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Most of the ebizQ.net Open Source Software (OSS) "Talking with…" Series has involved "established" OSS product and company structures. Of course, "established" in the OSS world is measured as anything more than 12 months. In this article, I talk with Renat Khasanshyn, entrepreneur of a 2006 start-up OSS operation that released its first distro in May 2007. Khasanshyn has been using OSS in another business for the last five years so he brings an interesting user/business perspective that differs from our "Talking with…" interviews of OSS development gurus Jim Jagielski, James Strachan and Max Spevack.

Renat's company is called Apatar. As blogged on in June from Red Herring, Apatar is bringing to market what it calls "Enterprise Data Mashups," which are a combination of data integration connectors and data maps that run on what is as of June 26, 2007 an open sourced framework.

Personally Renat brings an interesting "globalization" angle to OSS because he's a native of Minsk, Belarus now doing business out of both Minsk and Chicopee, MA. The Mass. Technology Leadership Council doesn't hold the eastern European connection against him. Its trustees just nominated him for an award to be given in October 2007 as "Emerging Exec" of the year. The Council trustees includes such industry historical and current-day leaders as Aaron Ain, Dan Bricklin, John Cullinane, Anthony DiBona, Raymond Kurzweil, John Little and Bob Metcalfe, people with an IT entrepreneur track record. If you don't recognize the names, they translate to Kronos; Visicalc (and mentor for Ray Ozzie, new Microsoft chief guru); IDMS; Parametric Technology; inventions too numerous to mention; Mathworks, and the Internet (with 3Com and Palm thrown in there somewhere for good measure).

Renat and the development staff in Minsk used all types of Lamp-stack OSS in building a services business starting in 2002 that develops and maintains web sites and supports product engineering requirements for large customers such as Adobe and many small and medium sized businesses. He estimates they spun more than 20 instances of Mambo and of course they are big PHP fans. Interestingly, he notes that as his services business acquired more established firms as clients, it had to move from an almost pure OSS environment to Java (before it was open sourced) and .Net. Business is business and open choice is what larger clients wanted in order to be interoperable with other infrastructure the clients had.


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