The open source movement has entered one of the most esoteric parts of the software industry: object request brokers.
The Object Management Group (OMG) is evaluating an open source object request broker (Orb), called Mico, to see if meets its Corba specifications.
While businesses are often sceptical of the support given to open source products, many use them to run non mission critical parts of their operation.
The OMG believes an open source Orb would allow businesses to address specific problems without the risk involved in a large investment.
Mico's creator, Arno Perdu, said the project began two years ago with research into an open source implementation of Corba.
If the Orb gets the OMG's seal of approval, it could galvanise commercial use - something that has so far eluded Mico.
"There is a common misconception that something which doesn't cost money is not good," said Perdu. "Users feel they have to be able to pick up the phone and complain if something goes wrong, or have the option of suing, but we can do bug fixes in a matter of hours."
Mico is used mainly by companies who want to experiment with Corba, or solve a specific IT problem which they can't do with commercial products whose code is inaccessible, he said.
Ovum analyst Gary Barnett said: "Unless you have a very specific requirement, you should not write your own infrastructure. It's a bit like building a windmill in your garden to generate your own electricity."
The source code is available at www.mico.org
For further stories see 8 April issue of Computing
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