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Kaltura Introduces Community Edition Video Platform

Starting today, there's a new option for companies looking to host and serve online video, and it's got an especially attractive price tag. Kaltura has released its Community Edition, an open source, completely free video platform.

"It's Brightcove in a box for free," says Ron Yekutiel, Chairman and CEO of Kaltura, taking aim at the industry leader. Anyone can download the code, then control it behind their firewall. Companies also avoid being dependent on one particular vendor by going this way, he adds.

The Community Edition can be downloaded from Kaltura.org, the company's community site, and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It's available under the GNU Affero General Public License V3, so companies have full freedom over the software and their video. The only requirement is a MySQL database.

"Kaltura Community Edition puts control back in the hands of publishers," says Yekutiel "When we looked across the market, we saw a commoditized landscape littered with more than 50 online video providers selling similar services and trying to undercut the others’ prices. It is clear, based on what we’ve seen happen with operating systems, databases, and application servers, for example, that the market is not only ready, but desperately in need of a free and open source alternative."

The platform itself isn't complicated to set up, Yekutiel explains, and it comes with a development kit so that those with programming skills can extend the software to integrate with their company's existing tools. This week, the platform is being integrated with open source network collaboration software from MindTouch he says. With new abilities from Kaltura, MindTouch users will be able to add videos or photos to their postings.

Learning management systems are also a natural fit for Kaltura integration, says Yekutiel. Moodle, an open source distance learning platform, is already working with Kaltura to create an extension.

By offering the platform for free, Yekutiel hopes to create quick penetration in an already crowded market, then spur a range of development by allowing open access to the code.

While the edition is free, the company plans to monetize it by selling support services. Companies that don't have the resources to integrate the platform with their existing software can hire Kaltura to create extensions. Likewise, companies that want to expand into serving advertisements or syndicating content can hire Kaltura to help build on the platform. Its other professional services include support, streaming, hosting, and backup.

But the value of the Community Edition should go beyond the software, itself. Discussion boards on the Kaltura.org site will let a community form around the open source platform, sharing extensions and offering advice. Kaltura is careful to keep its community site separate from its commercial site, says Yekutiel.

Kaltura has offices in New York City and Israel, with a total of 40 employees. It's a founding member of the Open Video Alliance, a group of organizations, developers, creators, and academics promoting an open video revolution. Keep an eye on Kaltura to see if open source can shake up the online video industry.

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