Open Source

HP seals open-source e-mail deal

Longtime Microsoft Exchange partner "going steady" with Sendmail.

Stay on top of the latest tech news with our free IT News Digest e-newsletter, delivered each weekday. Automatically sign up today!

By Stephen Shankland
CNET News.com

Hewlett-Packard has signed an agreement to sell Sendmail's e-mail software, the latest move by the longtime Microsoft ally to also woo open-source players.

Under the agreement, announced Thursday, the computer maker may sell some of 's products, chiefly aimed at combating spam, with its ProLiant servers. The deal grew out of a narrower relationship, a joint marketing pact begun in 2001, said Greg Olson, executive vice president of business development for Sendmail.

"Joint marketing and co-marketing is kind of like dating. Reselling is like going steady," Olson said.

"Joint marketing and co-marketing is kind of like dating. Reselling is like going steady."
—Sendmail executive Greg Olson
on his company's warmer
relationship with HP

HP has a long history of working with Microsoft—whose Exchange software competes with Sendmail—but the computer maker sells Linux and has recently signed on new open-source software partners. In May, HP announced that it would for two significant open-source server software packages, the database and the application server for running Java programs.

Sendmail's software is based on an open-source package of the , widely used to transfer mail from one computer to another across the Internet. Sendmail, which owns the full software copyright, sells it as the foundation to a larger suite of proprietary software, Olson said.

The open-source component "is present in this commercial offering but constitutes probably 15 percent of the code," Olson said.

Sendmail isn't the only one to employ this hybrid model involving open-source and proprietary software. Others include MySQL and embedded database specialist .

The reselling deal, unlike the joint marketing, doesn't extend to Sendmail's other proprietary Mailstream add-ons for tasks such as automatically affixing disclaimers to e-mail, screening mail based on content such as pornography and catching virus-laden messages.

Sendmail had another deal in 2001, under which to distribute its software, but that partnership fell victim to cost cutting at Dell as the Internet mania ended, Olson said.

"That program died in its infancy," Olson said. "That (Dell) division was a victim of the downturn, so basically, the whole group we worked with at Dell was laid off one day as the bubble burst."

Editor's Picks