Berkeley Software Design
|Genre||Operating system software|
|Successor(s)||Wind River Systems, iXsystems|
|Founder(s)||Rick Adams, Keith Bostic, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Mike Karels, Bill Jolitz|
Berkeley Software Design Inc. (BSDI or, later, BSDi) was a corporation which developed, sold licenses for, and supported BSD/OS (originally known as BSD/386), a commercial and partially proprietary variant of the BSD Unix operating system for PC compatible (and later, other) computer systems. The name was chosen for its similarity to "Berkeley Software Distribution" the source of its primary product (specifically 4.3BSD Networking Release 2).
BSDI was founded by Rick Adams and members of the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) at the University of California, Berkeley, including Keith Bostic, Kirk McKusick, Mike Karels, Bill Jolitz and Donn Seeley. Jolitz, Seeley and Trent Hein were the company's first employees, temporarily working for Rick Adam's UUNET until BSDI started operations in 1991. In December 1991, Rob Kolstad was hired (at the time he was secretary of USENIX), and he would take over company operations just two years later.
BSD/386 was released in January 1992. The full system, including source code retailed at $995, which was much cheaper than the equivalent source code license for the rival UNIX System V from AT&T (which cost more than $20,000 in the late 1980s.) Under Rob Kolstad's direction, the company decided to pursue internet infrastructure as their primary customer audience. In the mid 1990's the top-10 websites in the world were almost all using BSD/386 as their BSD source codebase.
Later the same year, AT&T's Unix System Laboratories (USL) brought a lawsuit against BSDI, alleging that BSD/386 contained their proprietary trade secrets and code. After USL were acquired by Novell, a settlement was reached in January 1994. This resulted in future releases, of what was now called BSD/OS, being based on CSRG's 4.4BSD-Lite release, which was declared free of any USL intellectual property. At this point, Rob Kolstad (of the University of Illinois and Convex Computer Corporation) was president of BSDI, and he would run the company until the close of the decade. For a long time in the 1990s, BSDI was the preferred platform of the major ISP's, and they offered special versions of BSDI tailored to the needs of ISP's, with support for 256-port modems and a high-performance multi-connection kernel PPP.
In 1999 there was a shake-up by the employees and a new president was installed, with the intent of having an initial public offering (IPO) as soon as possible. At this point, other companies such as Red Hat had followed the IPO path in the Linux world, to great success. However, the new managers of the company decided to use a great deal of leverage to help build up the company.
In 2000 the company merged with Walnut Creek CDROM, a distributor of freeware and open source software on CD-ROM. Soon after it acquired Telenet System Solutions, Inc., an Internet infrastructure server supplier.
Wind River Systems
In 2001, under severe financial pressure due to too much leverage, BSDI sold its software business unit (comprising BSD/OS, plus the former Walnut Creek involvement in the FreeBSD and Slackware Linux open-source projects) to Wind River Systems and renamed the remainder iXsystems, with plans to specialize in hardware. Wind River dropped sponsorship of Slackware soon afterwards, while the FreeBSD unit was divested as a separate entity in 2002 as FreeBSD Mall, Inc.
Faced with competition from FreeBSD and Linux-based operating systems, Wind River discontinued BSD/OS in December 2003. However, by this time some technology from BSD/OS had been contributed to the open source BSD community.
- Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov (2006). "AT&T Lawsuit Helps to Launch Linux Into Mainstream". Retrieved 2009-04-05.[dead link]
- Dr. Peter Salus (November 2005). "The Daemon, the GNU and the Penguin - Ch. 16, by Dr. Peter Salus". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- McKusick, Marshall Kirk (January 1999). "Twenty Years of Berkeley Unix: From AT&T-Owned to Freely Redistributable". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- personal communications (Robert Kolstad to Donald W . Gillies), November, 1995.
- "BSDi Acquires Telenet System Solutions, Inc.; The New BSDi to Deliver Internet Infrastructure-Grade Software, Systems and Solutions, ''Business Wire''". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- "Wind River to Acquire BSDi Software Assets, Extending Development Platforms to Include Robust UNIX-based Operating Systems for Embedded Devices, ''Business Wire''". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- Slackware Commercial Distribution Left in Doubt as Developers Are Laid Off, Linux Today[dead link]
- Bob Bruce. "Company History". FreeBSD Mall. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- "Wind River terminating BSD/OS". Bsdnewsletter.com. Retrieved 2013-09-11.
- OffMyServer Renames Company iXsystems
- "Welcome to FreeNAS". iXSystems 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.