Stars align for open source

The LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco last week featured strategic partnerships among key companies and the release of proprietary commercial code to the community.

On the partnership front, leading open source database provider MySQL lined up Dell and Novell to resell its MySQL Network directly to their customers. MySQL introduced the network in February as a subscription offering that includes certified software updates, technical support, and indemnification for enterprise customers using its database.

MySQL is an integral part of the LAMPstack, which Dell is packaging with its hardware. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and either the PHP, Perl, or Python scripting language.

Many companies have seen IT budgets tighten in the past several years, said Noel Yuhanna, senior analyst at Forrester Research. As such, stacks of proprietary software comparable to LAMP have become increasingly cost-prohibitive for many companies.

This trend has made the open source stack an attractive alternative to more expensive options, Yuhanna added.

LAMP is also winning the support of some of the industry's most influential companies, backing that should continue to drive open source software into mainstream customer accounts, Yuhanna said.

Indeed, a host of industry powerhouses led by VMware last week rallied around open source, with plans to develop open virtualisation standards. AMD, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM are among the vendors partnering with the virtualisation company, an independent subsidiary of EMC.

Under the new VMware Community Source program, VMware is now giving partners access to its VMware ESX Server source code and interfaces.

For its part, IBM cozied up to Apache Software's Geronimo open source Java application server by announcing at LinuxWorld that in September it will launch its first support services for Geronimo.

IBM already backed Geronimo with its May purchase of Gluecode Software, a company with several Geronimo developers and a product based on components of the open source application server.

Meanwhile, Novell took a page out of Red Hat's playbook in the LinuxWorld release of an open source version of its Suse Linux OS, which it calls the OpenSuse project. Red Hat already has a similar project with Fedora, which offers an open source alternative to the company's Red Hat Enterprise Linux commercial distribution.

Novell will change the name of its Suse Linux Professional to Suse Linux, and it will host its open version at a new Web site, opensuse.org.

Mark Webbink, deputy general counsel at Red Hat, also said the company's plans to turn the new Fedora Foundation into a nonprofit stalled briefly. The company established the group in June to oversee development of the Fedora project.

When Red Hat announced the launch of the foundation, the company expected it to be up and running as a nonprofit by mid-August. Now it looks like the foundation will be set up by mid-September.

China Martens of the IDG News Service contributed to this article.

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