Sunday, March 19, 2006

Open source players unite for patch testing


Spikesource has teamed up with a group of open source application developers to test and certify software patches for commonly used applications with their business suites.

Partners include virtualisation provider Xensource, CRM vendor SugarCRM, Business Intelligence specialist JasperSoft, LogicalWare mail management and the Alfresco content management software.

The programme for example will test a patch for the Apache web server and ensure that it works well with the SugarCRM application before it is distributed to subscribers of the service. Both SugarCRM and Spikesource will provide support for the stack as well as the actual application.

"We'll partner with companies to certify their products on top of our stack, " Nick Halsey, vice president of Strategic Alliances and International Sales with Spikesource, told

The approach is new to the software industry, he claimed. Patches currently are certified only for a specific application, and require users to test for possible compatibility issues with third party products.

"We want to raise the bar and provide higher level of testing and support."

"Before, you had Linux operating systems available that were supported and you had applications that were supported. But what about everything else that you had to run in between? There is a tremendous amount of infrastructure that goes into setting up a J2EE server."

The programme evolved out of a similar offering that was launched last month with SugarCRM. It sparked other open source software vendors to create similar programmes.

Spikesource makes its money by collecting, testing and distributing patches for a series of commonly use open source middleware applications. Those services are sold on a subscription basis at fees between $995 and $65,000 per year, depending on the system configurations.

The company also has created a collection of seven stacks of open source applications that the company tested and certified to work together.

The stacks enable IT departments to pick a fully functional stack of applications instead of having to test and integrate dozens of open source solutions themselves, promising to make it safer and easier for companies to adopt and rely on open source. A typical J2EE server for instance can be made up of up to seventy components, Halsey said.

Spikesource was first launched in April 2005. The company logged over 100,000 software downloads and claims "a few dozen" paying customers, according to Halsey.


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