Simula Labs Launches Online Marketplace For Open Source Apps - InformationWeek

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11/10/2006
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Simula Labs Launches Online Marketplace For Open Source Apps

Winston Damarillo's latest venture intends to enable as many open source startups as possible. "The best open source technology projects stay small and nimble," he says.

Winston Damarillo has produced a successful start up, Gluecode, which introduced the idea of combining different pieces of open source code into an integrated stack. He sold Gluecode less than a year after founding it to IBM in May 2005. Now he's back with another open source combination play.

But this time it isn't a collection of code that he's offering. It's a collection of companies, forming an open source marketplace that gives developers a return on their voluntarily developed code "while they sleep."

In other words, they don't have to focus on developing a business, raising venture capital and pursuing customers. Damarillo's Simula Labs will host their product on its CoRE Network, an open source site [http://www.simulalabs.com/core-network.html] where enterprise IT managers can find, download and sign a support contract for finished code. The users receive patches, updates, indemnification and first level support from Simula Labs. If the problem is greater than general open source expertise can solve, the support escalates to the developers of the code.

"The best open source technology projects stay small and nimble. If they try to form a company, they think they need to make themselves big fast, find venture capital funding, hire a sales force and achieve Fortune 2000 sales," says Damarillo. Instead, by leveraging the CoRE Network, they can stay focused on producing code, while enterprise IT managers shop among their wares and sign up for support contracts.

"We're now creating a marketplace. We want to enable as many open source start ups as possible," Damarillo says.

That marketplace may someday be huge, but today it remains small. Simula is parent company to LogicBlaze, supplier of the Fuse bundle of Apache Software Foundation open source code, such as Active MQ messaging system and ServiceMix enterprise service bus. Another Simula company is Mergere, which produces Maestro, based on Apache's Maven code lifecycle management project.

CoRE Network was founded to offer these products to IT managers as a download site. Then Damarillo realized the software that undergirds it—the version control, the packager of source code into ready to run compiled code, and the installer—could be used by open source development projects as an automated business arm.

LogicBlaze and Mergere have been joined by WebTide, which offers Jetty, a Java Web server and content server, and HighTide, a set of Ajax libraries and other services that can be used with Jetty to generate Web services.

Another firm using CoRE Network is Covalent Technologies, which offers Enterprise Ready Server, a Web server that includes a Java application server for running Java applications on Web sites. And what goes around, comes around. Damarillo says he has a deal with IBM to sell Gluecode on the CoRE Network site.

Damarillo claims CoRE Network is the mechanism that's been missing to monetize a return on the open source developers' work. If the Simula marketplace works, it will swing open the door further to open source being a sustained supplier of code used in enterprise, he says.

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