SpikeSource - an OSS innovation?

Open source software is growing up....


Does SpikeSource represent the next stage in the evolution of open source software as a serious business tool?

It hopes so, and it has some significant names to call on: Kim Polese, its CEO and co-founder, once co-founder of Marimba; Ray Lane, co-founder of SpikeSource and former president of Oracle; Bill Joy, SpikeSource director and former chief scientist at Sun Microsystems; Brian Behlendorf, on the SpikeSource strategic advisory board and founder of the Apache Software Foundation and Collabnet; Tim O'Reilly, also on the Spikesource advisory board and CEO of O'Reilly Media. Polese was the original product manager for Java at Sun and she seems to be doing a good job gathering a similar community around her new company.

SpikeSource has launched in Europe with seven solution providers and that NEC is now shipping SpikeSource globally with its server hardware - the first time it has bundled OSS solutions - which gives SpikeSource an entrance to the conservative Japanese marketplace. It has also added Alfresco OSS enterprise content management to its offering.

So, what does SpikeSource do? Well, essentially it runs (continuously) an extensive automated interoperability testing suite (part open source, part proprietary IP) and services ISV and SI partners, providing tested and certified open source software (OSS) components and fallback support and assistance.

It handles, for example, that annoying corollary of OSS, constantly scanning the web forums for patches, issues, and updates. It manages the risk of OSS for SME ISVs and SIs (although it has some very large partners too) and, more significantly, for SME end users of OSS that can't afford to maintain an IT group. It supplies purely through the channel and doesn't compete with its channel.

OK, so don't RedHat/JBoss, Novell and others do something like this already? Well, only up to a point, according to Polese and her team. SpikeSource maintains complete independence and concentrates on interoperability. It isn't distracted by supporting a single strategic product/platform – and its customers shouldn't suspect a bias towards its own platform.

And what does SpikeSource supply to its partners, in exchange for a subscription to what it calls its SpikeIgnite platform for (by the way) either Linux or Windows? It supplies business-ready (it claims) OSS applications: Centric CRM, Drupal web content management, Open-Xchange email, and JasperSoft Professional BI. It also supplies SpikeNet to monitor and manage its platform.

So, are there issues with all this? Well, SpikeSource is taking OSS to a new business-focused culture (rather like JBoss' Professional Open Source) and some may not like this. It has to work on its relationships with its OSS "OEMs" to make it all work - and that probably includes keeping all sorts of individual OSS developers happy. The open source movement can be very critical, and very vocal, if it doesn't like you or the way you run your business.

But it appears to have this in hand and SpikeSource is making at least some of its tools and expertise available to the OSS communities, even on "unsupported" platforms. There are plenty of people in SpikeSource with experience of building and managing OSS communities.

So, a company well-worth watching, we think. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021