OSDL Slims Down, CEO Exits

OSDL insiders put a positive spin on the news. "This is pretty typical in an advocacy group. Once you've achieved your mission -- which was to make Linux acceptable to the enterprise -- things changed. Linux has clearly been adopted in the enterprise, and the kernel is hardened," said one insider, who requested anonymity.

OSDL's most famous employee, Linux core developer Linus Torvalds, will remain on staff.

In a statement issued Monday, OSDL said it would continue "to provide a safe haven for key developers, sponsoring the work of Linus Torvalds and others." The group said it also will provide more legal support for Linux and open source via its Patent Commons and Linux Legal Defense fund and other projects, as well as support regional activities and foster collaboration among community developers, OSDL members and others.

The pre-layoff headcount was 35 people, the insider said. Nine people were cut.

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In a message sent to members, COO Mike Temple sought to clarify the changes. "In 2007, OSDL begins its next phase of helping drive the development and adoption of Linux and open-source software," he said.

Cohen is leaving OSDL to work with OVP Venture Partners, a Portland, Ore.-based venture capital firm, according to the statement.

"My experience as CEO of OSDL has been amazing. Helping to grow Linux from an emerging market opportunity to a mature market success has been one of the most rewarding achievements of my career," Cohen said in a statement released by OSDL. He said he will form a venture to "explore open-source joint development using best practices in collaboration and building communities."

OSDL, based in Beaverton, Ore., is backed by 70 technology companies, including IBM, Intel, Red Hat, Novell and Hewlett-Packard.