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Stirring Things Up In The Open-Source World

"One of my biggest interests in being in this industry is to try to change it,” said open-source evangelist Winston Damarillo.

An engineer and venture capitalist, Damarillo caused his first software-industry earthquake last year, when IBM scooped up his fledgling open-source application server stack developer, Gluecode Software, for an undisclosed sum. The savvy deal moved IBM deeper into open-source waters while also knocking a potential WebSphere rival out of the ring.

But Damarillo doesn’t intend to let IBM or any of the software industry’s other commercial giants rest easy. Even before the Gluecode buyout closed, the aspiring serial entrepreneur started laying the foundation for his next, more ambitious venture: Simula Labs, a Marina del Rey, Calif.-based umbrella company intended to house an entire collection of ventures building software around a shared stack of open-source components.

Simula Labs’ first portfolio company, LogicBlaze, recently unveiled Fuse, a services-oriented architecture (SOA) platform that integrates Apache Software Foundation database, messaging, orchestration and enterprise service bus technologies. Next month, Simula Labs’ second company, Mergere, will go live with a software life-cycle management toolset incorporating Apache’s Maven project. Damarillo’s ambitious schedule calls for a major product launch every quarter. Simula Labs’ third venture, a systems management software company code-named LiveTribe, is already incubating.

Like Red Hat, MySQL and other commercial vendors focusing on open-source technology, Simula Labs’ strategy is to give away its technology and profit from selling support services. The firm calls its support network CORE (Community-Oriented Realtime Engineering) and intends to use it to link together its portfolio companies. CORE subscriptions, priced at $6,000 per developer per quarter, offer updates, maintenance and source-code for all of Simula Labs’ software, along with access to its developers. Production licenses for the first product offering, LogicBlaze’s Fuse, start at $5,000 per server per year.

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