Dell, other industry giants back start-up Collab.Net

The company, which connects open-source programmers to others needing their services, receives a $35 million endorsement of its plans from Dell Computer, Oracle and others.

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Collab.Net, a site to connect open-source programmers to companies needing their services, has received a $35 million investment from Dell Computer, Oracle, TurboLinux, Novell, Hewlett-Packard and others.

New investors in Collab.Net also include W.R. Hambrecht, Opus360, Niku and Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and a member of Collab.Net's board.

In the open-source model, programmers share software without proprietary restrictions. The model is best known for the creation of the Linux operating system, but several other examples also have spread widely, including the Apache Web server software, bringing business legitimacy to the model.

Collab.Net, an attempt to capitalize on this legitimacy, was founded by Hewlett-Packard and Brian Behlendorf, an originator of Apache. Earlier investors include venture capital firm Benchmark Capital.

Collab.Net is led by chief executive Bill Portelli, former general manager of consulting services for software firm Cadence.