Ex-Head Of ODSL To Build Open Source Apps For Vertical Industries

Participating commercial companies will pay the Collaborative Software Initiative to hire developers and produce applications that can be used across an industry.
What if businesses in one industry worked together like an open source community to build the software they most needed to run their companies? Stuart Cohen thinks the result would be software that costs half as much to create, so the former CEO of the Open Source Development Labs is founding a company to convince businesses to do something like that.

Cohen led OSDL, a Linux advocacy group, until shortly before it merged with another group to form the Linux Foundation. His plan is to get companies to pay his for-profit Collaborative Software Initiative to produce applications using open source methods, then release it as open source code. Financial services firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of New York have told him they need such an organization, Cohen says. Evan Bauer, former CTO of Credit Suisse, has been named CTO, and the startup is backed by OVP Venture Partners. Companies in the same industry have many of the same software needs but no forum to share developers and map projects, given the intense rivalries and risk of anti-competitive practices.

It will be easy to get companies to make the code open source, since wide adoption means it's tested in different environments, Cohen says. "There is a strength in numbers when it comes to risk mitigation."

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