate and take orders, and all new and existing orders from customers for FreeBSD 4.4 or other products will continue to be fulfilled. Wind River is still evaluating its long term options and strategy for the FreeBSD Mall, but plans to maintain its presence and service either internally or externally.
Q: As part of the BSDi acquisition, WRS will (presumably) have picked up customers who had subscribed to the BSDi CD sets of FreeBSD. Will WRS continue to service those customers, or are their subscriptions now cancelled?
Like all customer contracts, subscription orders will continue to be fulfilled.
Q: BSDi (and, it seemed, WRS) had made some headway in producing additional FreeBSD boxed products to go in to the retail channel. Will WRS continue to do this?
Wind River is currently continuing activities to promote FreeBSD 4.4 through the retail channel. Future FreeBSD releases will probably not be produced or distributed by Wind River.
Q: Will WRS continue to produce the usual 4 disc CD sets of FreeBSD, including one for the recently released FreeBSD 4.4?
Yes, for FreeBSD 4.4.
Q: WRS had been funding work on the FreeBSD Handbook, in order to print the second edition in the near future. [ Disclaimer, I'm co-editor of this work, along with your employee, Murray Stokely ] Will WRS continue with plans to print the second edition of the FreeBSD Handbook?
Wind River will encourage any stewards that emerge to take on FreeBSD publication to complete and publish this work.
Q: WRS houses the "FreeBSD Test Lab" at its Alameda campus. Will WRS continue to host this facility?
No. Some equipment from this lab will be transferred to Yahoo! which hosts much of the build structure equipment for FreeBSD, as well as the primary CVS source repository and main FreeBSD mail server. Wind River does not plan to maintain the FreeBSD test lab at its Alameda, CA headquarters.