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Making a buck on open-source software

With the explosion of open-source products, you knew that dedicated services companies could not be too far behind. And thatÂ’s exactly what's happening.

Open Source Consulting is the name of the most recent outfit to join the small but growing pack of open-source services firms. The self-funded company says it offers classic IT services—programming, business consulting, administration—around open-source technologies, such as PHP and Linux.

Another company, Optaros, launched at the end of last year. Founded by Bob Gett, the former CEO of dotcom consulting high-flier Viant, Optaros is in ramp-up mode: in landed $7 million in funding earlier this month and just hired open-source guru Robert "r0ml" Lefkowitz as its vice president in charge of research and executive education programs.

Two other companies in the field are SpikeSource, which has Kim Polese as CEO, and SourceLabs, staffed with veterans of BEA Systems and backed by former Microsoft exec Brad Silverberg.

Each of these companies all intends to do something slightly different. But they're all chasing the same dollars: corporate customers warming up to open-source software who need a helping hand.