Read our pre-launch exclusive: Spikesource addresses a market similar to SourceLabs, a company set up by former BEA executives (discussed in an earlier post). They may also be addressing a need similar to JBoss, Redhat, or other open source software companies.
In speaking with CEO Kim Polese (Former product manager for Java and former Chairman and CEO of Marimba), she suggested that the current movement around Open Source software was revolutionary and was the result of a mature software market. In a mature market, innovation moves to wards processes. An example of this is Henry Ford, who said of his Model-T "you can have any color you like so long as it's black".
Spikesource is interested in providing process automation for the delivery of validated, integrated, productized, certified and supported software stacks. They are focused on Open Source software, but will certify commercial software also.
The upshot--They will first release a classic LAMJ/LAMP hybrid stack a Dynamic Web page development and deployment stack "as a demonstration of our processes and technologies" Apache Perl PHP Python Java MySQL. Right out of the box everything you need will run on different linux distros including redhat 9 linux3 susue 9.0 fedora 4.1. A single click network installer which can be configured to grab packages. Many languages, all bundled together with a one-click installer, all rigorously tested to work together in an enterprise environment.
The processes they automate include the selection of versions, the selection of components, testing against enterprise software requirements and the provision of all of these functions as a service.
Their advisory board includes many movers and shakers in Open Source including Robert Lefkowitz, Larry rosen, Mitchell baker, Dave stutts, Brian Behlendorf and others. According to Murugan Pal, they are here to endorse Spikesource and to ensure that the company is here to enhance not to exploit Open Source.
TheServerSide analyst Miko Matsumura spoke with Spikesource founder Murugan Pal and recent SpikeSource hire Glen Martin (yes, http://blog.glen-martin.com
Q: How do you see the developer angle here?
Glen Martin: from the IT angle these guys want to find a way to control their costs--they are looking to open source as a way to reduce their dependence of commercial software vendors and proprietary solutions. It's hard to use because there are 85,000 open source projects. Software developers want to see their stuff used, Open source developers are no different. So fundamentally we are increasing the availability of people to come use their stuff--but people who traditionally want the types of integration and support only available in commercial product
Murugan Pal: When programmers program, what is missing? When me and Ray(Spikesource co-founder Ray Lane, former COO of Oracle) were working, a year ago, he asked me "what is missing. What do developers need?" There is so much redundant work going on. You take any single fortune 50 or major ISV and all of them are using Log4J redundantly reproducing big fixes. Sometimes there is a bug with too many fixes. Sometimes there is no fix, sometimes there is incomplete documentation. Same problem in commercial software. Open source is good software, cost effective, vendor neutral. We validate, integrate, productize, certify and support as a service, this is what we do, and that's the mission. We will make sure developers become productive.
Q: What makes your company unique?
Glen Martin: There is a lot of software integrators, RedHat--they do very labor intensive testing. We are trying to automate this as much as we can. We are handling the combinatorial explosion--the complexity increases geometrically with the number of components and with the number of platforms and versions. We limit it through automation, through judicious selection of components and version, through automated testing. We would like to automate earlier in the process not just automated testing but automated integration as well.
Murugan Pal: Our goal from day one is to provide process automation to deliver components trusted long term based customer delivery. Our culture is reliable repeatable consistent and based on a process foundation. Even the judicious selection of components, there is a process there. You walk into a diamond mine, there are gems sitting around. Some of them could be still carbon. You take them and polish it, take them through a process-- that itself is a process. The testing itself becomes a central tenant of what this is. Almost all the other companies in this space talk about the same thing--but what are the objectives metrics that they are measuring? Is it integration? Standards compliance? Regression? Negative tests, boundary tests. How can you integrate these tests in multiple dimension? How about IP rights classification? Security threat assessment?
If 80 percent of the customers fit within a set of requirements, we would like to test all of these dimensions. Our statistics include 6 platforms, 6 language runtimes, 10 different types of testing. Our goal is to elevate how the industry operates nowadays.
Q: How would you compete with someone like JBoss?
Murugan Pal: We see it as coopetition (editor's note: cooperation and competition). A single solution vendor from our perspective doesn't provide a fully integrated stack. Also, we are not in the business of developing new technology.