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Open-source programming site expires

SourceXchange, an attempt to capitalize on the enthusiasm of the open-source programming movement, closes its doors.

SourceXchange, an attempt to capitalize on the enthusiasm of the open-source programming movement, has shuttered its doors.

The SourceXchange effort, spawned by publishing company O'Reilly and Associates and Hewlett-Packard in 1999, linked open-source programmers with corporations that needed programming jobs done. SourceXchange took a cut of the proceeds.

Brian Behlendorf, a founder of the popular open-source Apache software project, helped to launch SourceXchange and build a company around it called CollabNet. But CollabNet has gradually moved into consulting to help established companies take advantage of the open-source movement and into selling its collaborative programming tool, SourceCast.

In a note sent to customers and posted to the Web site, Behlendorf said there simply wasn't enough business.

"While a unique idea, and one that we feel really adhered more closely to the open-source ideal than any other work-for-hire site ever did, it simply did not achieve the volume of business necessary to maintain the site and evolve the offering to meet the needs of sponsors and developers," Behlendorf said.

There were no layoffs at the company, a CollabNet spokesman said.

CollabNet, which has drawn investments from Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and from Benchmark Capital, hosts several open-source programming projects. Companies paying for this service include Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Motorola and HP.

SourceCast competes chiefly with VA Linux Systems' SourceForge Onsite service.

The open-source programming movement, which has powered initiatives such as the Linux operating system, is the foundation of the software of companies such as Red Hat and Caldera Systems. But the technology downturn has swept aside efforts such as Zelerate's e-commerce software, while others such as ArsDigita are adopting proprietary software as they seek profitability.