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BMC throws open developer network

Projects go BSD

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OSCON BMC Software has kicked off a formal open source strategy by launching a developer network and promising to license projects under BSD.

The veteran systems management vendor Wednesday launched the BMC Developer Network (BMCDN) featuring development centers, forums, open source updates and projects. The site is starting small, listing 500 members.

BMCDN has kicked off with four inaugural projects - adapters for Altiris, CiscoWorks, LANDesk Asset Manager and Hewlett-Packard's OpenView AssetCenter to extract data for integration with a configuration management database. Two further integrations are in the pipeline with a virtual management project in the next two months.

Forums have also been added to begin actively supporting and developing BMC's past open source efforts, including CMSFS, SULoginv and MidWatch.

William Hurley, BMC's chief architect of open source strategy, told The Register feedback on next steps would be taken through BMCDN. "The idea is not to dictate to the community what we will or will not do," Hurley said. He added he had "no idea" whether BMC would open source its mainstay products.

Hurley said BMC picked BSD because it conferred the most freedom on developers, and doesn't mandate what they can or must do with code they modify.

Hurley, chairman of the Open Management Consortium, was recruited by BMC four months to shape a formal open source strategy. BMC already supports Linux and Apache in its management products, and has donated code to the community.

BMC is now attempting to connect with developers to help increase uptake for its Business Service Management (BSM) strategy among its existing 16,000 customers and also potential new users. BMC has already taken feedback from one developer interested in open source adaptors for Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS).

"[Open source is] going to help us grow our market share, help us become more nimble in the way we deliver our BSM strategy, and deliver beyond BMC's direct customer base," Hurley said.

He said it's unlikely BMC's competitors like HP or CA would adopt a similar, open source strategy. BMC's strategy marks it out from HP, taking the tried-and-tested, big-scale M&A route to acquiring technology and market share. HP last week bought Opsware for $1.6bn while BMC made a modest purchase of RealOps, so small it was not required to disclose the amount.

BMC certainly has some opportunities in providing open source adapters, connectors and other management software for both Linux and Windows - an unexpected beneficiary of the Apache, MySQL and scripting revolution.

The challenge, though, will come not just in attracting developer support but in generating external momentum and in providing sufficient resources that'll ensure projects don't die or that BMC becomes the chief maintainer.

Hurley said BMC's open source strategy would grow because it's "about a better way to work with customers and users and community."®

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