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Wind River lures Sun server executive

Maker of software for embedded computing devices such as digital cameras hires marketing exec away from server maker.

Wind River Systems, which sells software for embedded computing devices such as digital cameras and network equipment, has hired a marketing executive away from server maker Sun Microsystems.

John Fanelli had been senior director of marketing for Sun's network systems group, where he worked to develop and promote the company's embrace of servers using Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor. At Wind River Systems, Fanelli has been named vice president of product planning and management, the company plans to announce in coming days.

He's not the only one to depart Sun, a company that's managed to stabilize its finances but hasn't returned to the prominence and profits it enjoyed in the late 1990s. Wind River competitor MontaVista Software lured another Sun executive, Peder Ulander. BEA Systems hired Marge Breya, while Azul Systems hired Shahin Khan and Cassatt snared Rob Gingell.

Wind River sells an operating system called VxWorks for embedded computing devices, but in 2004 the company decided to offer Linux as well. Wind River sells not just operating systems but also programming tools that let developers create software for specific devices using VxWorks or Linux.

The Alameda, Calif.-based company also plans to announce the release of a test version of its Linux product for network equipment

In February 2004, Wind River also signed a partnership with Red Hat, the top seller of Linux for server computers. The companies haven't announced any specific achievements from that partnership yet, however.

Embedded Linux is gaining ground in media devices, network equipment and mobile phones. In December, Japanese mobile phone service giant NTT DoCoMo announced a $3 million investment in MontaVista, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and had 182 employees in November. MontaVista's version of Linux is used in three third-generation mobile phones from NTT DoCoMo.