Some say open source is their ace in the hole

Even if your stuff is great, even if you have a clear development road map, open source is the way to go.

Helmi Technologies, a decade-old Finnish company, wants to make a big splash among the biggest U.S. enterprises with its RIA (Rich Internet Application) tools. It now has a U.S. office in Mountain View, Calif. (Nice AJAX book, if you need to brush-up.)

As ZDNet's own Dion Hinchcliffe notes, AJAX isn't the only way to get Internet-apps which are as rich as those on the desktop. Yet this is the route Helmi is taking. And it's a crowded market.

Helmi considers itself the European leader in AJAX technology, but in the U.S. it's a small fish. So Helmi is using what it considers an ace in the hole here. Helmi is going open source. "We wanted to gain rapid market momentum, putting this in front of as many developers as possible," said CEO Johu Risku frankly. "We are also a small company."

Helmi has $2.5 million in new funding for the effort and will be a gold sponsor at AjaxWorld next month in Santa Clara. Some of that money will also go into creating a "Helmiforge" site for its community efforts. Helmi will also be on Sourceforge.

Why give Helmi a try? One reason, U.S. CEO Jorden Woods said, is that its European heritage has given Helmi a roadmap. Helmi has done mobile development in Europe, and is ready when the U.S. mobile market becomes browser-based, which he expects to happen in about a year.

"The road map is client side, server side, and then mobile," he said.

This is not a huge story, but I think it says something important. The way to a Global 2000's heart, if you're not a giant yourself, is through open source. Even if your stuff is great, even if you have a clear development road map, open source is the way to go.

That's just the way it is.