With the release of ClearOS 6 drawing closer, we'd like to update the community on the continued evolution and direction of ClearOS.
ClearOS 6 marks a significant step forward on two fronts to engage developers and ISV's currently outside the ClearOS community to develop on the ClearOS 6 platform:
- the new webconfig framework
- ClearCenter's Marketplace.
The re-factoring of the ClearOS 5 webconfig code to utilize a more modern, secure and extensible PHP/UI framework (CodeIgniter and Jquery/JqueryUI was chosen) will assuredly make new developers to ClearOS feel more 'at home' and be productive faster than learning a completely custom API. In addition, significant resources were allocated towards documenting the development process and creating tools to lower the barrier to entry to new developers and OSS projects/ISVs interested in integrating into ClearOS.
Modules (renamed apps in ClearOS 6) in ClearOS 5x essentially originated from a very small pool of developers - 95% of which worked for ClearCenter. With the new ClearCenter Marketplace, a framework exists for developers and companies outside the core development team to easily (and very visibly) have their contributions adopted by the ever-growing ClearOS install base. Marketplace not only abstracts away from the developer the tasks of marketing, downloading and installing apps - it also provides a variety of business models in which to do so. The Marketplace will have both free and paid apps, supported and unsupported, all at the discretion of the developer/vendor.
The Future of ClearOS - Two Versions Today - More to Come!
With a common framework and Marketplace in place, the ClearOS platform can evolve towards markets currently being under-served. For example, a Home Edition has been discussed on the forums in numerous threads but the lack of apps specific to home use (media servers, home security, home automation etc.) have yet to warrant a separate image (i.e. ClearOS Home Edition).
The team at ClearCenter (the single largest commercial organisation supporting ClearOS) feels now is the right time to differentiate the solution specific to ClearCenter's focus - small/distributed business, education, NGOs and government.
To accommodate and future-proof against these changes, ClearOS Enterprise Edition 5x will be renamed ClearOS Community Edition in 6.x and beyond, to more aptly reflect the development model and support processes in play.
At the same time, a second product ISO will be launched by ClearCenter, named ClearOS Professional. This image will share much of the same code-base and OSI licensing as the Community Edition. The main differences (explained in more detail when ClearCenter officially announces the release) will be the 'built-in' commercial support and a Marketplace that includes all the apps in the Community Edition in addition to half a dozen or so apps that will be exclusive to the Professional Edition. In addition to simplifying the messaging and providing more clarity to new users of ClearOS, this change was necessary to adequately support and maintain the apps focused on installations where there is a business-case to do so.
To existing users...rest assured no functionality is being removed in the move from version 5 to version 6. All apps entering the Professional Edition Marketplace are new features that represent time invested by the ClearCenter team and/or partnerships ClearCenter has made with ISV's (i.e. Google, Kaspesky, Zarafa etc.). Those apps are:
Active Director Connector
Google Apps Syncronization
Kaspersky Antimalware (for file, email and gateway)
Zarafa Small Business
A forum thread for further discussion on this topic has been created and available here.