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The open source consolidation phase is beginning

"Once you make the basic investment it’s easy to extend into more projects. It’s happening now within categories, as we did with iReports. We won’t stop there."
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Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Al CampaJasperSoft founder Al Campa called Friday to say he's nearly as happy these days as Marc Fleury.

By this he meant that JasperSoft, too, has reached important milestones and is now a real company. The software has been downloaded 750,000 times, the company has 10,000 relationships, and JasperReports is now at Version 1.0.

JasperSoft does not yet have all the features of proprietary solutions like Crystal Reports and Cognos, but it's "much more modular, much easier to embed," said Campa, so many companies with full licenses on the other products still use JasperReports to push business intelligence down into their organizations.

In addition, JasperSoft has made its first "acquisition," taking on the sponsorship of iReport. Campa prefers the term sponsorship to acquisition as being more descriptive of what actually takes place.

"iReport is a report designer that runs on top of Jasper Reports. Think of it as a UI that allows you to graphically design a report, which is executed by Jasper Reports. Its’ the most popular one for JasperReports. It’s used by over 65% of our users."

The deal means the two programs can be integrated, so iReport will handle all new features in JasperReport as they are added. Before the designers at iReport had to wait for releases of new JasperSoft code, then write to them, before making improvements. That lag will now go away.

Campa's term, sponsorship, also speaks volumes about how open source consolidation will occur. "I think consolidation will happen.," he said.  "You will see an open source gorilla emerging in the next two to four years. Someone who wants to own many projects. Right now open source companies are category specific. No one crosses categories. But in the commercial world there is a lot of overlap.

"Once you make the basic investment it’s easy to extend into more projects. It’s happening now within categories, as we did with iReports. We won’t stop there."

But because developers unhappy with a deal can fork their projects and go elsewhere, this won't be subject to the "roll-ups" that have taken place in other sectors over the years -- ISPs, computer stores, and proprietary software companies.

It will be more organic, more congenial, and hopefully less disruptive for both users and employees. That's the hope, anyway.

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