Fresh On the Scene

Last week three former BEA executives, with the help of two venture-capital heavyweights, launched a new company aimed at providing fully supported and certified open-source infrastructure software for running enterprise applications.

Dubbed SourceLabs, the new company is led by CEO Byron Sebastian, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Cornelius Willis and Chief Architect Will Pugh, all of whom left BEA earlier this year. Brad Silverberg, ex-Microsoft senior vice president and founder of Ignition Partners, and Danny Rimer of Index Ventures have joined SourceLabs' board of directors, and together their firms contributed $3.5 million in funding to the Bellevue, Wash.-based startup.

Willis said SourceLabs is angling to be the Dell of open-source software, distributing a combination of products rather than building its own.

SourceLabs plans to take existing open-source software above the OS layer--such as database, application server and portal products--and assemble and certify a stack for specific scenarios, such as to run a CRM system, Sebastian said.

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The company also will sell support and maintenance for that infrastructure on a subscription basis not only through direct sales but by leveraging the channel as well, he said. SourceLabs expects to have beta versions of its first open-source software configurations in about six months, Willis said.

SourceLabs' strategy is similar to that of Atlanta-based JBoss, which provides maintenance and support for a host of open-source infrastructure. The main difference is that JBoss builds the software it supports, whereas SourceLabs aims to partner with leading open-source developers to provide the technology for its certified and tested software configurations.

Joe Lindsay, CTO of solution provider eBuilt, Costa Mesa, Calif., said SourceLabs is an example of how the open-source community will make customers comfortable with choosing open-source software.

"Things are never going to be the same again," he said. "It won't be the idyllic nirvana proposed by the open-source zealots, but a more pragmatic application of the open- source or community-based development paradigm and definitely not the doom and gloom suggested by the folks in Redmond."