The former head of the Open Source Development Labs has launched a new company that aims to apply the open source development model to enterprises by encouraging businesses to collaborate on shared non-essential IT projects.
Collaborative Software Initiative has been formed by Stuart Cohen, who left the OSDL in December 2006, shortly before the Linux promotion group merged with the Free Standards Group to form the Linux Foundation.
Cohen has teamed up with Evan Bauer, former chief technology officer with Credit Suisse First Boston, to form CSI, which is initially working with Hp, IBM and Novell to identify opportunities within vertical industries where collaboration would make sense.
While it is not suggested that enterprises will open their core IT systems to their competitors, CSI sees an opportunity for industry peers to cut costs by cooperating on applications that are essential but nevertheless do not provide competitive advantage, such as for compliance purposes.
According to Cohen, CSI’s role will be to act as an experienced partner to form communities where today none exist by recruiting the core customer team, and providing project management, technical support, and open source code hosting.
Under Bauer’s leadership as CTO, CSI will also create a technology architecture to enable collaboration, which will be available via both subscription and software-as-a-service models.
The new company has the support of a number of open source notables, including CollabNet founder and Apache creator Brian Behlendorf, and open source legal expert Eben Moglen, both of which are on CSI’s advisory board alongside representatives fromk Intel, HP, IBM, and Novell.
The company has also raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding from OVP Venture Partners.