You may never have heard of BitRock, the company that has traditionally competed with OpenLogic, SpikeSource, and SourceLabs in the "open-source stacks" business but has seen much more success with its excellent installers, which upwards of 60 percent of commercial open-source projects use including SugarCRM, JasperSoft, Ringside Networks, and more. The name may be unfamiliar to you, but not for long.
Why? Because BitRock is about to claim the center of the open-source world's attention, as Stephe Walli, an advisor to BitRock, pointed out two months ago following the Open Source Business Conference. It's called the Network, you're likely to be buying into one very soon, if you haven't already.
As open-source companies seek ways to monetize their code, a common theme has emerged: Networks. Red Hat has Red Hat Network. JBoss developed the JBoss Operations Network (recently graduating to 2.0 status). MySQL has its Monitor. And so on.
The problem with this approach is twofold: 1) It forces vendors to reinvent the Network wheel over and over again and 2) It leaves both vendors and customers isolated within one vendors Network offering. BitRock resolves this by providing a common infrastructure upon which the open-source vendor community can build, as Stephe notes:
The BitRock Network Service provides the platform of tools and infrastructure on which companies can build their own profitable network solutions around their open source software offerings. Companies can provide value-added subscription services like updates, monitoring and (soon) backup without having to build the solution from scratch.
Faster time to Network/market through BitRock should enable more open-source companies to scale revenue faster which, in turn, should result in more open-source code being written. What's not to like?
Here's what the service looks like:
There's one company that could throw a wrench into the BitRock cogs, however, and that's Red Hat, in partnership with Hyperic. Red Hat and Hyperic recently open sourced the JBoss Operations Network code (which was founded on Hyperic's technology), dubbing it the RHQ Platform Project.
BitRock has the benefit of being a neutral "Switzerland." Red Hat has the benefit of brand and RHX, a central meeting place for open-source companies.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but at least open-source companies won't need to go it alone in building their Network services any longer.