12 February 2002 Linux operating system vendor Red Hat has snapped up the remnants of ArsDigita, the open source content management software vendor.
Although considerably cheaper to buy and implement than alternatives from companies such as Interwoven and Vignette, ArsDigita’s popularity was capped for a number of reasons. Until mid-2000, implementing it required a thorough knowledge of the complicated TCL scripting language.
ArsDigita was also initially developed with non-standard open source technology, such as the ageing AOLServer web server, instead of Apache, and is tied to Oracle for its database back-end. A number of open source developers have been trying to port it to the popular open source databases PostgreSQL and MySQL.
These problems were compounded by a Java re-write that required web site designers to build pages in XML and extensible stylesheet language (XSL), when the majority of web site developers still prefer HTML. The re-written software was also bloated and bug-ridden.
ArsDigita was founded in 1997 by Internet guru Philip Greenspun. It was profitable then, but faltered after it took in venture capital funding and started expanding fast. General Atlantic Partners and Greylock Capital invested a total of $35 million (€40m) in March 2000.
At its height, the company had 240 employees and five offices in America and Europe. It had revenues of $25 million (€28.6m) during 2000, according to co-founder and former CEO Eve Andersson.
ArsDigita users include Deutsche Bank, Nokia and Siemens.