Online open source forum formed

Plans to create a corporate online community for IT staffers

Open source software is everywhere. But how does a large company — from its executive team down to its IT staff — figure out which open-source applications are right for its users and won’t endanger the core business?

The Business Readiness Rating (BRR) open source group says a little corporate social networking can provide information to help large companies start such projects.

OpenBRR.org was established by the Carnegie Mellon West Centre for Open Source Investigation, O’Reilly Media, SpikeSource and Intel to create a standard model for rating the readiness of open source software for corporate projects.

During the recent Linux/Open Source on Wall Street Conference in New York, the group unveiled plans to create a corporate online community for IT staffers from about 40 companies to discuss open source issues.

The idea, says Murugan Pal, co-founder of BRR and founder and chief technology officer of SpikeSource, is to provide IT managers with information that can help them start open source projects.

The BRR group plans to hold invitation-only forums within its online community that can be closely guarded to maintain security and confidentiality, Pal says.

There are already code collaboration initiatives for developers in the open-source community, he says, but “this is information collaboration for enterprises”.

“We have been talking with CIOs for almost four years,” Pal says. “They’ve been saying that they don’t have places to get information on open source.”

“You’re looking for that level of information that you can use,” says George Pace, a systems architect at Prudential Financial in New Jersey. “It’s like having a customer reference account for open source.”

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