VA releases proprietary software version

The software maker announces a new proprietary version of SourceForge, the collaborative programming software that now is the centerpiece of the company's survival strategy.

Stephen Shankland
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VA Linux Systems on Tuesday announced a new proprietary version of SourceForge, the collaborative programming software that now is the centerpiece of the company's survival strategy.

Gartner analyst Theresa Lanowitz says collaboration and reporting are two areas critical to the success of any application development project.

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SourceForge was launched as an open-source project, meaning that anyone could see, modify and redistribute the underlying programming blueprints of the package. The new SourceForge Enterprise Edition 3.0, however, is a proprietary product, said spokeswoman Marla Kramer.

The new version, scheduled to ship Nov. 16, integrates better with Oracle databases, makes it easier to keep track of different software versions, has better search capability, and lets administrators monitor the system better, VA said. The company announced its new proprietary direction in August, but said it will continue to improve the open-source SourceForge site as well.

Fremont, Calif.-based VA, which is seeking to change its name to VA Software, left the Linux server business earlier this year after riding the Linux hype to a stellar initial public offering in 1999.

VA is running into some concern about the longevity of its Open Source Developer Network, the flagship of which is a version of SourceForge used to house countless open-source projects. "Those of us who depend on SourceForge for development are, or should be, getting worried," one open-source advocate wrote recently, suggesting as one alternative the Savannah project hosted by the Free Software Foundation.

As a business, SourceForge competes with San Francisco-based CollabNet.

VA also is trying to boost revenue from its other operations. It's promoting more heavily its Thinkgeek site for retail sales. And its Slashdot "news for nerds" site plans to sell subscriptions for ad-free reading.