What a week for StatusNet, the open-source, microblogging service that serves as the foundation for identi.ca, one of the first services to emerge as a focal player in the movement around the real-time Web.

Last week, the company launched StatusNet Enterprise Network, a microblogging service with a support program for the corporate market. Initial customers include Motorola Corporation and Canonical Ltd.

And yesterday, they announced a significant update that demonstrates they will be an open-source alternative to the proprietary microblogging services that cater to the enterprise.

StatusNet is an exception in the enterprise market. It's an open-source software project, started by members of the open source and wiki communities.

The enterprise service is priced on an annual basis. It ranges in cost from $1,000 to $10,000 per year. Customers get access to different levels of service based on package they choose to purchase. For example, at the $1,000 level package, the service includes access to the forums. It includes email support and response time within one day. A $10,000 package includes six hours of best practice consulting and response within one hour to support requests.

Open-source software is proving to be a winner in the enterprise. As we noted earlier this week, a number of enterprise providers have committed developer communities. Alfresco Software is a shining example. According to Matt Asay, the company has grown every quarter since its launch in 2005, "with its last quarter seeing a 30-percent quarter-over-quarter increase on an already large base."

With a committed developer community, an open-source enterprise provider can show significant improvements in its product. Today, StatusNet released StatusNet 0.9.0, the latest version of its software, representing eight month of development by the StatusNet developer community.

The feature list scrolls down the page. It includes leading edge support for OStatus, the new distributed status update standard based on PubSubHubbub, Salmon, Webfinger, and Activity Streams.

Significant: StatusNet now has no fixed content size. "Notice size is configurable, from 1 to unlimited number of characters. Default is still 140!" This could possibly mean that the service can be similar to Tumblr or Posterous that fits into the enterprise.

Other updates include:

  • Support for location using the Geolocation API.

  • Support for OAuth authentication in the Twitter API.

  • An authentication plugin for LDAP servers.

  • Support for Facebook Connect

We expect that StatusNet Enterprise will rise fast as a contender in the enterprise market. It's extensible, has the features that the enterprise customer wants and it has a strong developer community. That's a winning combination that makes StatuNet a potential open-source star in the enterprise.