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World's best-dressed Linux backer leaves Sun

Gets embedded at MontaVista

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Peder Ulander, one of Sun Microsystems' Linux desktop leaders, is leaving the company for a much smaller organization - Linux seller MontaVista Software.

Ulander is easily the best-dressed member of the Linux community - think a young, open source-leaning Jerry Sanders. And, hey, he can afford nice clothes. Ulander arrived at Sun following its $2bn buy of Linux appliance-maker Cobalt Networks.

At Sun, Ulander started as a Cobalt marketing chief and then moved on to the company's Java Desktop product. He helped nurture the Java Desktop System from concept to creation and even managed to close a few sales.

Ulander, to say the least, appeared to be a rising star at Sun. He was active in many of the areas favored by Sun's newly tapped President Jonathan Schwartz and seemed to be on Schwartz's good list for this work. So much for that.

Picture of Peder UlanderMontaVista has yet to return calls seeking information on Ulander's role at the company, but one report says he will become vice president of marketing at the firm. MontaVista specializes in making Linux ready to run in embedded devices. The company's SVP in charge of operations Kelly Herrell also used to work at Cobalt with Ulander. Is this Linux appliance set to rise again?

Interestingly, the use of Cobalt Linux recently surged, following Sun's decision to open source the code. Still, Sun's excessive purchase price for the company has left a bitter taste that just won't go away. A fresh BusinessWeek story ripped into the buy, saying ex-Cobalt CEO Steve DeWitt is known internally as the $2bn blond. The story goes on to say much harsher things about Sun's CEO Scott McNealy.

Why did Ulander leave Sun's somewhat successful Linux desktop business for a much smaller company, playing in a most competitive space? Well, the Sun exec is off limits at the moment, so the company tells us, but we'll be sure to bring the reasons for exit soon. ®

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