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Cisco developer contest drives great applications to Linux

Cisco is in the second phase of a Linux application development contest that won't be winning it any friends in Redmond.

In December 2008, Cisco decided to pay developers to stick a finger in the Microsoft eye with a $100,000 bounty for writing Linux-based applications for its AXP (Application Extension Platform) and Integrated Services Routers (ISRs). Nine hundred registrations and 75 countries later, Cisco has announced its 10 finalists.

What's intriguing about the contest is the diversity of the participants, most of whom are individuals, though there are a few two- or three-person teams. The finalists hail from North (three) and South (two) America, Europe (three), and Asia (two).

Perhaps this diversity lends itself to explaining why the applications developed and ultimately selected represent a disparate mix, especially when one considers that the applications were each designed for a router blade.

With all due respect to Cisco, how exciting can a blade be?

Apparently pretty interesting. The applications include everything from a call processing gateway, live video streaming service, HVAC monitoring for buildings, IP telephony, network fault discovery, rich media advertising, security breach detection, and so on. Pretty impressive.

Now, during the second phase of the contest, which will run from May 15, 2009, until August 15, 2009, the top-10 finalists will work with Cisco to bring the applications to maturity using Cisco resources on Cisco virtual AXP blades. After a final judging period, a winner will be announced in October 2009.

You can follow the contest's Twitter feed, as well as keep abreast on of updates on the contest Web site.

However you choose to follow it, something is brewing at Cisco. It involves open source, and it's aimed at Microsoft. The fun is just beginning.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.