SAN FRANCISCO - Kim Polese, the woman who coined the term "Java," has found a new job. At the Web 2.0 conference here Thursday, she will unveil a startup called SpikeSource that will provide enterprise support services for open-source software.
The 30-person Bay Area company was founded in 2003 by Chief Technology Officer Murugan Pal, formerly a consultant with SpikeSource investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who was at one time a principal developer in Oracle Corp.'s application server division. Polese, a founder of software vendor Marimba Inc., was hired as chief executive officer (CEO) in the last few months.
The company, which will go live in December, plans to test, certify and support a variety of "stacks" of open source software tailored for enterprise customers, Polese said in an e-mail interview. "We are not a component, or product, vendor. We're a services company. And we're vendor independent," she wrote.
Though open-source software like the Apache server MySQL database and the JBoss application server is gaining wider acceptance in corporate environments, most open-source companies have focused on supporting specific projects, rather than combinations of software.
"Enterprise architects are faced with a huge assortment of open-source building materials. What works with what?" she asked. "Right now, figuring that out is up to the IT staff, and it takes a lot of time and effort. We save them that effort," she said.
SpikeSource's services will be similar to those being prepared by another venture-captial backed startup, SourceLabs Inc., which was publicly announced last week.
"We're both clearly in the same new market," Polese said of SourceLabs. "That's a good thing. Competition makes markets."
SourceLabs, which received US$3.5 million in venture funding, including an investment from Ignition Partners, plans to begin certifying and testing open-source software, as well as selling open-source support and maintenance subscriptions similar to those offered by Red Hat Inc.
"There are companies starting to realize that this is an interesting space," said Brian Behlendorf, a founder of the Apache project, who is familiar with SpikeSource.
Though open-source companies have tended to focus on supporting a single program, like the MySQL database or the JBoss application server, there is a growing demand for vendors who can assemble a variety of open-source technologies into a single stack of "known quantities," without being wedded to any one project, said Behlendorf, who also serves as chief technology officer of CollabNet Inc.
"I think that's where this new breed of companies are perhaps different. They're not agnostic, but over time they can evolve. If a better open-source Web server comes out, they can rip out Apache and put that in," he said.
Over the last year, SpikeSource developers have popped up on discussion lists for a number of open-source projects, asking questions about software that could be used to manage a collection of open-source software, including OpenPKG software installation manager, the Ximian Red Carpet software management system.
Kleiner Perkins referred questions about SpikeSource to General Partner Ray Lane, formerly president and chief operating officer of Oracle Corp. Lane was unavailable for comment by press time.