Scalix to Contribute Software to Open-Source Community

 
 
By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-07-26
 
 
 

PORTLAND—Scalix has taken the open-source plunge and will contribute parts of the source code for its messaging infrastructure platform to the community.

It has also negotiated a new licensing agreement with Hewlett-Packard that supports open-sourcing the portions of the Scalix product line that are based on HPs OpenMail technology.

At the annual OSCON (OReilly Open Source Conference) here on July 26, Scalix also announced that it will turn its popular Community Edition software into an open-source project. That software is currently available for free to users, but is not open.

The Scalix Community Edition Open Source software will consist of the Scalix Server, a new Web services API platform for application integration, the Scalix Installer, the Scalix Administration Console, Scalix Web Access Mobile and new search and indexing services. It will also include Scalix Ready open-source components.

Scalix will also provide a free upgrade path to current Community Edition users, Glenn Winokur, Scalixs president and CEO, told eWEEK.

Click here to read more about Scalix 10.

In line with these moves, Scalix now plans a dual licensing strategy, and has created the SPL (Scalix Public License), a derivative of the MPL (Mozilla Public License) which allows the use of third-party code not licensed under MPL as well as the co-existence with commercial code components.

The issue of license proliferation is a thorny one in the open-source community.

In April 2005 the OSI (Open Source Initiative) said that license proliferation had become a significant barrier to open-source deployment.

Some in the industry, like Peter Yared, the CEO of ActiveGrid in San Francisco, believe that such custom open-source licenses like this from Scalix and SugarCRM are in the interests of the publishers rather than their communities.

"What we need are [fewer] licenses, not more, and we definitely dont need open-source licenses with company names in them," he told eWEEK.

There will also be a commercial license for the Scalix enterprise product and a mechanism for community contributions.

"Using an MPL-derived license in a dual-licensing model is very common in the open-source community today," Florian von Kurnatowski, Scalixs newly appointed director of open-source programs, said.

"It is the most flexible choice of a license as it allows both the open-source community and third parties with proprietary licenses to integrate."

Scalix is already offering the source code for the Novell Evolution client connector under a GPL-based license, but its Outlook MAPI connector will remain closed source. However, it will be enabled to interoperate with the open-source server components.

"Scalix Community Edition Open Source will be a major step toward a complete stack of enterprise-ready open-source applications, complementing other leading solutions such as SugarCRM and Alfresco," said Winokur.

The open-source project will be based on the upcoming release of Scalixs commercial enterprise product family, which is expected to be available for community preview at LinuxWorld in San Francisco in August.

As such, the open-source components will be released in phases through March 2007, starting with the community preview and the launch, also in August, of the new open-source community Web site featuring the Scalix Community Forum, a public bug-tracking system, an extended documentation wiki and a blog.

Scalix will then make component source code, localization kits, technical documentation and updated binaries available, starting with the September source code release of a Web services platform for administration infrastructure, data access and application integration, the Scalix Web Access mobile client for wireless devices, the new search and indexing service and the Scalix installer.

The source code of the underlying Scalix mail and directory server will be released in the first quarter of 2007.

Open competitors are turning up the heat on Microsoft Exchange. Click here to read more.

"We recognize that taking a closed system and making it open source is a tough challenge and will take code cleanup and other preparations which will take time to accomplish," von Kurnatowski said.

"However, we are committed to making Scalix available to the open-source community and were well underway in our efforts," von Kurnatowski added.

The company also encourages and supports a close relationship and partnership with other related open-source communities around the desktop client, communications ecosystems, collaboration, business applications, systems management solutions and ecosystem support for anti-virus, anti-spam, directory, backup and archiving, he said.

The Scalix user community had grown to more than 2,000 active members, with some 35,000 downloads of Community Edition since the free product was released last August.

"The software is used to run more than 10,000 e-mail servers supporting over one million users and includes an AJAX-based Web client and robust Outlook support," Winokur said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Rocket Fuel