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Linux evangelist and "Microsoft baiter" Bruce Perens has joined start-up SourceLabs, as it attempts to make headway in the field of open source certification.

Perens, critic of stodgy corporate thinkers and government-backed software patent policies, will forge a community of business and open source developers for SourceLabs.

SourceLabs is one of an emerging class of startups working to test and certify the Linux, Apache, MySQL Perl/Python/PHP (LAMP) open source stack for reliable business use.

This is currently a wide-open market; however, SourceLabs will be competing against at least one other high-profile start-up - Kim Polese's SpikeSource.

SpikeSource has been bathed in publicity, largely thanks to the weight of open source luminaries sitting on its advisory board, and the fact it was launched and funded by former Oracle president Ray Lane, now a general partner at VC Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Perens is best known for his work as a tireless campaigner on open source. He led the Debian GNU/Linux project, was the primary author of the Open Source Definition, and is a co-founder of the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

On that strength, HP hired Perens as an open source advisor back in the day when systems and software companies were trying to embrace Linux, only to fire him less than two years later. Perens maintains he was let go for "baiting" Microsoft, successfully embarrassing one of Microsoft's strongest server and PC partners.

Perens said Wednesday his mission at SourceLabs is to "build bridges between the open source developer community and enterprise IT users."

This mission will include funding some of the core developers working on open source projects to make improvements to software that are requested by SourceLabs and to help large companies understand open source.

Perens added: "I will make sure that SourceLabs remains a good citizen of the open source community." ®

Related stories

HP fires Microsoft-baiting Perens
OpenForum Europe rejects Perens charges
Oracle wading into open source certification?

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