Firetrust chief executive Nick Bolton says the company has launched its MailWasher Server antispam filter as an open source product because the antispam market is becoming commoditised and Firetrust "spent too long developing it, to get it the way we wanted."
The result was when MailWasher Server was launched as a proprietary product in September, "we missed the boat", Bolton says.
Its relaunch at the end of January as an open source product was "a re-alignment of our strategy to get people interested in it and we hope developers will get on board and help."
He points to other open source antispam products such as SpamAssassin and SpamBayes and says much of the knowledge behind antispam software has its origins in the open source realm.
MailWasher Server has been renamed MailWasher Server Open Source and Bolton says a non-open source version, with certification and more support, will be available for organisations who want it.
MailWasher Server Open Source is released under the General Public Licence and the Firetrust Public Licence, a variation of the Mozilla Public Licence 1.1.
New Zealand Open Source Society spokesman Peter Harrison says "in terms of our opinion of the software, specifically we don't have one.
"As with all other open source projects, it will live or die depending on the user base and community that gather around it."
Open source is now so mainstream that such a release isn't such "big news" as it would have been in the past, he says.