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MuleSource Launches MuleForge for Open-Source SOA

Open source ESB vendor MuleSource on Tuesday announced MuleForgeMuleForge, a repository of
extensions and applications for its Mule product. The site already hosts
more than 40 projects from MuleSource partners, but Mule hopes that it
will attract other users, becoming a collaborative development site
based around Mule.

Achieving this could be difficult as far as composite applications built
on top of the ESB are concerned: Most are developed in-house by
enterprises that need to automate some kind of business process, so
publishing them for others to use might be seen as giving up competitive
advantage. But it could have more success in persuading others to
contribute code for service-enablement, enabling more server platforms,
mainframes and SaaS providers to be accessed by Mule. Connectivity for a
wide variety of applications is a big selling point for an ESB, so
enlisting the open-source community to provide some of these for free
could give MuleSource a powerful advantage.

As an incentive, MuleSource is saying that some software published on
MuleForge will be rolled into the main Mule codebase, and thus
officially supported by the vendor. That could be attractive to
contributors worried about compatibility of extensions with future
versions, as well as to companies who hope to offload support for
internal apps. Of course, support is only available to paying customers,
who MuleSource estimates make up about a third of Mule's total user
base. And which extensions are rolled back into the main Mule code is
ultimately up to MuleSource: It won't automatically support everything
uploaded to the site.

Like Mule itself, all the MuleForge projects are released under the CPAL (Community
Public Attribution License)
, a relatively new license originally
written by enterprise Wiki vendor SocialText. Similar to the
better-known GPL, this requires that anyone getting a copy of the
program also be given access to the source code, but extends this
requirement to cover networked users and adds a condition that the
program's authors be given credit. MuleSource also offers traditional
per-seat licenses for Mule, and says that in future releases the
paid-for version might differ from the free download.

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