FreeBSD Mall, formerly known as Walnut Creek CDROM, was founded in
August 1991 by Bob Bruce, with the goal
of publishing affordable CDROMs of source code, shareware and other
information freely available on the Internet. We started out in
Walnut Creek, California, but a year later we moved to nearby
Concord because the rent was cheaper there.
In early 1993 we were contacted by Jordan Hubbard, who
represented a small group of people working on 386BSD. They were
interested in starting their own project, and we agreed to work with
them to publish it on CDROM. Rod Grimes came to Concord to work on
the CDROM, which we estimated would take about five weeks. Rod
ended up staying nearly six months. During this time the project
changed its name to "FreeBSD". Rod not only produced the first
CDROM, but also converted our FTP and fileservers over to FreeBSD.
We have used FreeBSD as our server OS ever since.
In June 1994, Jordan Hubbard moved back to the US from Ireland, and
accepted a job with us. His job was to work on FreeBSD and do
regular releases that we could publish on CDROMs.
In October of 1994, David Greenman, a co-founder and principal
kernel architect for FreeBSD, began working for us as the sysadmin
for our FTP server. In addition to routine maintenance, David used
the server as a testbed for improvements to FreeBSD. Our ftp server
was originally located at ftp.cdrom.com, and was widely known for
shareware and games, as well as Unix and Linux software. In 1999 we
changed the domain to ftp.freesoftware.com, and began focusing
exclusively on Unix and Linux software. Over the years our server
has set numerous records, and for many years it was the busiest
single CPU server on the Internet, with more than 2 terabytes of
downloads on a busy day. On some days we had more than 800 complete
copies of FreeBSD downloaded.
During most of 1994 we were unable to publish any FreeBSD products
because of the AT&T
lawsuit. Once the lawsuit was settled, we began publishing
again in January 1995. Many people were interested in getting
regular updates, so we began offering the FreeBSD CDROMs on a subscription plan, and we also began
snapshots of the current track. In 1995 we
teamed up with Greg Lehey, and began publishing FreeBSD books,
including The Complete FreeBSD.
FreeBSD's popularity grew steadily, and by 1997, it was our most
successful product. We began publishing a FreeBSD
newsletter. In 1999 we sponsored the
first FreeBSD Conference, in Berkeley, California. It was attended
by over 325 people, and 18 exhibitors, which was the maximum the
conference center could accommodate. In 2000 we sponsored
BSDCon-2000 in Monterey, California. BSDCon is now an
annual event, sponsored by Usenix.
In March 2000, we merged with Berkeley Software Design Inc (BSDi),
in an effort to combine the popularity and scalable development
model of FreeBSD with the commercial support and additional features
In May of 2001 the software assets, including the FreeBSD Mall,
were purchased from BSDi by Wind
River Systems. BSDi changed its name to iXsystems, and currently focuses
exclusively on hardware. The FreeBSD Mall moved to Alameda,
In January of 2002 FreeBSD Mall became an independent company, and
moved back to sunny Concord, California.
In addition to the people mentioned above, there are many others
who have contributed to the success of FreeBSD Mall:
Jack Velte, who was vice president from 1992 to
Pat Rietz, who was vice president from 1996 to 2000. Among many
other contributions, Pat organized and ran the first two BSD
Theresa Elam, who was
instrumental in creating a retail presence for FreeBSD. Thanks to
Theresa, FreeBSD is available at CompUSA, Best Buy, Fry's, etc.,
and the FreeBSD Handbook and The Complete FreeBSD
books are on the shelf at Border's, Barnes and Noble, and
Jim Mock and Murray Stokely, who
edited the first and second editions, respectively, of the FreeBSD
We have been privileged to have many FreeBSD
core team members, committers, and other members of the FreeBSD
community work with us over the years, including Rod Grimes, Jordan Hubbard, David
Greenman, Justin Gibbs,
and David O'Brien.
FreeBSD Mall is an active and enthusiastic participant in the
FreeBSD and Open Source communities. To see a long list of past and
current contributions we have made, please click here.