RealTime IT News

SourceForge Opens up to Commerce

With over 100,000 hosted open source projects, SourceForge.net for years has been the biggest resource for those looking for open source code. Thanks to a new effort, the site's developers now can look to expand their financial resources, too.

The new SourceForge.net Marketplace made its debut today, enabling registered open source projects to offer paid services and support through the site.

At launch, the Marketplace houses 600 open source projects selling services or support. Sellers in the Marketplace are free to set their own prices for offered services, while SourceForge.net makes money from by taking a small fee from each sale.

SourceForge's paid services entry will likely compete against other open source services marketplaces, including Red Hat's Exchange effort and Novell's Market Start channel program. Red Hat's Exchange opened in May as a way for open source vendors to sell their wares directly through Red Hat.

Other vendors such as Spikesource have offered their own version of open source software support with validated and certified solutions and stack.

"These approaches are all different than what we're doing with SourceForge.net Marketplace," Mike Rudolph, vice president for SourceForge and SourceForge.net Marketplace, told InternetNews.com. "We've built an open, scalable platform that enables both established, commercial open source projects and new emerging projects to get access to a global market of technology professionals."

The SourceForge.net Marketplace has been in testing since May. The site's personnel selected the initial projects that were included in the phase.

"For the Open Beta period, we invited a small group of projects and collected and vetted names through an interest list we established," Rudolph said. "Now that we've launched, any SourceForge.net user in good standing can register to sell on the Marketplace."

The SourceForge.net Marketplace does not have a certified testing program in place for marketplace solutions, though Rudolph said a validation process occurs during seller registration.

According to Rudolph, the SourceForge.net Marketplace is a long-term strategic imperative for his company.

"Ultimately, our role is to ensure success for the open source community," Rudolph said. "We've done this previously by providing a development, hosting and distribution environment. The Marketplace is a logical extension that now allows the community to generate income; either to build a business or just to augment existing income from their full-time work."

In providing support and services for open source projects, the Marketplace and its members may also further penetration for open source in the broader IT marketplace, he said.

"Our hope is that the consistent and trusted supply of service offerings that are available will actually help break down the current barriers to adoption of open source software in the enterprise," Rudolph said.