BSDi Unix buy reshapes open source

In a major upheaval in the open-source software market, Wind River Systems has acquired Berkeley Software Design's version of Unix, merging the realms of proprietary and freely shared software. But Wind River likes the BSDi software as much for its open-source nature as the fact that it doesn't have to stay open source.

In a major upheaval in the open-source software market, Wind River Systems has acquired Berkeley Software Design's version of Unix, merging the realms of proprietary and freely shared software.

But Wind River likes the BSDi software as much for its open-source nature as the fact that it doesn't have to stay open source. When selling its operating systems for use in nontraditional embedded devices such as set-top boxes, handheld computers or network routers, the company needs to be able to make changes that aren't released to the public, said Jerry Fogelin, general manager of Wind River's platforms group.

BSDi is the owner of the BSD/OS, the version of Unix at the heart of open-source projects such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD. Under the terms of its license, though, anyone may keep modifications secret--a feature that made BSDi's software, not its cousin Linux, appealing to Wind River. --Stephen Shankland, Special to ZDNet News