Klein will take charge of Wind River, the dominant maker of software for "embedded" computing devices such as airplane radar systems, DVD players and. The company has suffered recently, however, as key telecommunications industry customers have cut back on spending and as rivals such as Microsoft and Linux have emerged.
Klein replaces former CEO Tom St. Dennis, who left the Alameda, Calif.-based company in June and took a job in July as executive vice president of sales and customer satisfaction at chip equipment maker Novellus. In addition, Klein, who joined Wind River's board in July, will take the place of chairman from co-founder Jerry Fiddler.
Klein had been chief operating officer of Mercury Interactive, which sells software for managing business processes.
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Wind River is in the midst of adapting its products so that they work with Linux, a significant change. In October, after years of promoting its own operating systems--chiefly VxWorks--the company MontaVista Software and TimeSys.. That shift means Wind River poses a more direct threat to embedded Linux specialists such as
The Linux operating system, a relative of Unix, has been most commercially successful on servers, which typically have vastly more computing power at their disposal than most embedded computing devices do. Now, embedded computing customers, including the, are beginning to adopt Linux.
Wind River hasn't been Linux's biggest fan, however.
"Linux has a lot of issues for embedded (devices)," Fiddler said in an interview in April. "It's not nearly as nice a fit as it is for the server world."
In addition, because of the General Public License that governs Linux, "the intellectual property issues are very substantial," Fiddler said. Chiefly, the license makes it harder to mix the open-source OS with proprietary modules common in the embedded world, he said.
Before its Linux embrace, Wind River had preferred a different open-source license, the one that governed the BSD offshoot of Unix. Wind River began a plan to, but much of that plan .
Wind River said in June that it would discontinue its BSD/OS product a year later. The cancellation came because the company's financial forecast showed that the product line wasn't expected to meet with stronger demand, a company representative said.