Keep an Eye on These Open Source Trendsetters


OpenMoko, Untangle, Marketcetera, SnapLogic and Kickfire are just five of the 10 open source companies Network World writer John Fontana says are evidence that open source is no longer just "a trendy conversation." Open source is now a "community that has grown up," and these are its progeny -- companies producing cutting-edge technology to meet corporate customer needs.


Kickfire, named for a combination of "kickstart" and "fire," began in 2006 and offers a MySQL-based analytics appliance. Fontana says it's worth watching because it combines hardware and software to create a fast database query experience - not to mention the industry's first SQL chip.


Begun in April 2006 by Graham Miller and Toli Kuznets, Marketcetera will launch its product, the first open source platform for automated trading, later this year. Fontana says the platform provides traders with flexibility, allows easier deployment and in turn, saves costs.


Taiwan-based Openmoko also began in 2006. The company recently released its Neo FreeRunner, an open mobile platform that allows developers to create customized mobile devices and applications. As Fontana put it, it's a computer in the form of a phone. The company could provide some pushback to Google's Android and to OpenSymbian.


SnapLogic and Untangle are not new to IT Business Edge or Open for Business readers. Carl Weinschenk talked to Untangle CTO Dirk Morris late in 2007 and I have written about the company more than once. The company began last year when Morris and co-founder John Irwin set out to drastically reduce the cost and complexity of security software for businesses.


Similarly, SnapLogic has been featured in IT Business Edge's Mergers and Integrations blog, and Loraine Lawson spoke to SnapLogic's CEO, Chris Marino, in April 2008. The company began in 2006 and has raised $2.5 million in Series A venture capital from Dhillon Capital. SnapLogic brings data behind the firewall together with software-as-a-service data that's on the other side.


Open source has grown up, Fontana says. I'd guess these companies are just the first of its cutting-edge offspring.