Software, as a service, on a client

Thanks to a combination of Internet hiccups and service outages by hosted services like Salesforce.com, some folks may be turning off on rented applications that are hosted remotely. But not (necessarily) rented applications.

Want to rent out a Linux application that can run on an ordinary Windows box with VMWare?

Keith Boswell (right) has a deal for you.

Boswell is vp-marketing with rPath, a company that has turned $6.4 million in venture capital into rBuilder, which does what I just described.

Let's let Boswell explain it himself.  "rBuilder takes a look at the application, combines the files it needs with our version of Linux and turns it into an application image. It’s an enabling platform." The kernel comes from the company's own rPath Linux.

Boswell hopes independent software vendors who want to get into the mass market, sell software as a service, and get paid will flock to him.  Maybe they will.

Thanks to a combination of Internet hiccups and service outages by hosted services like Salesforce.com, some folks may be turning off on rented applications that are hosted remotely. But not (necessarily) rented applications.

"What we’re offering ISVs is a way to take their application, that would normally be put on Solaris or RedHat, and bundle it with the necessary bits of the operating system it needs to run, then offer it in software that includes the installer, kernel, and system libraries." No extra operating system support is necessary. VMWare on a Windows box will do it.

Because of the way the product is architected, it can be cut-off once a rental agreement expires, or renewed again-and-again. You don't have to sell the customer on Linux, just your application. And it's good for the customer, Boswell insists.

"If you’re a small business without a large IT shop you don’t want to administer operating systems. You want something that’s easy to deploy, easy to manage, and delivers a result."

Then, later, after the customer sees what a Linux application can do, then you can sell a stack, sell a system, and deliver support the old-fashioned way.

Sound good? Boswell, an industry veteran and James Madison University graduate (Go Dukes) hopes so.

Think of it as a Linux starter set.

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