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XML closing the community-code gap

It's always a challenge to narrow the time it takes for customer input to make it into a product.

Zenoss does not entirely solve that problem with its latest release. But it goes a long way toward solving it with its community site and XML support.

The latest version of their IT Monitoring software has built-in support for Nagios plug-ins, enhanced maintenance windows, expanded event management and better availability monitoring. Many of these improvements were suggested by Zenoss users.

"I read every post to our mailing list," said CEO Bill Karpovich "We ask for comments whenever someone registers., It's amazing how many honest comments we get. In freeform text you get all kinds of things. Reading the list and looking at the comments are key."

But how do you take that to "the next level?" I asked.

I could almost hear Karpovich smile through my phone. "Let's say you have a new set-up for a Cisco router. Our product lets you build a rule set with a GUI encapsulated in XML. Why not have that shared in the community, that XML code? You're now putting collaboration directly into your product."

XML support lets Zenoss turn user input and knowledge directly into new features. It's another step in closing the gap between community demand and open source supply.