OSBC Annos and Demos

It's Wednesday, so I must be in San Francisco. I'm attending just one day of this week's two-day Open Source Business Conference, but it's been a good one.

It's amazing to see all the application vendors at this show--about 30 by my count. That's not many compared with other trade shows, but it's more than double the number that even existed two years ago when this event first got off the ground. Attendance was light, too, but close to what event organizers expected. OSBC's conference director Matt Asay was talking about 750 attendees when I interviewed him last week, but at the show I was hearing numbers closer to 625.

I was also able to catch some of the show's top product demos. My favorite was an enterprise mail server and client from San Mateo, CA-based Scalix. Scalix 10 uses Linux clustering technology to automatically detect failed messaging services and reroute email traffic to alternative servers. The company claims to achieve 99.999 percent e-mail uptime. The product also includes support for cross-platform calendar interoperability; provides 64-bit support for Fedora Core, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, and SuSE Linux OSS 10 operating systems; and features an AJAX-based Scalix Administration Console that provides global password management to facilitate policy enforcement and automated reporting of user mailbox size.

Other news from this show you should know:

- Sun Microsystems made good on its promise last December to open the architecture for the UltraSPARC T1 multicore processor. Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz made the announcement yesterday's during his conference-opening keynote. The move is part of Sun's OpenSPARC Initiative, which is part of an overall strategy to make the SPARC chip family more hospitable to operating systems other than Solaris. Schwartz said that the chip will be licensed under the GPL.

- SpikeSource and SugarCRM announced a distribution and resale deal at the show. SugarCRM, the Cupertino, CA-based commercial open-source CRM vendor, will distribute the Spike Stack for Sugar Professional, a Sugar-optimized LAMP stack, and resell Spike Net, a solution that delivers customized software updates to maintain the stack. Redwood City, CA-based SpikeSource is a provider of what it calls ''business ready open source software.'' Basically, the company packages, tests and maintains open-source software stacks. Interestingly, during her keynote, SpikeSource CEO Kim Polese talked about the evolution of the software model as an increasingly cooperative effort among companies. Nice to see a company practicing what its execs preach.

- BEA Systems plans to open source the EJB 3 portion of its Java-based Kodo persistence engine, which the Cupertino, CA-based company acquired when it bought SolarMetric in November. Look for the open-sourced Kodo technology under its new name: Open JPA (Java Persistence APIs). It should be available later this year through the Apache Software Foundation, a BEA spokesperson said.

- EnterpriseDB Corporation announced a significant upgrade to its flagship database product. Advanced Server 8.1 is based on PostgreSQL 8.1.2, the latest version of the venerable open-source database. Among the new features are Oracle-style packages, Oracle-style sequences, and other features designed to improve compatibility with Oracle. The Edison, NJ-based startup launched the first public beta of the DBMS in May of last year.

- Black Duck's new Enhanced Due Diligence program, launched at the show, may well be the first product of its kind. The Waltham, MA-based company's new offering ''brings together focused legal expertise and the best technology for automated code review and analysis, and makes that powerful combination readily available on demand anywhere in the world.'' In other words, it helps users to conduct more thorough, accurate, and efficient due diligence and technology assessments by establishing a framework and methodology for determining and documenting the pedigree of software assets.

I'll be following up on more news from this show next week. For now, it's back to SJ tomorrow for the rest of RSA.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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