VA Software Targets Dev Managers

VA Software Corp., the former Linux hardware company, is continuing its push into enterprise applications development with the latest release of SourceForge, its software life-cycle management package. The new SourceForge Enterprise Edition 3.2, sports a new graphical management console designed to provide instant status reports on individual projects, milestones and metrics.

The new console, according to VA senior vice president David Appelbaum, is designed to complement SourceForge?s tool set, which offers functions ranging from source-code and configuration management to bug tracking to a component library. "It provides the wrapper" around those functions, he said, noting that the single user interface to SourceForge is what differentiates it from other tools like Perforce, Merant's PVCS or Starbase's StarTeam.

"You don?t have to jump from tool to tool," Appelbaum said, adding that because there's a single interface to SourceForge, events triggered in one function, such as a defect or support call, would automatically be propagated to the correct developer or tester, and logged appropriately.

Appelbaum stated that one of the key benefits of the new graphical console would be its capture and presentation of metrics used to improve a company's software development processes, such as needed for Six-Sigma, ISO 9001 or CMM programs.

The new management console won't be available on the company's online version of the SourceForge system, said Applebaum, which he described as being targeted more toward casual programmers, open-source projects and peer-led programming projects that lack the formal reporting and management requirements of an enterprise development team. "It's a proof point for us, and a valuable tool for demonstrating scalability and security of the platform," he said, claiming that has more than 450,000 users and hosts more than 42,000 projects.

The size of the project, and increased emphasis on large enterprise customers, is also behind the company's tight partnership with IBM, according to Appelbaum; the partnership led to a recent announcement that VA Software was using IBM's DB2 database to store the projects, instead of the open-source PostgreSQL database. "We're working up the IBM stack," he said, saying that SourceForge is already integrated with IBM's WebSphere Studio developer tools, and hinting that a version of SourceForge designed specifically for the WebSphere application server is in the making. While he said that the IBM partnership isn?t an exclusive arrangement, he admitted that "none of the other [app server or database vendors] has seen the benefit."

SourceForge Enterprise Edition 3.2 will be priced at $2,725 per developer seat, he said, the same as the previous version.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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