OSDL Shifts Focus, Cuts Staff

The Open Source Development Labs is shifting its focus in light of the resignation of its former CEO Stuart Cohen.

The Open Source Development Labs has laid off a significant chunk of its engineering staff and has moved to shift its focus.

The OSDL—the sponsor of Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, and other key developers—on Dec. 4 laid off a sizable portion of its engineering staff in a move that left the OSDLs Beaverton, Ore., offices a "ghost town," sources said.

"OSDL is making some changes for 2007, including a realignment in focus and staff," Jennifer Cloer, a spokeswoman for the organization, told eWEEK. "Stuart [Cohen, formerly chief executive of OSDL] is resigning, and current CFO [Chief Financial Officer] Mike Temple will take over as chief operating officer. This realignment includes some layoffs."

/zimages/2/28571.gifThe OSDL does not see patent infringement as a real open-source threat. Click here to read more.

Cohen did not return a call left for him at his office Dec. 4.

However, in a statement, Temple said: "OSDL has made some difficult decisions to align its resources to address specific projects and programs that focus on the things that create the greatest value for its members. Linux has received unprecedented market validation and continues to see unprecedented growth. As the market matures, OSDL will continue to refine its focus to meet the evolving needs of our members."

An official statement from the OSDL said "approximately" nine people lost their jobs and that the OSDL now employs 19 in the United States and Asia. Some of the projects those laid-off employees were working on will be shelved. Yet, OSDL will also outsource some of its IT and infrastructure functions as well as some project work, the OSDL statement said.

Moreover, Cohen, who "resigned to pursue other opportunities related to open-source software and collaboration," said his experience at the OSDL was "amazing" and that helping to grow the Linux market has been one of the most rewarding achievements of his career.

"Im looking forward to forming a venture to explore open-source joint development using best practices in collaboration and building communities," Cohen said in a statement.

The OSDL is shifting its resources to focus on four key areas: continuing to provide a safe haven for key developers, sponsoring the work of Torvalds and others; providing increased legal support for Linux and open source to account for licensing and patent issues that are increasing in complexity (this expansion will complement current OSDL initiatives such as the Patent Commons, Osapa.org and the Linux Legal Defense Fund); supporting ongoing regional activities such as the Japanese Linux Symposium; and fostering closer collaboration among community developers, OSDL members and users to produce more code to advance open-source projects, OSDL officials said in a statement.

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