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16 September 2009, 17:57

ClarkConnect becomes ClearOS

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Back in August, Canadian company Point Clark Networks announced major changes in the marketing strategy for their main product; a Linux-based small business server called ClarkConnect, which was available as a free community edition or as a paid-for enterprise version. The company also sold related services, such as central monitoring, spam and virus protection. Now ClearOS – a Linux-based small business server and successor to ClarkConnect, will be free to use, with the income stream generated from related services.

Clear Foundation logo The Point Clark Network portfolio will now be expanded and will strike out in a new direction. A foundation, the ClearFoundation, will in future be responsible for maintaining the software, a pre-release version of which will be released this month under the name ClearOS version 5.1 (succeeding ClarkConnect 5.0). The foundation will be chaired by John H. Terpstra, a long-serving member of the Samba development team and an untiring evangelist for all things open source. It's hoped that the foundation will inject new impetus into the community.

A new company by the name of ClearCenter will sell ClearOS-related services. Initially this will encompass the kind of service portfolio previously provided by Point Clark Networks, but longer-term plans are afoot – ClearOS is to be transformed into a platform that can be used by outside developers via an open interface and is to be part of a cloud. The first step in this direction will be the integration of Google Apps (planned for ClearOS 5.2).

The impression is that the newly created company is still searching for a strategy. The management team includes Michael Proper, who, over the last ten years, has been building up an IT services company, DirectPointe, in the USA. ClearCenter's activities are also likely to develop in this direction under his influence and this would be a good fit for the company.

ClearOS/ClarkConnect is based on CentOS 5.3. The separate, partly paid-for versions will be phased out in favour of a free full version. The server can be managed via a web GUI which combines email and file services, offers a web interface with some groupware features and can also operate as a VPN access point and firewall. It will offer internet access and hotspot parallelisation functions taken from the Enterprise edition. ClearOS is released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2).

(Peter Siering)


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