As you may recall, four months ago travel distributor Farelogix kicked off Project Hawkeye, an open source point-of-sale application and made it available for free downloads.
Farelogix stepped up to the plate and gave away the desktop application's code and documentation in the hope that developers would build applications to it that the travel industry can share.
So far, 450 entities have registered for the Hawkeye source code and downloaded it, says Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson.
It's not entirely a selfless effort on Farelogix's part, of course, because it would hope to gain some customers and revenue by supporting the application, if companies approach it for an assist.
But, this is not a requirement: Companies can download the code for free, run with it, and innovate the hell out of it, just as so many developers did with Mozilla.
Project Hawkeye, with its open-source effort, is a big deal in the travel industry, which has been stifled by proprietary technology and what might be called partisan politics in the geekosphere.
Because companies or individuals can take the Hawkeye code without any further obligations to Farelogix, it is hard to gauge what they are doing with it, if anything.
But, this is what Farelogix knows so far, according to Davidson.
• Farelogix is engaged with three travel management companies which are developing their own highly customized versions of the application, tweaked to their own workflows.
• Some 10 companies have pinged Farelogix back with questions or issues with the code.
• All of the GDSs, which hold onto their own code as if it were the key to Iranian nuclear technology production, have downloaded Hawkeye, as have some airlines.
• Farelogix is aware that "a couple of other technology companies" are developing the code in some way, but the details are unknown. Davidson surmises that the fruits of their efforts may be public in some form in six months to a year.
• Meanwhile, Farelogix, which has developed a few new versions of the code since it was released March 26, is readying another major release of the application in September or October.
So, is Project Hawkeye a success or a failure?
Too soon to tell, really.
Davidson says Farelogix would have considered Hawkeye a success even if Hawkeye had hit 100 downloads -- let alone, 450.
So, the travel industry will have to wait to see if Farelogix's release of an open source desktop application will light the industry's innovation fires.
Hawkeye, a business application, assuredly will not become another Mozilla.
But, maybe Hawkeye will lead to further efforts to tear down the travel industry's "walled garden" -- and that would be a good thing.