So how to you take a great technology and bring it to a wider audience? For those of us working on open source projects, we know what to do. You create a community for it. And that’s what QNX is doing starting today with the introduction of the Foundry27 portal.

Now lets get something straight from the start. This isn’t open source. We’ve taken great pains to make sure we didn’t mislead anyone into thinking that it is (unfortunately some members of the press haven’t). But it does give everyone access to the source code and to the developers via forums. And, as long as you are using it for non-commercial use, you have free access to the tools and the SDK to play with it. We are even working on ways for people to contribute any of their cool work through the portal to others that may be interested. But, commercial users still have to pay for development seats and run-time royalties.

The idea is really to lower the barriers that people feel when they approach commercial software. Cut through the sales people and lawyers and just let me play with your stuff to see if I like it. This is something that many companies, even Microsoft, are trying to do to woo developers. QNX is going pretty far though by giving a public face to its staff, which is a pretty major culture change that I remember going through when I started working on the CDT. But we’re intent on making sure developers get what they need and feel comfortable in this new community.

As with all communities, this one will need to be nurtured and it’ll take a bit of time to work out some of the kinks just a Eclipse did in the early days. But we have learned from that experience and there is a lot more software out there to support something like this. But the focus really is on people as it should be with communities and this is a much friendler face on some really good technology.