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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM

SourceLabs launches open-source support suite, new Linux play

I keep waiting for a big tech company to buy SourceLabs, an open-source software and tools developer in Pioneer Square.

Maybe the new product it’s launching today, SourceLabs’ Self-Support Suite, will speed the process.

The suite is aiming for open-source users in the middle range, between those who research and support their software by themselves and those who pay for enterprise support.

“We’re providing a third choice,” said Byron Sebastian, SourceLabs founder and chief executive.

Self-Support Suite discovers what’s running on a company’s network and uses that to tailor the information received from SourceLabs’ repository of open-source software information.

The system “combines advanced pattern matching and predictive analysis algorithms to automate troubleshooting activities, reduce routine tasks from days to minutes, and uses predictive analysis to flag potential problems” the release said.

It sounds a bit like Microsoft’s HealthVault system I wrote about Monday. The idea is to compile information about your system in one place, where a search engine can use it to personalize results. The information about your system also feeds Web services that monitor health and suggest maintenance.

The new suite also marks SourceLabs’ first major Linux offering. Sebastian said customers have been asking for a Linux product, and he’s expecting to reach new users, such as people using non-standard versions of Linux that can be challenging to support and smaller companies that aren’t ready to buy a Linux support support contract.

Sebastian expects the suite will boost sales — 3,000 users have registered for a private beta version released in December — but he wouldn’t provide a specific forecast. SourceLabs is providing the tools free and charging for support — $99 per user per year. Support with 24-7 global coverage starts at $399 per year.

He wouldn’t say anything about whether this will lead to an acquisition or more funding this year; I guess you can share only so much.

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