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While open source initiatives have always enjoyed a following despite skepticism and obstacles, the momentum behind this week’s O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Oregon, points to a growing momentum around the movement.

A decade ago, there were big question marks around how open source – in particular, Linux – would fit into business and consumer markets, but those question marks have mostly vanished to show a clear market for open source solutions, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT ( However, open source hasn’t expanded into all areas early industry insiders though it would, he noted.

“You can’t be everything. I think there have been and will continue to be some great opportunities for open source in the years ahead. Particularly, I’m very interested to see how open source is playing in cloud computing environments,” King said.

As more vendors and their customers look to open source, part of the opportunity will come from the increase in competition, he said. Several made announcements this week at OSCON.

OpenStack and open source cloud computing
As OSCON was kicking off on Monday, Rackspace Hosting announced the launch of an open source cloud computing platform called OpenStack that will see several companies and organizations participating in its development. The list includes organizations such as NASA, Dell, Citrix, AMD and Intel, among others (a total of 29 participants were announced at launch).

OpenStack will feature an ever-growing list of cloud infrastructure components, with the first one being a fully distributed object store based on Rackspace Cloud Files. The next component will be a scalable compute-provisioning engine based on the NASA Nebula and Rackspace Cloud Servers technologies.

HP and Red Hat partner for consulting services
HP and Red Hat announced at the beginning of this week that they would be jointly providing consulting services to customers to help them more effectively migrate to the Red Hat open source platform on an HP infrastructure. The HP-Red Hat Migration and Planning Service and the HP-Red Hat Virtualization Planning Service are now available, with pricing varying based on the individual deployment.

Canonical launches IBM-based virtual appliance
Canonical, which is known for Ubuntu, used OSCON to announce it had launched a virtual appliance of IBM’s DB2 Express-C software that runs on the Ubuntu cloud computing platform (in both private and public cloud configurations).

Additionally, the company also announced IBM has completed the validation of the full version of DB2 on Ubuntu 10.4 Long Term Support Server Edition.
These announcements build on an existing partnership between IBM and Canonical.

DB Relay launches at OSCON
The DB Relay open source project that is meant to enable easy database access for more efficient web application development officially launched at OSCON. The technology at the core of DB Relay was designed to eliminate the need for database access drivers and complex middleware.

According to developer Brian Bruns, who was the original developer for FreeTDS and MDB Tools, DB Relay was designed to move complex database connectivity from clients to a simpler architecture that uses a small number of systems.
The open source project is licensed and available under the GPLv3 terms.

SugarCRM open source testing tools
Open source CRM software provider SugarCRM announced at OSCON that it will release new functional and performance testing tools for use with web-enabled applications. The tools will be available under an open source licence with the intent to better enable developers, partners and customers to create custom enhancements and build solutions on SugarCRM’s products. SugarCRM plans to make the tools available within 30 days.

NorthScale updates membase
NorthScale announced an updated version of membase at the convention. The membase project was unveiled as an open source project in June. It’s the distributed key-value management system behind the popular FarmVille game. Co-sponsored by NorthScale, Zynga and NHN Korea, membase was designed to be optimized for storing the data behind interactive web applications. This update includes refreshed beta code. New capabilities include support for data sets that exceed the aggregated size of cluster main memory, a rich array of real-time and historical statistics with graphical presentation, and a standalone membase proxy (NorthScale Moxi Server).

Symbian partners with Nitobi
Symbian, which is known for its open source smartphone platform, and Nitobi (, which created the PhoneGap mobile application development framework, will be collaborating in the open source arena to simplify mobile application development. By integrating the companies’ platform, Symbian and Nitobi are trying to make it easier for mobile developers to more easily make app store-ready applications for all major mobile platforms.

OpSource launches partner ecosystem
Enterprise cloud and managed hosting provider OpSource took the opportunity to announce its new OpSource Partner Ecosystem at OSCON. As a program that will enable integrators, developers, ISVs, cloud platform companies and telecom providers to offer integrated solutions to their joint customers, the OpSource Partner Ecosystem is a three-tier partner program with General Partner, Gold Certified Partner and Platinum Partner levels. According to OpSource, it’s expecting that 50 percent of its revenue will come from the channel in the future.