Centeris lays out open-source, future plans

Linux server management startup Centeris detailed its open-source plans to make a component of its Likewise software downloadable from

Linux server management startup Centeris this week detailed its plans to open source part of its Likewise Management Suite software by making it available for download from

Centeris decided to put Likewise Open Agent on SourceForge, not on its own Web site, as a way to ensure a wide distribution, according to Barry Crist, chief executive officer of Centeris. "SourceForge is the first place developers look for open-source projects," he said in an interview at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) East in Newton, Massachusetts. The open-source download will be available from November 18.

The startup emerged from stealth mode last week to announce a beta release of its first commercial product, Likewise Management Suite, software to allow customers to manage Linux servers in a Microsoft. Windows network. "We had 500 downloads [of Likewise] in the first three days, one third of them from Germany," Crist said. The full version of Likewise is due to appear in December, he added.

Likewise Open Agent will allow customers to carry out simple Linux server administration tasks from the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), predominantly file and print sharing as well as monitoring system performance metrics, according to Crist. MMC is a group of administration tools from Microsoft that ship with its Windows OS. For more sophisticated management tasks such as handling Microsoft's Active Directory or the open-source Apache web server, customers can use the commercial suite, he said.

The open-source code will be available under the Common Development and Distribution License version 1.0.

Centeris has joined Microsoft's partner program, according to Crist. "Initial discussion have been positive," he said, adding that the software giant is coming under increasing pressure from its own customers to have more interoperability between Windows and the open-source Linux operating system.

So far, Likewise only supports the two leading Linux distributions from Novell and Red Hat. Should Centeris see customer demand for support for other Linux distributions, it may provide them or look to the open-source community to do so, Crist said. The startup's ultimate goal for Likewise Open Agent is to have the software ship with Linux distributions, he added, and Centeris is already in talks with the distribution companies.

Looking ahead, Manny Vellon, vice president of products at Centeris said the startup will look to broaden its approach to include more management areas that may include configuration, application, database and network management.

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