Gluecode customizes open-source apps

Gluecode Software this week announced a business automation server package that it's positioning as an open-source alternative to proprietary enterprise portal products such as IBM's WebSphere.

Gluecode Enterprise Server 3.5 combines business process management, security management and an enterprise portal in an integrated suite, using open-source applications from the Apache Software Foundation. Pricing starts at US$4,000 (AUD$5291) per month, regardless of the number of servers or users.

Los Angeles-based Gluecode takes the base Apache applications, creates connecting code to customize them based on user requirements and sells the bundle in a package that includes support and a software warranty.

Apache open-source projects include the Apache Web server; the Jetspeed enterprise information portal; Cocoon, a component-based Web development framework; and Ant, a Java-based building tool. There are also open-source Apache projects under way for Web services, component programming, and enterprise mail and news servers.

Mike Hogarth, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis, and a lead informaticist at its Center for Biophotonics, is using Gluecode's Advanced Server application in a test environment to replace a custom portal application created by the school in 1997. The old application had become a "maintenance nightmare," he said, and instead of reworking it, Hogarth decided to try Gluecode. "It was built exactly the way I would want to build my next one," he said.

Proprietary portals would have had "feature overkill" and been too pricey for his 4,500 users, Hogarth said.

Zach Roth, a business manager at AT&T Wireless Services, said he's evaluating Gluecode's portal and business process management engine to automate some first-tier internal support in his department.

"Open-source hasn't been well received throughout the enterprise traditionally," Roth said. "Those battles are still being fought.

"Out of the box, (most open-source applications) are not going to meet your needs 100 percent," he said, adding that with Gluecode's model, "the vendor can be held accountable for nonbelievers."

Greg Stein, chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, said his group encourages companies like Gluecode to take open-source applications and use them to create their own products. "We're very supportive of it," he said. "That's totally fine. That's our basic philosophy."

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