The FreeBSD Mall Company History
 
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February 8, 2014

FreeBSD 10.0 CD and DVD are shipping now. You may order your copy here: CD, DVD.

October 23, 2013

FreeBSD 9.2 CD and DVD are shipping now. You may order your copy here: CD, DVD.

June 27, 2013

FreeBSD 8.4 CD are shipping now. You may order your copy here: CD

January 17, 2013

PC-BSD 9.1 DVD are shipping now. You may order your copy here: DVD.

 
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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 publishing 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 of BSD/OS.

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, California.

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 1996.

  • Pat Rietz, who was vice president from 1996 to 2000. Among many other contributions, Pat organized and ran the first two BSD Conferences.

  • 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 Amazon.com.

  • Jim Mock and Murray Stokely, who edited the first and second editions, respectively, of the FreeBSD Handbook.

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, Gary Palmer, Murray Stokely, Mike Smith, Christopher Shumway, Bill Swingle, Jim Mock, Jason Evans, Greg Sutter, John Baldwin, Eric Melville, Valentino Vaschetto, Chern Lee, Bill Paul, 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.

Bob Bruce
President