ServersIBM Expands Paid Open Source Strategy

IBM Expands Paid Open Source Strategy

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IBM is making a bid on professional open source with the acquisition of privately-held Gluecode, officials announced Tuesday.
Big Blue will use Gluecode’s open source software as a springboard to paid services and its WebSphere line.

Financial and operational details of the merger were not announced at press time.

Gluecode’s operations will be assimilated into IBM’s software group and expand the company’s WebSphere application integration middleware product line.

Officials plan to offer customers and business partners Gluecode’s application server software and sell software and support services on top of the offering, as well as let customers upgrade to IBM WebSphere products.

“With the Gluecode acquisition, IBM enables customers and Business Partners to tap the low cost of entry of open source technology to quickly develop and deploy applications, and migrate to WebSphere software as business needs expand,” Robert LeBlanc, IBM software group general manager of application and integration middleware, said in a statement.

The Gluecode software stack is comprised of three Apache Software Foundation (ASF) projects: Geronimo, an application server; Pluto, a portal framework; and Derby database.

The company uses a professional open source model to garner revenues and fund operations. After customers download the free software, Gluecode provides a subscription-based premium service for technical support issues and software updates.

The deal highlights an increasingly popular business model in a world where more and more companies are looking at the cost benefits of open source software but need the support that a paying customer would get in order to trouble shoot technical problems.

Companies like JBoss have based their entire business around the professional open source model. The company hosts a number of open source projects under its JBoss Enterprise Middleware Systems (JEMS) and makes money providing customer support and other premium services.

IBM also announced Tuesday it would become an active contributor to the Apache Geronimo project and donate software feature developed for Gluecode. Big Blue will also contribute code to the ASF that allows Eclipse-based tools for developing, debugging and deploying Geronimo-based software.

The Armonk, N.Y., has already made inroads contributing code to the ASF. Last year, IBM contributed the code for its Cloudscape embedded database to the ASF. The open source organization took over management of the code in August 2004 and labeled it Apache Derby.

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