Among these open source start-ups is UShareSoft, a 2008 SaaS start-up launched by former employees of Sun and HP whose CTO, James Weir, is actually based in Grenoble, France. (Hey, I want to be a major industry player and live in the French Alps, too.)
The company also has people in Tokyo, Silicon Valley and Buenos Aires, so I asked what's new.
UShareSoft is best known for its UForge and products which compete with Novell's SUSE Linux, specifically its Appliance Factory and Open Appliance Studio. Where they hope to differentiate themselves, Weir said, is through support of a wide variety of clouds and operating systems.
Yes, even Microsoft's.
"A lot of customers are looking at Microsoft and use Microsoft," he said. "The definition of software appliances sees Linux as more flexible. But Microsoft is a huge company that has a good platform in Azure. A lot of customers are interested in cloud computing and want to move from one environment to another."
So the company's road map is moving in a Windows direction, he said. "We want to allow users to create their own applications and appliances and integrate into Azure just as they can do today with Eucalyptus, VMWare, IBM or Amazon. And we want to introduce Windows itself into our catalog."
Once OpenStack thrashes out its API, he added, UShareSoft will support that as well.
This will be great news to enterprises that want to embrace cloud computing but are starting from a heterogeneous environment, including Windows desktops. That's most companies.