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Ringside Networks looks to flavor social apps with open source

Still in stealth mode, a company looks to use open source to make it easier to build social applications on the Web.

Veteran tech entrepreneur Bob Bickel has let out a whisper of his new venture, Ringside Networks, which is looking to combine open source with social networking.

Bickel worked at open-source company JBoss, where he was head of business development, and at application server maker Bluestone, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard.

He said he has assembled a group of people who have worked at those two companies and he's gotten the support of venture capitalist David Skok from Matrix Partners, an investor in JBoss.

In his personal blog on Tuesday, Bickel, a runner and track coach, described his frustration in trying to add social features to a running Web site.

He said Ringside Networks will look to make it easier to make social applications that are outside of the large social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

"The common thread is that these are all social applications, but just a bit different than the 'off the shelf' social applications that you typically see. It is when I began to wish there was something that lets me build and deploy social applications easily. Hmmm, maybe it is a good idea for a company..."

He said the company will providing initial test software in the first quarter of this year.