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ActiveState achieves independence

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Open source language and development tools specialist ActiveState has squeezed clear of its Sophos' ownership following a $2.25m venture capital deal.

ActiveState is to resume its status as an independent company after its purchase by Canadian venture capitalist Pender Financial. ActiveState was acquired in 2003 by Sophos, who was primarily interested in ActiveState's anti-spam software.

The company was best known, however, for its Perl Dev Kit and the Komodo integrated development environment (IDE) for PHP, Python, Ruby and Tcl, which runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and Windows. ActiveState also helped maintain the open source language pool with its ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl.

It is not clear at this stage what is planned for the company; however, managing director and chief technology officer David Ascher said ActiveState would continue to develop tools and languages and also honor enterprise support contracts.

The spin-out and purchase by a venture capitalist is timely. Members of the venture capital community focused on software have become fascinated by open source. The technology is seen as a way to disrupt the market. Scripting languages such as Perl and PHP, meanwhile, are seeing increased traction among developers building web sites and online services.

ActiveState will be headed by chief executive Bart Copeland and be home to 20 employees.®

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