Specifix Linux and Conary were available as of Wednesday, albeit in a test form that primarily intended to introduce developers to the products. More stable versions will be available by year's end. Specifix, which is also developing an embedded version of its operating system, licenses its products under the IBM Public License, which provides greater protections to patents and copyrights than the General Public License.
Specifix will charge service fees for Specifix Linux and Conary. The company will adopt a more traditional licensing fee for the embedded version of its operating system, which will be available for cell phones, network appliances, and other devices.
Red Hat Inc. veterans Eric Troan and Kim Knuttila co-founded Specifix to address the needs that companies have after they outgrow standard Linux distributions. Specifix CEO Knuttila was most recently Red Hat's VP of engineering services. Before that, he was VP of engineering with Cygnus Solutions, which Red Hat acquired in 1999.
Troan, Specifix's executive VP of operating systems, was most recently Red Hat's senior director of product marketing. Prior to that, he had served as chief developer as well as VP of product engineering at Red Hat. "Red Hat doesn't support environments where the OS is tweaked," Troan says. "That's fine for a large swath of users, but not all."
Increasingly, companies want their software to adapt to their business processes, rather than the other way around. Specifix seeks to address open-source software's role in this trend by offering customers access to software repositories through which the vendor can distribute new features and functions.