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Sun invests $5 million in Tripwire

The funding--part of a $24 million investment in the security software company--is a further display of Sun Microsystems' support for the open-source software model.

Sun Microsystems has put in $5 million of a $24 million investment in Tripwire, a further display of the company's support for the open-source software model.

Tripwire, based in Portland, Ore., makes software that detects when important files have been changed, whether accidentally, deliberately or through the actions of an intruder. The company released its software as open source last year, meaning that anyone may download, use and modify it without charge.

While this sharing, cooperative philosophy contrasts starkly with the traditional proprietary programming philosophy, open-source software has proven immensely successful for the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server software and several other projects.

How exactly to convert that popularity into corporate revenues is still an open question, but Sun is among several companies courting open-source programmers as a way to advance some software. Sun has released the source code for its Star Office software, a suite of office programs that compete with Microsoft Office.

Tripwire hopes to make money by selling its software for use on all manner of devices, from servers to Palms, the company has said.

Tripwire has grown over the years, now employing 143 people, spokeswoman Kerry Elliott said.

The new funding round was announced Tuesday. New investors besides Sun were Deutsche Banc Alex Brown, ClearLight Partners and Riverside Management. Earlier investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures and also contributed to the funding round, Tripwire said.