SourceLabs' Continuous Support System announcement is leveraging the entire open source community to help big outfits deal with support issues. (Image from the OpenGroup, advertising a competition for Voice Profile for Internet Mail software.)
CEO Byron Sebastian and co-founder Cornelius Willis told me it's an Early Warning Radar that will bring all open source users the kind of diagnostics, security alerts, and vulnerability notifications they need to be truly comfortable with open source on an enterprise level.
"We generate, every day, an RSS feed or e-mail of over 1,000 new data points" Sebastian explained. "This goes to our enterprise customers, summarizing all the secuirty issues identified that day with open source projects.
"Most of the time there are none, but if you’re a large corporation just knowing someone is looking gives you peace of mind.
"If there are issues we tell you what API not to use, or what configuration to use to avoid it, or we say we’re sending a patch in how many hours. This leverages all data that’s out there in the community, then provides valuable servies to large companies so they have more confidence in open source."
The system has been two years in the making, added Willis.
"We’ve been using this with customers for a year and a half. Our open source customers have started 'bake-offs,' where they have us compete with other firms on support cases. We win those bake-offs because we have the technology needed to solve the problem. It’s not just our engineers, but our technology, that wins.
"Think of an air traffic controller in the 1930s, using a binocular and telephone. That’s what it’s been in support. Now you have radar and telemetry so they can do a dramatically better job."
Anything which makes enterprises more comfortable with open source is something even small companies benefit from. The contributions of the big improve the systems of the small, and give everyone a bigger, wider platform tobuild on.