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IBM boosts VA Software push

If you're judged by the company you keep, then VA Software just inked a deal with IBM that could better position the company as an enterprise player in the software development market. As part of the agreement, IBM and VA Software will jointly market and sell the next generation of SourceForge Enterprise Edition, VA Software's collaborative software development platform. In turn, SourceForge Enterprise Edition will fully support IBM's DB2, WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Studio Application Developer and Tivoli management software. SourceForge will also be optimized to run on IBM eServer xSeries Linux servers. In addition, VA Software's Open Source Development Network (OSDN) subsidiary announced that SourceForge.net, an open-source development Web site, will move from the open-source Postgres database to run exclusively on DB2 by mid-January.

Fremont, Calif.-based VA Software has spent the last year or so transitioning from its roots in Linux hardware to an applications software company, and the partnership with IBM is part of its focus on the enterprise, said Ali Jenab, president/CEO. The agreement ''validates our strategy of SourceForge as a product for the enterprise, and it gives us a total package solution, a significant sales and marketing opportunity and broader access to enterprise customers in general,'' he noted. SourceForge will continue to support other platforms, said Jenab, adding that VA Software has ''not lost our commitment to provide services to Linux and the open-source community through OSDN and SourceForge.net.

''About six months ago, we realized that OSDN and the infrastructure under SourceForge.net was not going to scale,'' continued Jenab. ''We're adding 600 new users per day and 70 new projects per day. As part of our relationship with IBM, we'll deploy DB2 under SourceForge.net. IBM gets branding, we get a solid database.''

Asked if IBM also made an investment in the publicly held company, Jenab said he could not disclose the terms of the deal. VA Software, founded in 1993, has not reached profitability yet. However, noted Jenab, ''We've been improving the bottom line consistently, we have an adequate level of cash to fund our business, and we've been cutting the burn rate substantially.'' The relationship with IBM ''validates that they see what we see,'' he said. ''They don't put a partnership together if they don't believe there's something there.''

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.

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