Last week, Jive Software made what’s probably our biggest product launch ever. Clearspace is a team collaboration tool that includes discussions, blogging, and wiki documents along with social features like tagging. Unlike Wildfire and Spark, Clearspace is commercial (developer source) software. That follows our pragmatic hybrid Open Source model. That said, Igniterealtime is an Open Source community, so why am I blogging about Clearspace here?
!http://www.igniterealtime.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/02/clearspace_small.p ng!First, Clearspace demonstrates how we’re approaching collaboration strategically. We want to make team collaboration fundamentally more efficient, easier to use, and more fun. Most of you are pretty familiar with how we’re striving towards those goals on the real-time side with Wildfire and Spark. Clearspace is another piece of the puzzle. One example: instead of sending multiple versions of a document through email that get lost in the netherworld of email hell, why not track the document versions in a central place that also seamlessly manages real-time and non-real time discussion around that document? Many of the Open Source features we’ll be building into Wildfire and Spark over the next year fit into solving that type of business problem. We’ll also be integrating lots of real-time functionality directly into Clearspace.
Second, we’ve updated the pricing model for the Wildfire Enterprise plugin to better match Clearspace pricing. Enterprise is now $15 per user/year, which includes support and all upgrades. It’s much simpler than the old model, which included a server license cost and a separate support and maintenance fee. For full details on pricing and support terms, visit the Jive Software pricing page, which includes info on special bundled pricing of Clearspace and Wildfire Enterprise.
I’m really excited about everything we’re building – from wiki documents and blogging to presence and VoIP. We’re sending a shot across the bow of mammoth companies like Microsoft. There’s a better way to do collaboration that’s lighter-weight and more user-friendly. Mix in open standards, open systems, and a liberal dose of Open Source and we think we have a compelling alternative. We hope to get as much feedback on Clearspace as possible, so we’d love to hear from you if you have a chance to check it out.
Wow. This is really cool. I just sent the link to this over to our guy here that is researching collaboration software to work with or replace our current wiki system. We started using the wiki about a year ago and really love what it provides for us. Now we’re looking for a little more
From what I can initially see the wiki part of Clearspace isn’t quite a developed… or… maybe extensible than Confluence (Atlassian) but it does look pretty good. The great thing about Confluence is that there are a lot of plugins available that make working with it real nice. For example the excel plugin that will display an excel sheet inline or the chart plugin which will draw a chart from table, excel or sql data.
Nathan – you’re exactly right on the wiki functionality. In fact, we don’t actually call the feature a pure wiki, but “wiki documents”. Sam talked about this in his “How Clearspace Does Wiki” blog entry (http://jivesoftware.com/blog/2007/01/16/how-clearspace-does-wiki/). We definitely don’t see people moving away from dedicated wiki’s if they’re already using them and happy with them. We’re also looking at ways to directly integrate with Confluence, which is something many people have asked us for.
On the other hand, there’s lots of things a wiki doesn’t do well by itself:
Manage Office documents with versions and workflow
General collaboration through discussions and blogs
Unify all your collaboration into a single place with tools like tags
Those are some of the problems we’re solving in Clearspace.
I’ve been intrigued by this product for a while, and would love to check it out. But, unfortuneatley, I can’t.
We are a political organisation with no funds at all, and given your pricing model it’s just completley out of our league.
I fail to understand why you choose such a limited model though. All your software is prettey horizontal stuff, which means that they would work great as open source projects and if you would only foster some community around them they would quickly becom defactor standards for their fields.
Instead you should focus your business toward the vertical stuff that open source isn’t so good at providing. Become experts in analysis and design of information systems based on the kind collaboration software you have created. The hard stuff of designing and integrating your software with the needs of client organizations.
Sorry to hear that the Clearspace pricing model doesn’t work for your organization. If we were launching a new company or chose to go the VC route, I think we may have leaned more towards Open Source for Clearspace. It was still a hard a decision in any case. However, we had to be pragmatic about revenue – quite simply it would not have been possible to maintain our (6 straight years of) profitability by suddenly going Open Source with the whole company. I hope that you can at least benefit from the many Open Source Wildfire and Spark improvements that will be coming due to integration work with Clearspace. For example, today we started brainstorming the file sharing in multi-user chat rooms feature.
Matt, thanks for the response. I read the blog on how clearspace does wiki but I actually don’t see major differences. You mentioned several items that wiki’s don’t do well at. It seems to me that Confluence has most of them. It can manage office documents as they attached to wiki pages, it has News which is similar to blogs but they are only per space (not per user or per department.) It also has tags.
The things I see that are an improvement are:
Nathan – I’ll definitely be interested to hear your feedback after you get a chance to play with Clearspace a bit. I think a lot of the magic in the product doesn’t show up well in feature lists.