Open Source, Inc.
It was just about a year ago that Linux Magazine made its debut at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose, CA. Earlier this year, IDG held its third LinuxWorld in less than a year in New York City, and what a show it was! The attendance was close to 20,000 (twice what it was at last year's LinuxWorld), and there were a ton of new exhibitors.
|All Together Now: Brian Behlendorf (center) leads Collab.net’s independent efforts at championing open source projects. |
It was just about a year ago that Linux Magazine made its debut at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Jose, CA. Earlier this year, IDG held its third LinuxWorld in less than a year in New York City, and what a show it was! The attendance was close to 20,000 (twice what it was at last year’s LinuxWorld), and there were a ton of new exhibitors.
Acquisitions were the name of the game at LinuxWorld New York. Atipa Linux Solutions announced that it was purchasing Enhanced Software Technologies (makers of the BRU back-up utility), and VA Linux Systems caught everyone’s attention by announcing that it had acquired Andover.net (the parent company of Slashdot.org and Freshmeat.net).
VA’s announcement set off a firestorm of controversy. Many people were concerned that Slashdot would lose its editorial independence under VA. Many others came to VA’s defense, pointing to Linux.com as an example of the fact that VA understands how to operate community-driven Web sites. For its part, VA pledged that it would in no way interfere with Slashdot’s independence.
But despite the intense attention on Slashdot, it may be that Freshmeat — the most popular software repository in Linuxdom — is the most important piece of the Andover pie. VA has been actively developing a Web site called SourceForge (http:// www.sourceforge.net), where open source developers can host projects and work with other developers. VA also offers SourceForge to corporations that want developers to assist them on corporate-sponsored open source projects. The synergies (you know we’re corporate once we start using the word “synergies” in the same context as Linux…) between SourceForge and Freshmeat are obvious, and it will be interesting to see what VA does with them.
SourceForge is not alone in their efforts. Fast-growing start-up Collab.net launched a similar Web site called Sourcexchange (http:// www.sourcexchange.com) last summer. Collab.net was founded by Brian Behlendorf — the same guy who served as the chief coordinator of the Apache Web Server Project. We had the chance to interview Brian this month (see pg. 54), and the insight he shared with us about both collaborative development generally and the future of Collab.net specifically, was invaluable.
What is happening here is amazing. The open source development model is becoming a corporate phenomenon. Companies like VA and Collab.net are attempting to bridge the gap between two very different worlds, and these players bear careful watching in the future.
Adam M. Goodman
Editor & Publisher